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How To Bounce Back From Failure (Superstars Have Mastered This)

Updated: Jan 4



The hockey world is obsessed with success.

Most people in the hockey world have a "win at all costs mentality".

In the hockey world, failure is often seen as a dirty word.

When people hear the word "mistake", "loss" or "failure": they think "bad" and "weakness".

You might have even gotten a weird feeling when you read those words in the last sentence.

In the sports world mistakes are labelled as something to be avoided at all costs.

Losing a game is always seen as a terrible thing.

Making a bad play is seen as the enemy.

We are always striving for perfection.

The Paradox Of Perfection

You see, we are always striving for perfection, when in reality, there is no such thing.

There is nothing that defines a hockey game as "perfect".

Yet we imaging that we must somehow play perfectly.

Yes of course there are the obvious plays you don't want to make, like giving the team a breakaway, or scoring on your own net.

What if I told you that failure is the key to success?

What if I told you sometimes you have to lose a few battles to win the war?

The truth is that sometimes, those moments of "not quite hitting the mark" are your golden tickets to achieving your potential.

Sometimes the best thing for a player to do is to mess up a play.

And sometimes the best thing for a team to do is to lose a game.

Of course it shouldn't be your goal to mess up, or lose.

But often times, when we make mistakes we learn invaluable lessons that move us forward in our hockey development.

Mistakes are invaluable feedback from the world.

And seeing mistakes as a good thing is the first step in reshaping your path to success.

The sooner you rewire your relationship to mistakes and failure, the sooner you will become a better hockey player.

Mistakes: The Feedback We Need

Your fear of mistakes is holding you back right now.

You may already know this.

But what you may not know is that the fear of making mistakes is essentially a fear of growth itself.

Consider this:

When you shy away from the possibility of failure, you're also stepping back from the knowledge and experience vital for making the right decisions in the future.

Mistakes are not just missteps; they are the beacons guiding us towards success.

If you're genuinely aiming for greatness, wouldn't you want to know where you're going wrong so you can correct your course?

The Subconscious Training Ground

Every failure, every loss, is a lesson for your subconscious mind.

Most players assume that when we mess up, it's going to make us worse in the future.

The opposite is the case.

Each mistake you make in hockey refines your instincts and hones your abilities.

Each mistake gives your subconscious mind clear feedback about where not to go.

Like a heat seeking missile, it will learn from it's over corrections and refine its path to the target.

Your subconscious mind learns from the mistake and readjusts for next time.

The Key To Adjusting Your Actions

The key to not making the mistake repeatedly is simple.

You want to be clear in your mind that this is not what you want.

You must communicate to your sunconcious mind that you do not "feel good" when you mess up.

For example:

Imagine you ordered a steak at a restaurant.

And then when the waiter arrives they have brought you a salad instead.

If you have any self respect, you would say: "this is not what I wanted. Please bring back what I asked for."

This is how you want to communicate to your subconcious mind.

When you make a mistake, you must to tell to your subconcious mind: "I do not want this again. Let's do something different next time."

Why Getting Upset Doesn't Help

I want to be very clear though.

Getting upset over a mistake is okay, but only if it fuels your motivation to improve, not if it leads to avoidance.

Said another way:If we make a mistake we want to feel motivated to fix it, not scared to mess up again.

We often get wrapped up in the mistake as player.

We find ourselves freaking out, slamming our stick, and pouting if we mess up a play or a drill.

The problem is that this often leads us to be fearful of mistakes.

Most players learn early from coaches and parents that failure and mistakes MUST BE AVOIDED.

Players learn to shy away from anything that might lead to failure.

Some real world examples are:


  1. They get yelled at once for trying a toe drag -> so they never really try deking again.

  2. They miss the net -> so they avoid shooting and opt to pass it whenever possible.

  3. They fell when they drive the net -> so they never take the puck to the net again.


You see, the problem is not the mistake, it's that we have learned to be scared of the mistake.

