For the third year in a row, the Wild included a sports psychology course for campers, aimed to help players refine their mental game. In between the scrimmages, skills practices and off-ice mentorship were two sports psychology courses to educate players on the importance of gaining that mental edge as they look to make the next step into their hockey careers.
“We often see that it’s the mental side that separates the elite players from the really good players,” said Dr. Alexandra Wagener of Premier Sports Psychology, an Edina-based company. “You’re already really good, you’re at this level, now how do we be better? How do we get to that next level? It’s strengthening strengths.
“What does it take to be at this top level? How do you move up to be that nine percent that makes the NHL, or that one percent that makes an All-Star team? Our goal is to help them mentally get there.”
A secret weapon
Wagener says that for many years, professional and amateur teams alike kept utilizing a sports psychologist as a secret weapon. Not only were teams hesitant to reveal the key behind their success, the stigma associated with sports psychology had a lot of teams shying away from the idea.
“I think sometimes we think psychologist and we think something has to be wrong,” Wagener said. “But really, it’s just helping people. We want to help these players enjoy what they do, especially at this level now. We don’t want them to just go through the motions, we really want to help them be fulfilled, fulfill their potential and enjoy what they do – especially when they’re working so hard and putting so much time and energy into their craft. We kind of want to get out some of that other piece.”
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