How to Use Mental Preparation to Perform More Consistently

Have you ever wondered why one day you play a great game of hockey, but then the next game you start to doubt yourself, lose your confidence or get frustrated because you’re not playing to the best of your ability?

Sometimes you bring your A-game, and other times, it feels like you’ve lost that ability, and you start to second guess yourself. This back and forth can be pretty frustrating because you know you’re not performing your best consistently, but you have no idea why or how to change it.

You’re looking for consistency. 


Consistency is what all athletes strive to achieve. But every hockey player will have good days and bad days… It’s inevitable!

If this is true, does that mean we can never be consistent on the ice?

That depends on your definition of consistency. Do you define consistency in terms of effort or results?

If you define consistency in terms of wins or the change in stats, you will be left disappointed. This definition of consistency does not take into account a whole host of factors that are outside your direct control, like:

  • Team lineup
  • Sickness and injuries
  • How many games you played that week
  • Playing style of the opposing team
  • How your team plays as a unit


What consistency really comes down to is the consistency of mental and physical preparation and consistency of effort. 

Without mental preparation, you have little hope of being consistent on the ice.


Mentally Prepare With Routines

Consistency is when you keep things simple and clear and have a routine for being the best version of yourself. 

To achieve consistency, you need to redefine consistency in realistic, personal terms. Once you define consistency for yourself, you can identify effective strategies to mentally approach and prepare for competitions and practices.

Click here to download MTT's workweek snapshot

With this PDF, you can build and write out routines for your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual capacities. What are you doing in each of those categories to prepare? 

Improve Consistency

Consistent mental preparation leads to consistent performance. So, you need to pay particular attention to your mental toughness and preparation plan.

Approach every practice as if it was a game, starting from the time you step into the locker room. Be consistent in your effort and focus for every drill, every skate around, and every scrimmage. Consistent mental preparation leads to consistent performance.

As you build out your routine, think about what will help you mentally prepare for each practice or game.

When is a good time to review videos, talk to your coach, or tape your stick? Will you use imagery while you stretch? What’s the best time to start physically warming up? 

When you find a game-day routine, following it helps you feel ready to go mentally and physically. Consistency in your routine will help remove doubt and other obstacles, making your performance more consistent.


Day by Day

When you create your routine for the week, set aside time to revisit your last game and prepare for the next. Some players may close the chapter on the previous game over the weekend, and some may take Monday and Tuesday to do their post-game analysis. Then the rest of the week is focused on preparing and front-loading for the upcoming game.

It’s all about finding a routine that works for you and that you can consistently follow. 

If you remain consistent and perform the required actions every day to be the best hockey player you can be, things may not change in the beginning. But if you keep up these everyday actions, one day passes, two days pass, one week passes, six months pass — then by the time you reach these higher numbers, it will be of no surprise to the world that your accumulated actions have created something much bigger for you.

As mentally tough athletes, our performance goal should be consistency and at full speed, even under pressure, no matter the circumstances, and in the most significant moments. If we can prepare properly and approach each situation with confidence and focus, we’ve got a great chance of being successful on a consistent basis.