Instead of driving us towards action, we learn to avoid actions that may cause us harm.

We become powerless to our fears.

Now we live in a box of fear that tells us what we can and can't do as a player.

This is what angry screaming coaches/parents can do to a player who doesn't know how to rewire their mind.

This is likely how your brain is now wired.

So the question now becomes how do we rewire it?

How do we transform our mind to be fearless?

The Transformation of Failure into Success

The key to becoming successful in hockey is to realize that failure is not a bad thing.

Instead it is your golden ticket to success.

The more comfortable you can be with messing up, the more comfortable you will be in high pressure situations.

Here are the keys to becoming more comfortable with failure.

1. Negative Feedback as a Navigational Tool


  • Just as a servo-mechanism (like a heat seeking missile) uses negative feedback to correct its course, so should we.

  • Our errors and failures are stepping stones in the learning process.

  • Once they've served their purpose, they should be left behind, not dwelled upon.

  • By continually criticizing ourselves for past mistakes, we make those errors our focal point and program our mind for more errors.



2. Adaptation and Course Correction:


  • It's crucial to acknowledge mistakes but not to wallow in them.

  • Instead, correct them and move forward.

  • In dealing with hockey's challenges, try to understand the situation from multiple perspectives to find the right path.



3. Risk and Movement:


  • Embrace the courage to risk making mistakes and encountering failure.

  • A step in the wrong direction is still a step forward compared to stagnation.

  • Your guidance system, your inner compass, can only guide you when you're in motion.



4. The Instinct to Gamble on Yourself:


  • The innate human desire to gamble is, in essence, a push towards betting on our own capabilities and potential.

  • By living creatively and acting with courage, we're essentially taking a chance on our inherent talents.

  • Conversely, suppressing this instinct can lead to seeking courage in less constructive ways (think drugs & alcohol for example)



5. The Virtue of Bravery in Small Things:


  • Practice courage in everyday life.

  • You don't need to wait for a life-altering crisis to demonstrate bravery.

  • By facing the small challenges daily with courage, you develop the strength to handle more significant issues.

  • Try getting up at 5am for a week

  • Try something new you have never done before that is out of your comfort zone



6. Appreciating Yourself and Others:


  • High self-esteem stems from appreciating others and yourself.

  • Recognize the value in every individual, including yourself, as a unique creation.



7. Building Confidence Through Success:


  • Confidence grows with experience.

  • Remember, success breeds success.

  • Start small, celebrate every victory, and use it as a stepping stone to larger achievements.



8. Remembering Success, Forgetting Failures:


  • Our mind, much like an electronic computer, should reinforce successful attempts and forget misses.

  • By dwelling on past failures and emotionally charging these memories, we erode our self-confidence.

  • It's vital to focus on successful attempts, no matter how small.



9. Breath and Release The Mistake


  • You will mess up from time to time

  • When you do

    • Take a breath

    • Acknowledge the mistake

    • Let it go like a balloon in the sky

    • Move forward with confidence knowing your sunconcious mind will adjust



The Continuous Journey of Improvement

In conclusion, embracing failure is not just about accepting defeat; it's about recognizing that each mistake is a crucial part of your journey towards success. As Charles Kettering said:


"Be willing to fail numerous times without suffering ego damage."

Use mistakes as stepping stones to learning and then let them go.

Recall your brave moments, your small successes, and let them fuel your confidence.

Remember, you're never done mastering a skill; you're always just practicing getting better.

In this process, failure is not just an option; it's a necessity.

"You never really got it down – you're only practicing on getting it down. As soon as you think you've GOT IT – you're in for a rude awakening."


Hope you enjoyed this one!


- Corson


Apply below if you are interested in seeing how we might be able to help you master your mental game and get to the next level.

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Who is Corson Searles?

I am a former player & mental/performance advisor for AAA, junior, college, and pro hockey players. I am obsessed with dissecting atheletic performance potential, lifestyle design, and hockey development.

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