“I’d probably say 90% of it [hockey] is mental.” -Philadelphia Flyers prospect Carter Hart¹
Carter Hart is the top goaltender in the Canadian Hockey League- earning this title the past two seasons he has played in the league. He is also the top goalie prospect for the Philadelphia Flyers, being called the future cornerstone of the franchise. Not only is he talented as a goalie because of his reflexes and hockey ability, but also because of how strong he is mentally. Like most athletes aspiring to make it to elite levels of their sport, Hart has worked with trainers and goalie coaches since he was 10 years old. What separates him from other athletes and hockey goalies is that he has worked with a sport psychologist since he was young. Hart says that working with a sport psychologist has made him more focused, confident, and calm in the nets- lending to his athletic ability and making him an overall better and mature player.
Hart considers the mental skills training as an important part of his overall training, and not as an add on that takes the backseat to all the physical training. Everyday, Carter worked on the mental side of his game. He would use tools such as imagery, where he would imagine his past successes, he would use concentration grids, mindfulness, meditation, and more. With the help of his sport psychologist he created a toolbox of exercises and activities that he could use whenever he needed to, whether it was in training, practice, or games, Hart had sport psychology tools at his disposal whenever he needed them. All of these mental tools have made Hart more and more mentally tough over the years. At the young age of 19 (only 21 when he is aiming to join the Flyers) Hart will have the mental skills that will make him seem like a seasoned player, a unique skill that could contribute his potential success as an individual and to the Flyers franchise. Definitely be on the look out for this kid in the future, his grit and mental skills could help Hart go far in the NHL. To read more about how Carter Hart credits some of his success to mental skills training: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers/485164131.html
More and more athletes (pro, elite, competitive, high school, etc), are taking advantage of the beneficial services that certified mental performance coaches (CMPCs) and licensed sport psychologists have to offer. Working with a CMPC or sport psychologist can help athletes learn how to deal with the mental aspect of sport such as anxiety, confidence, focus, imagery, mental health, motivation, etc. Working on mental skills can take your sport performance to the next level.
¹Source: Carchidi, Sam. (27 June 2018). If flyers prospect Carter Hart has a long career, credit his sport psychologist. The Inquirer.