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Journey to the Pros: Consulting in Hockey
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Journey to the Pros: Consulting in Hockey


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A presentation discussing developmental and transitional challenges that face collegiate and minor league hockey players. Sport psychology consultant perspectives and experiences shared.

A presentation discussing developmental and transitional challenges that face collegiate and minor league hockey players. Sport psychology consultant perspectives and experiences shared.

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  • 1. Journey to the Big Leagues:Consulting in Hockey
    Adam H. Naylor
    North Atlantic Sport Psychology Conference 2011
    Temple University
  • 2. Paths Towards the NHL
    College Hockey
    College Hockey
    CHL – Major Jr
  • 3. Cases for Consideration
    Note: All players had aspirations beyond first pro contract.
  • 4. Considering Transition
    “One is suspended between past and future, and struggling to overcome the gap that separates them.”
    • Levinson
    This is a period that is required. The past must be let go and striving towards future achievements truly begins.
  • 5. The Challenge of Change
    Time of inner conflict
    Give up stuff – separation and loss
    Consider wishes and possibilities for future
    Big questions – meaning and commitment
    Balancing patience with passionate persistence. In life, transitional periods take 4-5 years… to get to the “next level in hockey” a player rarely has that long to adjust.
  • 6. Integration: Transitional Ends
    A transitional period comes to an end not when one is at the top of a new level of play, but rather when questions and explorations are no longer stressful and urgent. The player is fully committed to taking on practicing, competing, and embracing at this new level of play.
  • 7. Stages of Minor League Success
    Think Freshman fall
  • 8. Adjusting to New “Game” and New Liftestyle
  • 9. Separation
    From teammates
    Facebook, Twitter, texting, and phone are good
    Tough to replace sitting around in dorms
    From friends
    Slapshot vs. Wall Street
  • 10. Business of Sport
    Details can never come to soon
    1 way vs. 2 way
    Filling a spot vs. stepping towards the next level
    Team needs
    “Settling” happens
    Developmental communications
    Big club vs. Minor league affiliate
    Future too often seem vague
  • 11. Social Factors
    Shared goals is an ideal, goal disunity the reality.
  • 15. The Minor League Culture
    Few shared goals
    “Selfish” approach
    Little team
    End destination for some
    Culturally diverse
    Anglos, Euros, Russians, French
    Easy culture for a young man to enjoy
    Not a culture of intellectualism
  • 16. Physical Factors
    Length of season
    For college guys
    Roadblocks to playing time and rapid advancement
    Taking care of body
    Rest and recovery
    3 days back to back
  • 17. Day to Day Playing
    Playing time
    Dramatic changes without communication
    Role on team
    PP, PK
    Style of play preferences
    Conservative vs. Aggressive
    Coach feedback
    Level of play
    “This is one step above beer league hockey.”
    “AHL hockey isn’t tough for me.”
  • 18. Athletic Performance
    Confidence in self is rarely lacking
  • 19. Shifting Out of Neutral
    Re-finding focus
    “How are you doing?”
    “Are you taking care of your stuff?”
    “Will you be a better player at the end of the season?”
    An open ear at the end of the phone line
    Develop acceptance without contentment
    Mental skills education when necessary
  • 20. Concluding Thoughts
    Things change quickly
    Challenge without disempowering
    “It’s o.k.” “I’m o.k.”
    Flying blind – easy to feel helpless
    Its about athletes desires, values, etc.
    Most in environment want to be somewhere else
    Counseling skills are needed
    Persistence is o.k.
  • 21. Thank You
    Adam H. Naylor, Ed.D., AASP-CC