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How To Build an Unstoppable Mind (Mastering Your Mental Game)

How many times have you heard someone say “Man, that guy just has an amazing mindset.”?

I bet it's more times than you can count.

Now the challenge you are facing is you don’t understand what the f*** mindset actually means.

You might even think that this idea of mindset is some woo-woo hippie stuff that makes no difference in your life.

Maybe you think it’s something you are born with or you are not.

You might even go as far to say that working on the mental game is a distraction that pulls us away from the work we need to do.

If you think any of those things, you would be wrong.

The thing that you do not YET realize is that all hockey is a mental game.

I’ll say that again…

"Hockey is ALL a mental game”

The training is mental, the games are mental, the recovery is mental, it’s all mental.

Before you discard what I am saying, really take a moment to think about this.

Yes, things happen out in the physical world, but your brain tells your body what to do in the physical world. Your brain sends a neurological impulse to the body to complete an action. Therefore physical action is really mental action.

Crazy right!?

Now to clarify, this does not mean that you can skip physical preparation.

If you want to be great at any sport you must maximize both your:

1. Physical capacity (like strength, speed, cardio, power, etc)

2. Your skills (like hands, skating, shooting, etc).

What it means is that to get yourself to do what you need to do and play how you want to play, it begins in the mind.

You see, if Connor Mcdavid had a crippling anxiety about getting hit, his mental game would stop him.

So even if your skills are amazing, your mind can get in the way of performance.

It’s also important to realize here that people can go the other way too. They can have a powerful mindset, but there physical ability is not good enough.

These players have a mental block too because they are not aware of their lack of ability.

They are failing to instruct themselves to take the right action.

See how even being self-aware enough to know what skills to work on is mental?

I bet by now you are beginning to open up to the idea that the mental game does matter.

You now see that the mental game as the foundation of all hockey success.

The mental game is still not the be-all-end-all of hockey success. But, without a strong mental game, even the most skilled players will struggle when things get hard.

Working On Your Mental Game

So now that we are clear of the mental games importance, you want to know how to actually work on the mental game.

The first place we always start with our Identity Shift clients is the mindset.

Our mindset is the way we perceive the world.

Think of your mindset as a set of sunglasses that we put on when we go outside.

The sunglasses filter out the bright light and only let certain light through.

They change your perception of reality to see the world as less bright.

Let’s say you put on prescription glasses, and now you see things more with more clarity and sharpness.

You see, your mindset is like either of those glasses.

Your mindset filters out the world in a particular way.

Why do you think people respond so to the exact same situations?

It’s because of their mindset.

Here’s a great example of where mindset matters in hockey. Think of a team down 3-1 in playoff series (like the Florida Panthers were in the 2022/23 playoffs against Boston).

Boston had set a record for most points in a simple season, so being down 3-1 to that team would seem like the end of the road.

That would be the "reasonable" mindset to have.

But you see, reasonable thinking gets reasonable results.

Next-level thinking gets next-level results.

Matthew Tkachuk had a next-level mindset coming into game 5 of that series with his team down 3-1.

Tkachuk went out and played a huge game and ended up scoring the game-winner in the 4th OT of the game.

He did this when it is the absolute most difficult to stay calm and composed, and he did.

After the game, he gave his post-game speech and told his team: “Boys, remember this room. We will be back here for 7!”

See thats a Next Level Mindset.

That’s the mindset I work to instil in every single client I work with.

I do this because we need more people like this in all walks of life.

We need more people who do not accept the way things are and who instead see a massive opportunity in front of them.

Installing the Mindset

So how do you download a mindset like this?

It starts with realizing the mind is like computer software (like we talked about in my article 2 weeks back).

We must realize that this mental software can be rewired and updated like a computer.

Think of your brain as a Macbook.

It has the hardware (which is your actual brain).

It has the software (which is your Identity and habitual patterns that have been programmed into your brain).

Now the key thing to realize is that the Mac software is always being updated and improved upon.

That's why you must update your phone every few months as well.

It must be updated because hackers and viruses are always trying to break in and mess things up.

Your brain is no different when it comes to needing updates to prevent hackers and viruses.

Mental Virus -> negative thoughts, beliefs, feelings, action habits, and ways of being.

Mental viruses get into your mental system which breaks down your mental system.

This breakdown leads to glitchy performance on the ice.

To deal with this problem, we need to update the software.

You must fight back against these hackers (negative people) and mental viruses.

If you are a driven hockey player, you must also realize that ss you get better at hockey, you will gain more attention.

With that attention comes negativity and challenges that all great players have faced.

You must be able to handle this stuff mentally and not let them get into your head like a mental virus.

I dealt with this when I went to the CCHL as a 20-year-old.

I had a lot of eyes on me because I had posted a lot on social media about my NHL goals.

I had players on every single team who knew who I was and who did not seem to like me very much.

The negativity got to me, and I struggled to manage it and got pretty depressed.

A lot of this came from my lack of understanding that my mental software could be updated.

I learned that you must keep updating the software and removing the viruses or you end up in a negative spiral.

