The objective of this paper is to determine the effect a Life Coach could have on the performance of junior hockey players.
“How many times have you seen certain players who possess incredible talent, but lack motivation? How about athletes who work hard and are extremely focused, but can’t seem to execute when the pressure is on? What about those incredibly gifted athletes who lack confidence in their abilities?” (Wiley, 2010, pg.245)
Junior hockey coaches, players, parents and billet families were surveyed. Over 90% feel that having better focus, more motivation and increased self-confidence would help junior hockey players to improve their performance. See Appendix A
Although focus, motivation and confidence are interdependent they have been separated for the purposes of this discussion.
“Focus, motivation and confidence are a huge part of an elite athlete’s personality. In order to play at elite levels of competition you need all three. Focus keeps you out of trouble off the ice and prepares you each day. If you have the focus then you are motivated. If you are confident it takes you to the next step.” Chris Hajt, Assistant Coach, Guelph Storm, OHL
The scope of this paper is restricted to Junior Hockey players playing in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).
Junior Hockey was selected as the focus for this paper because it is the most exciting and complex time in an elite hockey player’s life. It’s the time where boys (ages 15 to 20) develop into men physically, mentally and emotionally. Junior Hockey is the stepping stone to professional hockey. It is in Junior Hockey where the player’s talents are showcased to the National Hockey League (NHL) and other professional teams. It is where lifelong dreams can come true. Regardless of their talent, they have to be more focused, motivated and confident than they have ever been in their lives.
The Canadian Hockey League is the focus for this paper because it has a long history of being the number one developmental league in the world. Canada has a phenomenal record for having players drafted into the NHL.
“In total since 1969 the CHL has had 4,886 players selected representing over 50% of all players drafted.” (www.ontariohockeyleague.com)
“Pittsburgh, PA – The Canadian Hockey League announced that 99 CHL players were selected in the seven rounds of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft representing nearly 47% of the 211 drafted players” (www.CHL.ca)
This prestigious record attracts players from around the world and has the attention of the NHL like no other league.
Competition is the name of the game. Players must compete not only against other teams but they must compete to earn their spot on their team and against their teammates for the line they play on. Anything a player or team can do to gain a competitive advantage is invaluable.
At first glance it may seem that CHL junior hockey players lead a charmed life. They are playing a sport they love and are often in the spotlight. They have an opportunity to earn millions of dollars. But, as with everything in life there is an upside and a downside.
“At the recreational level, sports are about doing your best and having fun. Unfortunately, coaches, parents and even young athletes often forget the purpose of competition. They look at professional sports, which is a business – winning and losing translates into dollars and cents – and lose perspective.” (McGraw-Hill, 2001, pg.203)
On the downside, fame and opportunity come at a price. Many junior hockey players do not have the life skills or maturity to deal with the enormous sacrifices they make and pressure they will endure. See Appendix B