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Pre-game preparation vs. your mental state

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05-29-2012, 03:03 PM
  #1
IslesZoso
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Pre-game preparation vs. your mental state

I'm pretty meticulous about my pre-game prep, i.e. eating light, doing some deep-breathing exercises, doing my stretches, mentally going over a personal gameplan and the things I want to try in the game, getting to the rink early, etc. Basically doing everything I can to ensure that I'm prepared for the game.

And then... when the puck drops... I fall flat on my face. I can't skate, stickhandle or pass, and it feels like I'm skating in slow motion and my brain is 2 seconds behind the play.


To follow this scenario up, there were a couple of times where I got home late, skipped dinner, got stuck in heavy traffic, rushed into the dressing room, slapped on my equipment, missed the pre-game shootaround and made it to the bench just in time for my 1st shift... basically COMPLETELY out of sorts and pulling my hair out. But then I proceed to have an AWESOME game, scoring a coupla goals, getting pats on the back afterwards for playing out of my mind, and meanwhile I'm thinking WTF.

It makes me wonder whether I'm over-preparing myself for a game.


This ever happen to you guys?

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05-29-2012, 03:51 PM
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neksys
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IslesZoso View Post
I'm pretty meticulous about my pre-game prep, i.e. eating light, doing some deep-breathing exercises, doing my stretches, mentally going over a personal gameplan and the things I want to try in the game, getting to the rink early, etc. Basically doing everything I can to ensure that I'm prepared for the game.

And then... when the puck drops... I fall flat on my face. I can't skate, stickhandle or pass, and it feels like I'm skating in slow motion and my brain is 2 seconds behind the play.


To follow this scenario up, there were a couple of times where I got home late, skipped dinner, got stuck in heavy traffic, rushed into the dressing room, slapped on my equipment, missed the pre-game shootaround and made it to the bench just in time for my 1st shift... basically COMPLETELY out of sorts and pulling my hair out. But then I proceed to have an AWESOME game, scoring a coupla goals, getting pats on the back afterwards for playing out of my mind, and meanwhile I'm thinking WTF.

It makes me wonder whether I'm over-preparing myself for a game.


This ever happen to you guys?
Yes.

Everyone prepares differently to perform at their optimum. Some people need to slow things down and think methodically about their games. For a lot of people, though - especially people who aren't already at the peak of their abilities - all that does is set unrealistic goals for your performance.

You're stressing yourself out, not preparing.

I think its pretty typical for people to perform better when they just show up, do their best and only worry about having a good time.

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05-29-2012, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neksys View Post
Yes.

Everyone prepares differently to perform at their optimum. Some people need to slow things down and think methodically about their games. For a lot of people, though - especially people who aren't already at the peak of their abilities - all that does is set unrealistic goals for your performance.

You're stressing yourself out, not preparing.

I think its pretty typical for people to perform better when they just show up, do their best and only worry about having a good time.
basically. I just go out and play.

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05-29-2012, 04:06 PM
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Wow, you do all of that for rec league games? I set my alarm for when I have to leave and when it goes off I turn off the tv, grab the beer, and head to the car.

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05-29-2012, 04:16 PM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IslesZoso View Post
I'm pretty meticulous about my pre-game prep, i.e. eating light, doing some deep-breathing exercises, doing my stretches, mentally going over a personal gameplan and the things I want to try in the game, getting to the rink early, etc. Basically doing everything I can to ensure that I'm prepared for the game.

And then... when the puck drops... I fall flat on my face. I can't skate, stickhandle or pass, and it feels like I'm skating in slow motion and my brain is 2 seconds behind the play.


To follow this scenario up, there were a couple of times where I got home late, skipped dinner, got stuck in heavy traffic, rushed into the dressing room, slapped on my equipment, missed the pre-game shootaround and made it to the bench just in time for my 1st shift... basically COMPLETELY out of sorts and pulling my hair out. But then I proceed to have an AWESOME game, scoring a coupla goals, getting pats on the back afterwards for playing out of my mind, and meanwhile I'm thinking WTF.

It makes me wonder whether I'm over-preparing myself for a game.


This ever happen to you guys?
Are you stickhandling everyday? If not, try, it will develop your confidence.

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Old
05-29-2012, 04:30 PM
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Axman
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Funny, I used to go through the same thing. I would get all pumped up for the game mentally, rehash in my head what my responsibilities are, listen to loud metal on the way, etc...
I was nuts.
It's not the NHL.
I started to play with having a good time as my goal instead of kicking ass and things got easier.
I think I was mentally and emotionally exhausting myself before games. Too much pressure.

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05-29-2012, 07:23 PM
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Trevor3
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Yeah you can definitely over prep for games. My first year of junior I had recurring injuries so I shut it down and sat out half the season, then took the entire next year off before coming back this season. Starting off I played the worst hockey of my life, giveaways, out of position weak shots, passes that missed by nautical miles, etc... I spent so much time telling myself what to do and not to do that I couldn't do anything anymore. So I had to stop thinking about playing and just play... then I got hurt again so it all went out the window anyhow.

