3 Missing Links That Are Killing Your Hockey Potential

The Garners, when not in the gym attacking the iron, drive modest and dependable vehicles, both SUVs—one’s a Honda and the other is a Jeep. They do the job, look presentable after a washing and don’t break our hearts when we see the gas bill. 

We drive our wheels hard, but don’t beat them up. We use good fuel, change the oil on time, check the tire pressure occasionally, and replace the wipers, fan belts, etc. as needed. When there’s a cough or a sputter, the vehicle gets a tune-up. Everyone’s happy. Vroom vroom. 

After a tune-up (and sometimes after a much-needed washing), the vehicles run better. They drive more smoothly, they are more responsive, they get better gas mileage, and they seem to make fewer confusing noises. 

I often hear folks referring to vehicles as representations of themselves or others, and I find it both accurate and encouraging to think about how we’re not so different from our vehicles:

He’s as strong as a truck. 

I’m not operating on all eight cylinders today. 

She just runs out of fuel in the third period. 

Fueling properly, cleaning the system, checking for dents, conducting regular tune-ups, and using—but not abusing—what you have will keep your physiology running smoothly for a long, long time. Treat yourself like you treat your vehicle and you’ll keep on truckin’, right alongside all the new models who think they’re hot stuff. 

I equate a tune-up to a self-evaluation. Psychologically, emotionally, and physically, are you doing the things you need to do to reach your hockey goals? 

Just as importantly, do you have regular “check-ins” and “tune-ups” scheduled with yourself to ensure your “vehicle” is an unstoppable, high-performance machine?

If you’re like most hockey players, your answer is probably, “kind of.”

In that case, let me show you the top three missing links hockey players don’t know they need in their tune-up that are holding them back from their hockey potential. 

#1: A Coach’s Perspective

It’s easy to get so caught up in the daily grind of doing your skills work, executing your workouts, and eating the right meals that you become oblivious to huge opportunities for growth and progress.

I’ve helped tons of hockey players increase their performance and recovery by 20–30% simply by offering an objective set of eyes on their daily routine and helping them identify the one or two leverage points they are missing out on.

The simple reality here is that you can’t do this alone.

No matter how hard you hustle, how much protein you consume, or how many advanced workouts you perform, you need another set of eyes on your routine to help you identify the hidden opportunities for performance enhancement.

With decades of experience in programming, researching, and coaching, I can help you increase your performance and recovery in ways you would never expect. If you haven’t done so already, I recommend joining the Hockey Community and posting in the “Say Hello” section so we can identify where you’re at—and where you need to go. 

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

And listen, this goes for me too. I am constantly hiring different coaches for my training, nutrition, recovery, and health enhancement because I understand and respect the value of a coach’s eyes just as much as you do. 

Beyond training and nutrition advice, one of the best things a coach can offer you is objective and unemotional constructive feedback. How you use it will determine your potential. 

#2: Elevated Standards

Oftentimes the biggest thing holding us back from the skill development and physique transformation we desire is not our bad habits, programming, or lack of discipline; it’s that we simply haven’t raised our standards to the level that’s required for us to achieve our hockey dream. 

You will get out of life what you tolerate in life. 

For example, if you were to take the average beer league hockey player and offer him a position on a semi-pro team for $50K per year, they would be ecstatic. However, if you were to extend this same offer to an NHL player who is accustomed to making significantly more than that in a single month, they would laugh you out of the room. 

Why is this?

The NHL player has higher standards and expectations for themselves than the beer leaguer. They expect more out of themselves and know what they’re capable of, and as a result, they are unwilling to settle for anything less than what they know they can achieve. 

Now this all sounds fine and dandy, but the question still remains: how do you raise your personal standards? 

The best way I’ve found is to surround yourself with people who think big. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If your five closest friends barely ever train, don’t follow a nutrition plan, and only ever think about hockey when on the ice, you will slowly but surely begin to mirror those behaviors. And even if you don’t, the bar that’s set for you to stand out in that group is so low that any achievement to come out of it will be minimal. 

However, if you associate with people who are not satisfied by the status quo, people who refuse to settle for average, and people who constantly push themselves and those around them to think, act, and achieve bigger and better things, then slowly but surely you will adopt the same mindsets, beliefs, and actions they have.

Refuse to settle for anything less than your full potential. I don’t care if you played your first game of hockey yesterday; you should always set high standards for yourself and surround yourself with positive people who push you to become the best version of yourself. 

Your life begins at the end of your comfort zone. We challenge ourselves on a monthly basis in the Hockey Community with our accountability and goal-setting check-ins. This keeps us in an elite state of mind and reminds us to never accept anything less than what we’re capable of. 

#3: Unshakable Accountability

While the previous two links are important, they aren’t enough to stand by themselves. 

You need to add an extra layer of accountability to ensure you don’t slip back into your old habits and comfort zone. The only way to permanently raise your standards and start achieving all the goals you set for yourself is to create unshakable accountability systems with someone you respect and do not want to disappoint. 

Whether it’s a friend, mentor, or coach, you need someone in your corner who will hold you to your word and not allow your excuses to hold you back from your goals. Trust me when I tell you that you will not always feel motivated to rise to the level of your new standards. 

Despite the fact that I’m Coach Garner and it’s my job to “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk,” I’m tempted at times to go back for seconds at dinner or not do those last couple reps of squats when my entire body feels on fire.

The #1 reason I don’t give in to the temptation of these little breaks is because I have external accountability built into my life. My team, my friends, my clients, and the Hockey Community all expect me to get up early and smash all of the tasks on my schedule like I said I would.  

In fact, one of the first things I do every Monday morning as I start another week of domination is send a motivational message and my weekly goals to my friend Steve. We keep each other accountable every single week, and because of this, we are both high performers in our chosen discipline. If he or I didn’t meet the weekly standard, there would be hell to pay. 

To strengthen your resolve, I recommend including financial incentives in your accountability agreement. For example, Steve and I are currently both in a lean mass phase and have set strength and size goals to achieve by October 3rd, 2021 (12 weeks from now at the time of this writing). 

If I get to my goal first, he has to buy me the educational course of my choosing. If he gets to his goal first, I have to buy him the educational course of his choosing. I can promise you that when it’s time to do those extra squats or say no to the second helping at dinner, that expensive course promise gives me the extra push I need to overcome temptation and do what needs to be done to live at the standard I have set for myself. 

Find your personal pain point, be it money or simply disappointing someone you admire, and press on it until you have no choice but to level up your game and perform at the new standards you’ve set for yourself. 

This simple tactic has changed my life and the lives of dozens of hockey players in the Hockey Community

Final Thoughts

If you implement these three missing links into your daily life, I can guarantee you will transform your performance, health, skill, and physique faster than you ever believed possible. 

With a coach’s perspective, elevated standards, and unshakable accountability on your side, it will feel like your hockey goals are being achieved “automatically,” because you’ve created a life that pulls you toward your dreams instead of a life where you constantly have to grind for every little step. 

Get started now: join the Hockey Community, let us know where you’re at in the “Say Hello” section, and I promise you’ll never look back. 

Let’s go! 

  1. Another exceptionally well-written article! I like how you always consider mindset and not just workouts. I check this page almost every day to see if you have written anything new 😂

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