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The Missing Link In Your Hockey Training (Mental Software Programming)

I asked myself when I was playing junior hockey: What can I do that will really separate me from other players around me?


Was there some secret or tool no one had fully unlocked yet?


So I searched the internet for hours looking for something that would fit that description.


That was when I then discovered a company called Train 2.0.


Jason Yee (the founder) was creating a new way to talk about skills.


He looked at hockey skills and movements and called them "mechanics".


His philosophy was that there were certain mechanics that the best players in the world had discovered that if learned would allow you to unlock abilities you never thought possible.


This opened up a whole new world for me!


I suddenly began believing that the best players just had better mechanics than me.


So all I had to do was improve my mechanics and I would improve my game.


I believed that if I matched my mechanics to players like McDavid's skating or Matthews' shot, then I could make the NHL too.


But there was a problem with this approach for me…


I noticed very quickly that as I improved my mechanics it did give me an advantage, but I still struggled to apply the mechanics.


I would either:

  1. Not have confidence in the mechanic (being afraid to use it)

  2. Not understand when to use them effectively


I was not lacking the mental ability to do the things I wanted to do.


It wasn't that I lacked the body to execute what I wanted.


I was lacking more so lacking the Mental Software required for me to use my abilities to the fullest extent.


If I could fix my Mental Software, I could fix my career!



Understanding Mental Software

So what is Mental Software?


Why does it matter?


"Mental Software" = nervous system.


The nervous system is made up of:

  1. The Peripheral Nervous System

  2. Sends info to the brain from the body

  3. Send signals from the brain to the muscles of the body

  4. The Central Nervous System

  5. Where is the info from the Peripheral nervous system



Within the CNS we have the brain.



The brain is made up of billions of neurons.



The neurons fire to create thoughts, feelings and actions.


Nearly every time you feel, think, or do anything, neurons are firing in the brain - sending a signal to the PNS which then tells the muscles what to do.





This quote captures it perfectly:


 "Every human movement, thought, or feeling is a precisely timed electric signal traveling through a chain of neurons—a circuit of nerve fibers. Myelin is the insulation that wraps these nerve fibers and increases signal strength, speed, and accuracy. The more we fire a particular circuit, the more myelin optimizes that circuit, and the stronger, faster, and more fluent our movements and thoughts become.” ― Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else


When neurons fire repeatedly, these things called Oligodendrocytes wrap around the space between the neurons so that they fire stronger, faster and more fluently.






How The Brain Re-Programs (Rewires) Itself.

The brain is like an ultra-powerful supercomputer.



I like to think of the neurons in the brain as software in a computer or apps on your iPhone.



There are billions of connections in the brain.


When we think, feel, or act, we fire the neurons.


When the neurons fire a substance called Myelin wraps around it like electrical tape around a wire.



When we do something more and more often, the brain wires it more and more deeply.


So if we feel a certain emotion hundreds of times, Myelin will wrap around those neurons and increase the likelihood that we feel that again.


If we take a certain shot hundreds of times, Myelin will wrap around those neurons and increase the likelihood that we shoot that again.



Training is Software Programming

Ultimately when we do any type of training (mental or physical) we are wiring the software in our mind.


The more we wire it, the more likely we are to do it in similar situations and the better we will execute it.


Now it makes sense why people tell you to "do the reps".


Doing the reps programs our Mental Software


Mental Programming Is The Cheat Code

But what if I told you that you could program your mental software without doing any extra physical work?


What if you could improve your decision-making without playing more games?


What if you could feel more confident in your skills while continuing to do the skills work you are already doing?


What if you could improve areas of your game without having to go back to the rink, or out to the driveway?


This led me to realize that mere physical training wasn't enough to excel at the highest levels—learning how to program the software that runs our actions and reactions, was the missing piece.


The key, I discovered, was that it wasn't just about upgrading my skills but transforming my mental framework to utilize those skills under pressure, a concept often overlooked in traditional training regimes.


I call it Mental Programming.


Mental Programming is a term I have created to explain what is really happening when we are programming our minds through mental practice.


When we:

  • Meditate to make our brain more focused

  • Say/write affirmations to increase our self-belief

  • Intentionally feel certain feelings

  • Visualize certain plays or situations


We are programming our mental software to do that again.


Understanding this, I recognized that many athletes are not struggling because they lack skill, they struggle because their mental software isn't programmed to leverage their capabilities fully.


I believe that played a big part in why I was not able to leverage my game fully.


This realization is what spurred me to develop courses and programs specifically aimed at reprogramming this mental software.



Introducing My Upcoming Courses on Meditation and Visualization

This summer, I am thrilled to announce the launch of two transformative courses designed to empower athletes and individuals alike: a Meditation Course and a Visualization Course.


1. Meditation for Mental Clarity and Focus: 

This course will delve into meditation techniques that:

  • Help calm the mind

  • Enhance concentration

  • Develop a mind that remains unperturbed under stress


You will learn how to maintain focus during critical moments, allowing you to perform at your best when it counts the most.


2. Visualization for Peak Performance: 

Visualization is not just about seeing success; it's about programming the mind to make success a reality.


This course will teach you how to visualize complex actions and outcomes, enhancing your ability to execute them physically.


By mentally rehearsing your success, you'll condition your nervous system to act more efficiently during actual performance.


Both courses are designed based on cutting-edge neuroscience and cognitive psychology principles, ensuring that you're not only enhancing your physical abilities but also mastering the mental skills necessary for peak performance.



Why Focus on Mental Programming?

Mental programming is the cheat code to unlocking true potential. It allows you to:

  • Enhance decision-making skills.

  • Boost confidence under pressure.

  • Improve focus and reduce performance anxiety.


Through consistent practice of the techniques taught in these courses, you will be able to create a powerful mental framework that enhances your physical training.


Whether you're aiming for the NHL or simply looking to improve your daily life performance, these tools are your key to success.


I hope you got a lot of value out of this one!


See you at the next level,

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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