If you don’t deal with the mental viruses they can take over. You might start buying into the negativity.

When you buy into negativity, that is what people refer to when they say “That person is in your head”.

So how do we keep people out of our heads?

we run scans on our brains and update the software to get rid of the bugs and viruses.

Here is the simplified version of the step-by-step system we teach all our clients:

(We will simplify things for the sake of saving time)

1) Install Key Mental filters

Filter #1: Delusion Isn't it bad to be delusional?

Well sometimes yes.

If you believe you can jump out of a window and fly, that is a bad delusion.

But as a hockey player, you must be a bit delusional to hit big goals.


Well because big goals are hard to reach, and many people will not believe they are possible for themselves or you.

You would be reasonable to listen to them.

You would be delusional to believe that you will be that 1 in 4000 players who makes the NHL (that number might be off).

And if you want to accomplish big things, you must be able to look into the future and see that something is possible.

You must be able to see big like playing in the NHL, or playing D1, or playing high-level pro is possible.

That belief will inspire action.

That action will create results.

Those results inspire more action.

And the cycle repeats.

Filter #2: Persistence You can think of persistence as delusional confidence over time.

It’s one thing to have a spark of excitement, it’s another to keep the fire going as things get hard.

You need persistence on your way to your delusional goals or you will burn out way too fast.

Persistence carries us through the hard times required to reach big goals. Filter #3: Gratitude Gratitude is the forgotten factor in most peoples mental systems.

They believe that its all about big goals and hard work.

Sure, those are key.

But gratitude is the fuel that drives you to push harder and harder.

It’s like adding gas to the flame.

This is because when we experience gratitude, we are telling our brain we are winning.

When you tell your brain you are winning you will want to keep winning.

So when you say "I am grateful for that awesome game I have or that big goal I scored", you are telling yourself and the world “I would like some more please”.

If you skip this step and forget to feel gratitude, then you will end up a sad and angry person.

This doesn't mean you indulge in your past success either.

It means you feel accomplishment when you hit the goal for that moment and acknowledge the work you did.

Strategic gratitude rewires your brain for success.

Filter #4: Win-Win Thinking

This is the final mental filter we will talk about (there are several more we discuss in the program)

Win-win thinking means you see every situation as a “win or you get better” scenario.

This may sound like bulls*** but it is far from it.

This is because every loss doesn't need to be viewed as bad.

Every loss could be there to teach you a lesson you need to learn for the future.

What if there is a hockey god up there that needs you to realize that you have a bad backhand.

So you needed to miss a big backhand goal when you were 13 years old to realize your backhand needs work.

And what if 10 years later you are in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals and you score a huge OT goal on your backhand. And you can look back to that loss that made you realize the importance of that skill.

Would you still go back and tell your younger self that you LOST when you messed up that backhand?

Or would you go back and tell yourself that you are glad that happened because this is going to make you better?

See how even a “loss” is only a loss if you take nothing from it.

So instead look at losses and failures as feedback to learn, and you will never lose again in hockey!

2. Meditate Daily

To clear out the little mini viruses chilling in your head daily

The second action step after you have installed those mental filters into your mental software is to meditate.

Meditation is like doing a routine scan to make sure no viruses have taken over.

When I say viruses I mean negative ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.

When you sit down and observe your thoughts for even 5 minutes per day it's crazy. You will catch yourself thinking some pretty negative/unhelpful things.

The problem for most people is that they let these programs run for far too long and they wire themselves deeper and deeper into their Identity.

The way to combat all this is to meditate daily and catch these thoughts before they become part of your daily mindset. Before they become part of who you are as a person/player (Identity).

Meditation daily for 5-10 minutes as an athlete is non-negotiable if you want to be your best.

Go on youtube if you want to get started with simple breathing meditations.

3. Software Updates

The final 3 things that I was going to include would take up an entire article each and that is why I teach them in the Next Level Accelerator Program.

They need a few weeks of intense training to rewire their subconscious Identity.

The fundamentals of how this works are that you train yourself to get into a deep hypnotic state.

Then you become aware of the mental programs holding your game back.

You then go into your mind and rewire them through a deep mental technique.

You then install the new ways you want to feel, think and act on the ice.

Each step is learned and mastered until you can do all the steps in one fluent process.

This stuff is life-changing, but it only works when players are ready for it.

So if you are:

  1. A hockey player who is playing AAA, junior, college, or pro

  2. Who is 14 years or older

  3. Who is working to play NCAA, play pro, or play a higher level in pro

  4. Who knows they need to dial in their mental game, lifestyle, and game preparation to get scouted and/or succeed at that level

  5. Who is ALL-IN with their hockey career

Then Apply to join one of our programs - if we can help, we will reach back out within 48 hours about setting up a coaching call.

If you are not a good fit for those programs I am still here to help.

My goal is to help all other players who do not fit that criteria to get to that level.

My secret goal is that you get better for free so that you are good enough for us to work with you in the future.

I have a free training course here for you to get started with your mental game, next-level lifestyle, and preparation.

This stuff will begin to prepare you to succeed at the NCAA level.

Hope you enjoyed this one!


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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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