Quick Fixes Vs Skills Mastery in Hockey

By Inside the D Hockey

Becoming a better field hockey player unfortunately can’t be done with quick fixes or a 3 hour course. It takes hours of practice and the right technique training to succeed.

How many times have you signed up or brought the latest course or quick fix that is aimed at getting fast results? We have all been guilty of this from time to time including myself.

It drives me crazy as a hockey coach having kids wanting to throw overheads, Tomahawk or attempt drag flicks etc. Whilst these are all great skills that are required in the modern game, these are skills that need to be developed over time and after players have first developed good core basic skills.

Players need to spend time understanding and mastering the fundamentals or basics such as trapping (receiving) or passing (delivering) and more importantly be able to do them under pressure. In our recent interview with Adam Commens he talks about players working on having a really good first touch and being able to execute this under pressure.

A Quick fix will generally focus on a short-term outcome or desired end result.

Mastery on the other hand at its heart is always getting better, and is focused on the process (the how) not the end result.

Here are 4 key areas required to developing Mastery (of any kind):

1. Mindset & Effort
A player needs to develop the MINDSET of someone seeking to always be getting better, GROWTH MINDSET. Mastery at its core commitment to becoming your very best, but to become the best it requires extra ordinary EFFORT.

“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when its not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset” Carol Dweck

2. A player must continually seek the very best way of doing things.
Nothing is more futile than doing your best and using an approach that can’t deliver the desired improvement. This doesn’t mean totally changing to some new technique or skill set, it could be developing better basics under pressure.

If your training on the wrong things, spending time on what is easy, or have incorrect technique, all the effort in the world could end up being a waste of time. Don’t be afraid to seek feedback from your coach or trainer as they should be able help in this area.

“Comfortable is easy. Comfortable never stretches you to grow. Comfortable is rarely grateful. Comfortable is complacent. Comfort is the enemy of greatness”
Josh Metcalf – Burn your goals

3. Your daily training habits and environment –
What are your habits like in your training environment? Are you spending time on the things you need to work on or cutting corners, doing what is easy?

Need to improve your hitting? Than do more practice on your hitting. Hitting to stationary player whilst is good for players working on their basic technique, rarely do you hit like this in a real game. How about practicing your hitting on the run, transferring from left to right, right to left, hitting off the right/front foot. You must be willing to do the work and be willing to stretch yourself and this is something that players find hard, but you must be willing to make mistakes.

“It’s the dirty, hard and often boring work that helps us develop our greatness & master our craft” Josh Metcalf – Chopwood carry water

4. You must be accountable to every thing you do.
Being accountable in you’re training, your preparation, showing up, and being a good teammate – all things that a player can be accountable for and 100% within a player’s control.

Once a player or athlete takes full accountability for things within their control then the results will usually take care of themselves.

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable” John Wooden Wooden on Leadership

There is an assumption that the mindset to Mastery is purely about the end result (the win, making the team, scoring the goal) but at its core Mastery is a way of thinking, a way of acting and a journey you end up experiencing. Mastery is extremely hard work, it takes a lot of self-reflection and feedback from trusted others on many of the things in which we may not want to hear. Longer term mastery is a much more rewarding and satisfying experience but few rarely take this path because it’s so hard.

Ask yourself, will having a mindset in mastery end up being your competitive advantage? Quite Possibly.

Find out more about getting your competitive advantage go to Inside the D Hockey Membership


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