Focus on the four areas of development
Last Updated: January 19, 2009 3:11 PM
Cal Botterill Optimizing Life in Hockey
There are four important 'areas of development' for every athlete.
Skill development is obviously important, and requires lots of quality practice. It is clear a certain quantity of training is necessary for skill development, but quality of training is probably the most important consideration.
As well, for creative skill development, some time for exploration, trying things, taking risks etc. can be important. Many of the very best, including Gretzky, suggest we shouldn't underestimate the potential of 'pick-up' games for skill development.
Strategy development is the second major area of development and preparation. Every performer should have a game plan that involves the key strategies, cues, and responses.
Game plans should be simple enough to avoid overload and comprehensive enough to hold your focus. Simple strategies well executed usually beat complex strategies that confuse or overload. Err on the side of simplicity.
Fitness development is the third component of development and preparation. It involves developing cardio-vascular fitness, flexibility and muscular strength and endurance. Physical training loads should be progressive as you mature, but 'recovery' should also be kept a priority.
Team training can help make physical training enjoyable.
Psychological preparation and development is the fourth component to consider. Although this area is often the last area to be considered, top athletes like Olympic diving gold medallist Sylvia Bernier believe good psychology can help you develop in all the other areas.
Imagery can help you learn and train better. Relaxation can help recovery. Game plans can help you focus and execute strategies. As well, psychology can help you to get to know yourself better, and develop a strong perspective.
It can help you with team and interpersonal skills, pre-competition plans, focus plans, refocusing strategies, emotional management, and debriefing.
Take pride in all four areas of development if you are an athlete. It is all part of helping you realize your potential.« Choosing a fitness program for your young hockey player | Optimizing Life in Hockey home | Getting the support you deserve »