IThe first person that Braden Holtby thanked publicly after winning the Stanley Cup was John Stevenson, the goalie coach turned sports psychologist he started working with at age 16.
“One guy I’d really like to say thanks to is John Stevenson back in Edmonton,” Holtby told CBC on the ice after hoisting the Cup in 2018. “I wouldn’t be here without him.”
To which Stevenson replies, “that’s crap,” returning credit to Holtby for the work he put in to improve his mental game, a process Stevenson said started with a simple breathing exercise after a 19-year-old Holtby was a surprise early cut from Canada’s World Junior team.
Stevenson first shared that story, and many others involving Holtby and other clients past and present, including Carter Hart, at a workshop with fellow goaltending mindset specialist Pete Fry last summer. It was loaded with helpful takeaways like this one that helped transform Holtby from a “mental midget” to one now widely regarded as mentally tough, so we wanted to share it here, along with one of the exercises that started that process for Holtby.
Consider this the start of twice-monthly entries from Stevenson designed to help our Premium Members improve their mental approach to the game, but for those who want to accelerate that development, Stevenson is now offering three options to work with him directly, and receive the same instruction currently being delivered to half a dozen NHL-contracted goalies. You can learn more about these limited-entry options here.
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