Stars’ Valley: Maintain Confidence by Detaching from Outcome
by Mike Valley
(This article by Mike Valley, the goaltending coach of the Dallas Stars and the founder of Elite Goalies, originally appeared in the FREE InGoal Magazine weekly newsletter. To become a subscriber just enter your email in the form in the right column below. You can also learn more by reading the Ask-a-Pro interview we did with Mike recently.)
“Believe in yourself.”
“Play to win.”
“Hold your head high.”
Whether in victory or defeat, athletes are trained to display self confidence, poise and integrity. These traits are the benchmarks of the strength of character that is often expected of those competing at the top level of any sport.
The Empire State Building is built on a foundation that stretches 55 feet down into the earth, roughly the same depth as the height of a five-storey building. It is this foundation that ensures the stability of the structure. Similarly, how deep you build your foundation will determine the stability of your game, in both a physical and mental sense.
It is not enough to simply tell yourself to have confidence, just as it was not enough to construct Empire State on a slab of only a few feet. It is something that must be developed over time. You must dig deep and persevere to build the foundation of both your game and your character. Regular training, both physical and mental is necessary to cultivate a deep knowing of yourself.
Through practice, you will build the foundation upon which you can build a career.
That is one side. The other is a bit harder to circumscribe.
There will be times, when try as you do, you are unable to pull off that game-winning performance. Times when, despite hours of practice and an undying commitment, you fall short of the goals you have set. You may find it difficult, if not impossible to “believe in yourself” and “hold your head high.”
How do you keep your confidence when everything seems to be falling apart? The answer is simpler than you think.
Detach yourself from outcome.
When you step onto the ice for practice, when you log miles during a dryland workout, when you read and study, detach your emotions and your self worth from the end result. If your energy is focused only in the present, and you concentrate only on that which you are doing right now you will find your confidence does not elude you.
This does not mean do not strive to achieve a goal.
Rather, it means to recognize your goal as more than just an end result, to realize that a large part of your goal is the journey you will take to achieve it. Recognize that as you set out to accomplish your goal, you will change and grow along the way.
Perhaps you will find that the goal you set out to achieve has changed, and a different one has taken its place.
The natural process of growth includes the development of self confidence.
When you focus on the process, rather than the end product, your training will become more effective and you will step naturally and with confidence into the role you are meant to play.
For more insights, be sure to check out Valley’s work at Elite Goalies, a high performance training system for goaltenders that offers everything from camps, clinics and consulting, to a recently launched, complete and impressive online training program that features everything from video analysis to scouting to question and answer sessions with Valley and an impressive list of staff that includes fellow former and current professional and college goaltenders.
The Elite Goalies system “is dedicated to a philosophy in which goalies improve through analysis, repetition, education and correction. By teaching goalies how to stay balanced psychologically, they are able to better control their environment and execute their technique on a more consistent basis. Because we stress the power of the mind in order to increase the power of the body, our members follow the teachings of the Martial Arts.”
The interactive site is definitely worth checking out, whether you are a goalie, a goalie parent, or a goalie coach.