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Concentration Grids to Cold Showers

How Carter Hart gets better when he can’t get on the ice

by Kevin Woodley

With the hockey world on pause because of the Covid-19 Virus and goaltenders everywhere no longer able to get on the ice to work on their games, the focus has shifted to ways they can still try to get better without the benefit of traditional practices or ice times.

That goes double for those in isolation with even more time to kill.

While there are plenty of options popping up on social media when it comes to off-ice physical training, our first thought was of Philadelphia Flyers goalie Carter Hart, and past conversations with him about things he did to get better when injuries kept him off the ice.

There’s a reason Hart emerges from those situations and actually plays better.

“When we talk about controlling the controllable, Carter’s work ethic stands out,” said John Stevenson, the Alberta-based sports psychologist and former Western Hockey League goaltending coach that Hart has worked with since he was 10 years old. “It’s about what you chose to focus on. People that aren’t mentally tough focus on petty problems.”

That’s not to imply Covid-19 is a petty problem in any way. Stevenson delivered that line at a mental training seminar last summer, long before anyone had ever heard of Coronavirus. But the lessons apply now: the virus preventing you from training on the ice is something you can’t control, and focusing on it won’t help you become a better goalie in the meantime.

Which brings us back to Hart.

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