With their preparations blighted in the run-up to the tournament, as well as their domestic league being completely shut down for most of last year and the beginning of this year, the British Ice Hockey Team are having a disastrous leadup to what is one of the most important tournaments in their history.
With this in mind, Peter Russell’s men will need all the help and inspiration they can get in order to come out all guns blazing, wherever the IIHF decide to move the tournament to, having ditched the idea of it taking place in Latvia and Belarus.
In this article we look to an unlikely source of inspiration, from the world of online gaming, to see if the mindset techniques and tactics used by poker pros and eSports legends can be adapted to the world of skates, pucks, and hip checks.
Visualisation One of the Keys to Good Habits and Eventual Victory
Every hockey player, no matter their ability, has had dreams of one day getting their hands on the Stanley Cup, the World Championship trophy, or an Olympic medal. But more often than not such dreams are seen as just fanciful reveries rather than something that can be harnessed to bring about real-life success.
However, in the world of online gaming there are mindset coaches who believe that exactly this sort of visualisation is vital for top athletes, as they ready themselves for the stresses and strains of elite competition.
One such mindset coach, who works extensively with high stakes poker players, is Elliot Roe. He goes to great lengths to ensure that his clients are permanently adopting a mindset where performing at their best under pressure is nothing new, because they have visualised key high-pressure situations over and over again.
This is certainly a technique that all the Team GB players can borrow from Roe and his poker pros. They can envision what it will feel like to be heading into overtime against the Russians in a crunch Group A game, or having to take a crucial penalty shot that could decide whether the team progress to the next round.
This sort of mental preparation will hold the entire team in good stead and stop nerves getting the better of them.
No matter the game they specialise in, pro gamers all use similar mindset techniques to rise to the top of their chosen field, and hockey players should take note
Learning to Live with Bad Beats
All pro gamers know that sometimes no matter what you do with your controller or your keyboard the gods can work against you. Things can unexpectedly go wrong making victory harder to attain than it otherwise might have been.
In many online games this is what is known as variance. But the term certainly also applies to hockey, where a questionable refereeing decision or a fluke deflection can turn a game on its head.
The key to dealing with such sickening situations is for players to adopt a mindset that allows them to bounce back from the setback as swiftly as possible. Something Team GB will no doubt have to learn to do on multiple occasions during the 2021 showcase.
Meditation Straight After the Ice Bath
Post-match recover routines are so important during packed international tournament schedules, but so often the mental side of that recovery gets forgotten, leaving players mentally drained and ill-prepared for the next game.
Gamers and eSports team pros know that feeling all too well, having to put the loss of a battle royale melee firmly behind them. This is especially true if they know there is still a chance of them turning a tournament series around.
More and more gamers are using meditation to clear their heads of all negativity after a loss, meaning that they can approach challenges ahead with a positive mindset rather than dwelling on past mistakes.
Perhaps all the GB boys should indulge in a bit of self-reflection themselves after each game at the World Championships. This would help them remain grounded whether they are upsetting the odds, or trying to keep their heads up if things are not going to plan.