Bottom line is, I stopped making a big deal of it and settled down and got back into my role. Still had to have the right music for the ride to the rink though, can't lose that.

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05-29-2012, 11:32 PM
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I find that game prep helps me, but I don't do anything extreme. I mentally shut out the locker room noise, do some stretches, think a little about the game, remind myself to do my best, and then get out on the ice.

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05-30-2012, 09:06 AM
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Jarick
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I definitely prefer the "grab my crap and try to get to the game on time" method. Eat a little less food for dinner and make sure someone can watch my kid. That's about the extent of my pre-game prep.

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05-30-2012, 09:24 AM
  #10
TUCKER 06
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I have a routine that some people here may consider over-the-top.

  • on weekends I like getting a 1-2 hour nap the afternoon before a game (30 mins - 1 hour on weeknights if there's time)
  • a light meal 2-3 hours before (a larger meal 4 hours before).
  • clean visor / add shampoo to stop it from fogging up on the ice.
  • get the gear all packed and make sure I don't leave anything behind.
  • grab a coffee
  • show up early (always end up being one of the first few in the room)

I don't pyche myself out by thinking about my game before-hand, although lately I have probably been putting too much pressure on myself during game-time.

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05-31-2012, 10:28 AM
  #11
panner20
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Good Thread! This is one of my biggest issues. I'm 42 years old and still playing hard in the Over-30 Men's League. I hold my own, and put up some respectable stats, but Man-Oh-Man do I put a ton of preperation into each game. I'm a regular guy, but I have a bit of an addictive personality. It borders on laughable OCD rituals sometimes. Here is just some of the stuff I go through on a typical game day:


1.- I try hard to stick to the No Alcohol Rule (the night before).
2.- No sexual relations (self inflicted, or otherwise). ;-)
3.- I sneak out of work early (slightly' risking getting in trouble).
4.- Pregame meal, approximately 6 hours prior to face-off. (Always carb-loading, usually Pasta, Potatoes, or Rice).
5.- At least a 2 hour nap if possible. (Usually I can't fall asleep, so I just try to stay still and rest). Dark room, fan & sirius (Howard Stern, Blue Collar Comedy or NHL) on the headphones.
6.- Check hockey bag numerous times to make sure I have everything.
7.- Usually wear the same type outfit to the rink (baseball hat, jeans, sweatshirt, etc.)
8.- Drink around 3-4 cups of coffee after waking up from pre-game nap at home, and on the way to the rink.
9.- Chew gum (Trident Tropical Twist).
10.- Watch NHL Network while retaping my sticks (after waking up from nap, but before I leave for the rink).
11.- Lots of visualization. (mostly of scoring big goals, and reminders of things to work on. ie. keep moving feet, good knee bend, keeping head up, etc.).
12.- Deep Breathing/Meditation exercises.
13.- Stretching (especially low back & hamstring)
14.- Try to drink extra water all day long.
15.- Always drive the exact same way to the rink.
16.- Always leave for the rink 1hr and 15 minutes before the game (takes about 25 minutes to get there).
17.- Ice/Heat to low back, shoulder & knees.
18.- I take advil or hydrocodone depending on my injuries/pain level.

LOL, reading over this least makes me sound completely INSANE! :-) Really I'm not. Most of it it is pure superstition, but some of it is truly neccessary for me to perform (especially the nap & pregame meal).

I've made a big effort to cut down on a lot of this stuff this season, and surprisingly it has worked well for me. Most of the OCD stuff stems from superstitions about avoiding injuries or repeating past successes I think?

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05-31-2012, 11:58 AM
  #12
michaelshu
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lol, now that's superstitious all right!
on my competitive days i must have a nap for at least an hour, but that's about it..

right now, just eating right and stay hydrated.. but i do this everyday because i enjoy fitness

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05-31-2012, 01:04 PM
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Primrose Everdeen
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About the only thing I do before games of any sport is make sure I have no alcohol the night before the game and show up with neither an empty nor full stomach (I'll typically have a meal about 3 hours before puck drop/kickoff).

I stay hydrated as well, though that's something I typically do anyway and the main thing for staying hydrated is to not dehydrate myself with a bunch of beer the day beforehand.

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05-31-2012, 01:19 PM
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Kulluminati
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Not too much on my end.

- I try and eat 2 hours before hand
- Sometimes I might stick handle with a ball in my garage
- Stretch
- Get to the game and just play

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05-31-2012, 03:21 PM
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CunniJA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panner20
2.- No sexual relations (self inflicted, or otherwise). ;-)
I've actually always found it to be beneficial to my athletic performance.

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05-31-2012, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IslesZoso View Post
It makes me wonder whether I'm over-preparing myself for a game.


