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How To Instantly Break Out Of A Mental Slump (Use The Magic 3)

Updated: Jan 7

Here are the key insights to remember from that article:

  • The best hockey players are always evolving their game.

  • The best hockey players find ways to evolve their game by using the scientific method (whether they know it or not)

  • The Scientific Method looks like this:

1) Set Target 

2) Make a Hypothesis

3) Test 

4) Analyze Results 

5) Make a New Hypothesis (based on new information)

Applying This To Your Game

Whenever I first start working with a player, we don't attack every single area of the game at once.

This would get overwhelming very quickly.

Instead, we simplify our attack and concentrate our efforts.

We look for the things that give us the most bang for our buck.

For most players, we first look at focus, pillars, and bottlenecks.

If you attack these with an effective plan, you will start getting better much faster.

This is why I can help players make improvements so quickly.

Of course, you can work on your entire game, but that is done over a long period.

In the short term, I have found it to be most effective to focus on 3 core areas that I call "The magic 3".

If you focus 80% of your time on the magic 3, it will dramatically shift your game.

Trust me, this works for AAA players all the up to the NHL.

This strategy is being implemented by your favourite players right now (with their development coaches).

Running Experiments

As we talked about at the beginning of the article, using the scientific method allows us to evolve our game over time effectively.

To use the scientific method, we first make a hypothesis.

Once we have a hypothesis, we can then go forward and test it.

After testing it for a month, we have some results to work with.

We then take those results and use them to make our next hypothesis.

This is how we strategically get better.

I like to have my guys running 3 core experiments at any given time.

(I will include an example for each for context)

One experiment for your MIND.

  • EX. Improve your focus by meditating for 10 minutes a day for 30 days

One experiment for your BODY.

  • EX. Improve your speed by doing ladder work for 10 minutes a day for 30 days.

One experiment for your SKILL.

  • EX. Improving your stickhandling by doing 20 minutes of stickhandling a day for 30 days.

These are just random examples but will be a good fit for most players to try out on their own if they are not already.

Breaking Out Of Your Slump With the Magic 3

If you are feeling stuck in some sort of slump this season and can't seem to break through, you need something to change fast.

There are many things you can and may have already tried.

I believe the best place to start is to start testing and tracking at least one new hypothesis every month.

Let's break down the three hypotheses I recommend you test right away.

The Magic 3

Focus, Separator Skills, and Bottlenecks.

I call them the magic three because when applied right they feel like magic.

When applied right, they can turn even the worst season around.

Let's break each down individually and then get you on your way back to dominating on the ice!

1. Focus

The Art Of Being Engaged

How engaged/focused are you during the game?

Are you noticing every key detail of the game?

Are you getting your attention pulled away to negative thoughts, people in the stands, etc?

Hockey requires constant mental focus.

Look back on all of your best games.

How focused were you?

I bet you were in a deep flow state.

I bet you were deeply in the moment for almost the entire game.

 To consistently be in the moment:

  • Practice Mindfulness: Engage in activities like meditation to enhance focus on a very consistent basis.

  • Overcome Fear: Fear of failure can hinder performance. For more on this in my previous article on bouncing back from mistakes

  • Recognize Opportunities: Hockey is about seizing moments. Train your mind to spot and be focused enough to capitalize on opportunities on ice. High IQ requires high focus.

Key Quote:

High IQ requires high focus.


Regularly assess your focus levels during games:

  • How often did you lose focus?

  • What triggered the loss of focus?

  • Develop strategies to stay engaged throughout the game.

2. Separator Skills

Leveraging Separator Skills: Building on Your Strengths

Every player has unique strengths or 'Separator Skills'.

Most players don't study their film enough to know it.

You need to understand what you are best at in order to take advantage of these skills.

This will unlock an entirely new level in your game.

To leverage your pillar skills:

  • Increase Usage Frequency: Create more opportunities to use your key skills during games.

  • Improve Success Rate: Work on refining these skills in practice. Study elite players and what they do to leverage similar skills.

  • Refine Skill Phases: Break down each skill into entry, execution, and exit. Fine-tune each phase for maximum efficiency.

Continuous Improvement

Continually work on these skills:

  • Seek feedback from coaches and teammates.

  • Analyze game footage to identify areas of improvement.

3. Bottlenecks

Removing Bottlenecks: Overcoming Weaknesses

Identify your weak links.

Reflect on aspects of your game that are holding you back.

You must confront and address your limiting skills.

  • Reflect: Identify what aspects of your game are holding your game back.

  • Analyze: Understand why these are bottlenecks.

  • Plan: Come up with a hypothesis and a plan of attack (as discussed earlier with the scientific method)

Strategy for Improvement

Once bottlenecks are identified:

  • Remove Ineffective Elements: Remove strategies and habits that aren't contributing to your game.

  • Rewire and Strengthen: Work on improving weaknesses until they become part of your skill set.

Maximizing Value for the Team

When thinking of hockey development, focus on value development.

How can you be the most valuable asset on your team?

Invest your time, money, and energy into these things.

Focusing on these "magic three" areas is the best place to start.

Your 30-Day Transformation Plan

Here is a simple daily plan you can execute for 30 days.

I promise you this will transform your mental game.

It will hit 3 core areas of your game:

  1. Focus

  2. Separator Skills

  3. Bottleneck Skills

1. For the first hour of your day, every day follow this routine:

  • Meditate - 10 minutes

  • Study film on 1 of your top 3 Separator Skills - 30 minutes

  • Hockey games, courses, lessons, etc

  • Cycle between them each day

  • Study film on 1 of your top 3 Bottleneck Skills - 30 minutes

  • Hockey games, courses, lessons, etc

  • Cycle between them each day

2. Before and After Every Practice Follow This Routine:

  • Spend half the extra time working on your top 3 Separator Skills

  • Cycle between them each day

  • Spend half the extra time working on your top 3 Bottleneck Skills

  • Cycle between them each day

Don't overcomplicate things.

Simplify how you spend your time, money, and energy.

Watch your game take off.


- Corson

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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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