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The mental aspect of the game November 24, 2009

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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So we hear athletes talk about their confidence level, how their bad play is because of problems in their head rather than something physical…

Is it a cop-out, or does an athlete’s mental makeup really have that much to do with their performance?

My opinion is – for some athletes, yes. For others, not as much. For example, Thomas Vanek. He is really hard on himself, as anyone who has watched a Sabres game on TV can attest since the camera zooms in on him swearing at himself on the bench. When he’s frustrated, he doesn’t play well. He tries to do too much, he clutches his stick too tightly. He misses shots that go in when he’s on a roll.

Jason Pominville is an example of a player who doesn’t seem to let the mental aspect of the game overwhelm him. He’s never too high – he’s never too low. He doesn’t have many bad games, horrendous giveaways, etc (I’m looking at you, Derek Roy). He’s rarely out of position. He can be counted on to not make many mistakes in crucial situations.

Vanek expects so much of himself, but I’m sure Pommer does too. You’re not a very successful professional athlete if you don’t expect the best from your performance. So does Pommer have a stronger mental constitution than Vanek? Maybe. That doesn’t necessarily make Pommer better than Vanek, it just makes them different. Obviously Vanek has more raw talent than Pommer does, so Pommer has to work harder to achieve results. Maybe one athlete has more “mental ability” than another does. It would make sense, wouldn’t it, that ability is a combination of physical and mental talent?

I feel much better now that I’ve used my four-year college degree in Psychology for something.

The Sabres are in DC. They brought their daddies with them, and today they took a tour around the Capital. Hopefully tomorrow they’ll take a tour around the Capitals. Heh. I kill myself. Oh, and fear the Grier. He’s expected to play. Andrej Sekera can breathe easy and go back to defense. He didn’t look very comfortable on the forward line.

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