This ever happen to you guys?
Due to my superstitious nature, I spent years focusing on my pre-game rituals, doing mental preparation, and trying to get "pumped up" for games; I thought that's just what you're supposed to do.

The problem is, I am a really laid back guy and that's just not me. I would hit the ice for warm-ups and I was already tapping into my adreneline reserves. I would be physically and mentally fatigued after just a couple of shifts; way to early for heavy legs and poor decision making.

One day it just dawned on me that since I have a more laid back disposition I should try to relax before games and try to not think about it too much before I hit the ice. I started listening to songs with a good groove to them rather than something real up-tempo.

I saw positive results immediately. Obviously, you know your body and your disposition better than anybody, but if you're not someone who gets hyped up real easily, don't waste your energy on trying to get to that level.

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Old
05-31-2012, 03:35 PM
  #17
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I try to stick to some basic physical things ...

- organize the bag the night before
- no booze the night before
- no booze the day of (until after)
- eat frequent, small, healthy foods and stay well hydrated the day of
- eat a light meal of some protein, and a little carb a couple of hours before playing
- if time allows, have a 20-30 minute power nap

On the mental side, nothing. As soon as I enter the rink and feel the cool air and get a whiff of that rink-smell, I'm all psyched to have some fun, no matter my prior state-of-mind.

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05-31-2012, 09:42 PM
  #18
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Mens Leaguer here so nothing too serious and no mental prep other than saying to myself "don't get kicked out of the game for a change" on the way to the rink.

-pregame meal 3-6hrs prior
-1-2hr nap if possible
-hydrate
-C4 pre workout drink 1-2 scoops
-good warmup

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05-31-2012, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axman View Post
Funny, I used to go through the same thing. I would get all pumped up for the game mentally, rehash in my head what my responsibilities are, listen to loud metal on the way, etc...
I was nuts.
It's not the NHL.
I started to play with having a good time as my goal instead of kicking ass and things got easier.
I think I was mentally and emotionally exhausting myself before games. Too much pressure.
I know what you mean. I end up being wound way too tight for games and it hurts my performance. At morning pickup I'm relaxed, making plays, having fun, scoring goals, etc. League games I'm fumbling the puck, shooting wide, not scoring.

I plan to try and focus on playing more relaxed and having fun.

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06-01-2012, 03:37 AM
  #20
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This is a VERY useful thread, thanks to the OP and everyone chiming in.

I am(was?) the meticulous guy, with a set routine on game days:

- no booze the night before
- at least 8-9 hrs sleep the night before
- hydrating carefully (almost a gallon water in the 24 hrs before the game, cutting off 3 hrs before)
- no sex of any kind in the 24hrs before
- planned meals to feel strong and fit at gametime
- organizing my day around the time I have to leave for the game, to make sure there are no distractions
- stickhandling before

It did not work usually. I had some awesome games, but now I am not really sure if I had them because of my routine.

Now in my summer league I am playing in B league, as we have no C or D level league in the summer. I saw this thread yesterday morning, and I thought I should try the relaxed approach. I am kinda between C and D level now, so I thought there is no harm if I just relax this time and go ahead having fun, drinking/eating/doing whatever I like. I ended up doing a lot of NOs on my list, and I had a hell of a game:
Stripping B level Ds of the puck, having 2 breakaways, countless good passes, awesome forechecking.

I guess I am sold on the relaxed, just let it come to you approach...

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06-01-2012, 09:47 AM
  #21
Danglous
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Am I the only person who plays better after beer? Some of my best performances have come either hungover or still drunk. I rarely ever drink before games but when I do I rip it up.

My usual routine I like to eat carbs 3-4 hours before and drink a few glasses of water. I stretch a little at home and show up to the rink a little early.


Last edited by Danglous: 06-01-2012 at 09:54 AM.
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Old
06-01-2012, 11:58 AM
  #22
Leo Trollmarov
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFunnyWobbl View Post
basically. I just go out and play.
This.

I when I played hockey that mattered I would have a routine. Now playing B division men league my routine is: put my beer down, turn off NHL12, grab my gear and go. Maybe grab a rockstar burner on the way to the rink.

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06-01-2012, 02:08 PM
  #23
Royal Canuck
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everyone is different. Some people put too much pressure on themselves by doing too much warm-up and expect to play great. Some people, (like me) are either too rushed or just too lazy to do a warm up and take a few shifts to get going. mind you, I don't even really need a warmup, I get butterflies before every game and that usually gets me to 100% for the puck drop.

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06-01-2012, 02:18 PM
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Wile E Coyotes
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My biggest worry before games is if I will make it to the rink in time to be dressed by puck drop.. If I get that done, I'm set. Its only a rec league, there is no one in the stands to impress.. Just go out and have fun, laugh at your mistakes, talk smack after you score.. good times

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06-01-2012, 02:42 PM
  #25
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Some crazy rituals... I mostly get dressed and skate. I'll maybe eat chicken or something before the game. I don't need to stretch too much, or even take a warm up shot.

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