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Is 2021 making you Nervous? Implement this Hockey Strategy now!

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

Hockey experts all complain about the trap. They say that it slows the game down and they're right... but every team uses an element of this type of puck-recovery (some kind of trap) in their team structure.

How does this connect with you being nervous in 2021?

NHL teams have a plan to Recover the puck, so we want you to have a plan to Recover your thinking in 2021.

In the game of hockey, when the opponent has possession of the puck, many teams simply chase the puck wherever it is, without a plan, to try to turn it over. Lots of energy is expended, with little return. As soon as the forechecking forward skates hard towards the defensemen who has the puck, that defensemen typically passes the puck right by the forechecking forward.

This not-having-a-forchecking-plan concept in hockey is a little like you and me allowing ourselves to be super-nervous or anxious throughout 2021. We skate all over the place in our mind, we waste cognitive energy, and we end up with few results.

The screenshot above shows the Tampa Bay Lightening playing a neutral zone 1-3-1 structure during last season's playoffs. Why waste energy when you don't have the puck? Why not have a smart process to save energy, eventually regain the puck, and then have fun on offence, giving yourself a higher percentage chance to win?

Here is the process, the structure, the game-plan, that we want you to try out in 2021.

We call it the 3-Rs. This expands on our Thinking Tendencies Model, the main engine driving our upcoming book, BREAKOUT (ask for more info here). Have some fun with this process as a way to reduce nervous thoughts and increase planned action.

Hockey teams need a plan to be successful, so do we!

Use the 3R's to move to Neutral from Negativity (when you are feeling nervous).

#1-R - Recover your thinking - when you feel negativity (fear, nervousness, anxiety), tell yourself to "go to Neutral." Recover from negativity (the Defensive Zone) by moving to the Neutral Zone. Since creating the 3-Rs, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Quarterback Russell Wilson's trigger when he catches himself in a negative state of mind during games or life, is "Neutral Thinking." Successful hockey teams have a plan to recover the puck; you build a plan to recover your thinking. When you become aware of being nervous, say to yourself: "Recover my Thinking, go to neutral."

#2-R - Regroup your thinking - Once you are in the Neutral Zone, focus on brainstorming immediate solutions. In hockey, once the team has control of the puck, it can implement one of its options to regroup the puck. You now have control of your thinking (you are in the neutral zone, thinking of neither the future, nor the past), so brainstorm solutions, pick one, and then implement the 3rd R.

#3-R - Re-Attack - take action, re-engage, or re-focus. Get at it. Have some fun. We say in hockey, "Get your feet moving." It's easy to coast in our game; success comes to players who never stop moving their feet. Focusing on a next step plan and taking action very seldom goes wrong. If something does go wrong, recover your thinking, regroup your thinking and re-attack again.

Do this as many times as needed... daily, or minute by minute, if you choose.

In hockey terms, the 3-Rs are easy to remember. We want to recover the puck, regroup the puck, and re-attack. The 3-R process moves you out of negativity and into solution thinking, where you can better steer clear of anxious thoughts. In simple terms, instead of worrying, focus on one solution and then take immediate action. When you catch yourself in negativity (nervousness), "go to neutral." If you are having problems implementing this structure, set up a time to call me.

Make the 3-Rs your game plan to reduce your Nervous Thinking or to Focus your Success thinking in 2021.

Hockey uses structure to play its game successfully... now, so do you!


A powerful thought from Michael Jordan that gives us the "why" behind diligently implementing the 3-Rs process...

"Why would I think about missing a shot that I haven’t taken yet?”

Would you like me to coach or train you and your team throughout 2021? Contact me!

Words from a client, after our training last week...

"Hi Ryan, I wanted to send you a personal message to thank you for the training session with our management team, it has left an indelible impact on me. I have booked meetings with my staff team over the next month and will be weaving in the concepts gleaned in the trainings.

My leadership style has always been one of coaching and mentoring. The idea that you shared about "if you can name it, you can fix it" and importance of language is such an important reminder for leaders.

It is easy to get caught in the business of work and not take time to pause and be deliberate. To build sound self awareness through the active practice of positive brain muscle memory. I hope that these concepts can spread through the agency like yeast in a rising bread."

Want this for your team? Contact me!

SHORT SHIFTS with Ryan Walter - Ryan's new way of adding value to you and your family Every-Monday-Morning in 2021. Learn more about SHIFTING today's Mindset in order to WIN tomorrow's GAME!

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