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Virtual Performance Teams Are The Future Of Hockey (How To Build Yours)

I am going to start this letter off with a strange analogy.

Think of your hockey development as having 3 fruit trees.

This is obviously a strange analogy (but stick with me for the value).

You have 3 fruit trees as a hockey player:

  • The mind

  • The body

  • The skills

When they develop properly, they bear a ton of fruits:

  • Goals

  • Assists

  • Wins

  • College offers

  • Pro offers

  • Travel to cool places to play

  • Etc

Now what do most people do when they get a plant?

Most people:

  1. Forget about the plants for a few weeks and then try to drown them in water to make up for the neglect

  2. Don't give the plants their nutrients

  3. Don't give their plant proper sunlight

Then the plant withers away and dies.

It doesn't produce many fruits.

And we are left disappointed that we spot a lot of time money, and energy to get very little in return.

The Lesson For Hockey Players

I watch hockey players do the exact same thing with their hockey development.

They completely neglect their mind, body, and skills.

Then they wonder why they are not succeeding.

They never enjoy the fruits of their labour because their trees were trying to survive.

Their mind, body and skills were withering away.

You see, I believe that performance comes down to 4 main things:

Mind + Body + Skills + Luck = Performance

So many players are relying on luck.

So many players are trying to survive in their league.

Very few are growing and thriving.


The main reasons I have observed are:

  • They get very motivated at times and push themselves hard

  • They would do the extra work for a few days or weeks, then the motivation fizzles out.

  • On the days they don't feel motivated, they go easy and do the maximum expected.

This is very common, and you may be doing this in your career and not even noticing.

Question: Is it smart to do the smallest inputs and expect the largest outputs? You tell me...

Neglecting Your Fruit Trees

(Yes I know this fruit tree thing sounds very funny, but you won't forget it haha).

As I continue to preach that you have those three core areas:

  • MIND - Your mental mechanics

  • BODY - Your physical capacity

  • SKILL - Your skill capacity

Most players forget to pay attention to one or more of these three areas, and that area starts to wither away.

I made this mistake so many times in my career.

One example was my injury prevention work.

  1. I would go hard for a week or so after sustaining a little injury or soreness because I was motivated to do it.

  2. I would soon get sick of it.

  3. I would neglect it for a while.

  4. I would get hurt or injured again.

  5. I would realize notice I had let the physical preparedness area of my game wither away like an unwatered plant.

  6. So I would then go crazy and drown myself in work for a few days, or maybe a week to try and catch up.

  7. I would work until it felt better, then repeat this cycle over and over again

I did this with film study, I did this with meditation and visualization, I did this with skills training.

I did this with nearly every area of my game.

But like a fruit tree, you can't just do work for a single day, or week and expect the plant to thrive.

This is the lesson for you to learn from me:

  1. You can't just work on your skills for a few days and expect to have world-class skills.

  2. You can't just visualize, meditate, or read a book for a day and boom you have an unstoppable mind.

  3. You can't just workout for 2 hours and expect a freakishly athletic body.

  4. Success comes from what you do consistently for a long period of time (think 5-10 years)

Being Proactive

So how do you take what I learned and turn it into beneficial actions?

What I really learned is that I was being "reactive" in my hockey career.

I waited for things to go wrong -> then I would act.

I was REACTIVE instead of PROACTIVE.

I wish I had been more proactive.

Being proactive means that you prepare in advance for things.

You look ahead and prevent bad things from happening down the line by doing things now.

Some examples:

  1. If you predict that your shooting ability will hold you back at the next level...

  2. ...Being proactive is going to a shooting coach and learning how to level up your shot

2. If you predict that your mental game will get in your way in big games in the future... 2. ...Being proactive is hiring a mental coach to take your mental game to the next level (click here if you want help doing that)

Learn From Experts

This is where people with experience or expertise in your field can be game-changers!

They can help be more proactive.

They can help you see things down the road that you did not expect.

They can help you find areas in your game that you didn't even know you were neglecting.

They can look at your fruit trees and say:

"Hey, this one needs a bit more sunlight each day. This one needs more nutrients. This third one is being overwatered, so take it easy on this one."

For example: I will look at my players and notice when they are not doing a morning routine that sets them up for success each day.

They may think nothing of it.

But being in a solid routine is one of the easiest ways to be proactive.

You can spend 30 minutes and write out a plan that will be like watering your fruit trees.

This allows you to waste little to no mental energy to get the things you want done because they are in a simple routine.

Then in a few months, all of the trees are bearing fruit and you will have felt like you didn't even work harder to do it.

That's just one example of hundreds.

Having experts around you is how you maximize your fruit-bearing potential.

In hockey, bearing fruit is getting:

  • Points

  • Assists

  • Wins

  • College offers

  • Attention

  • Etc.

Now one expert is great, but the way I think of things is that you should have one Co-CEO (like we discussed last week).

Then you want to have several in-person or online experts that you assemble over time to create your performance team.

Building Your Virtual Performance Team

So before we get into this I want to reiterate that I am not saying: "You must go out and hire 6 different coaches and spend 20k a month to develop your game."

That would not be useful for most players.

What I am saying is that there is an approach I have developed that can help a ton of players.

I call it the "Virtual Performance Team"

The point of this is that you leverage the fact that there are so many great experts out there who can make you better in all facets of the game.

What's amazing about being alive during this time, is that we can learn from all of them who are posting and sharing online.

Many of them offer a ton of free value, and many of them also offer a program that costs less than an iPad for the year.

So here's the technique I use to take my obsession with hockey and make it useful:

Phase 1: Research(This can take anywhere from 60-180 mins)

  1. Get obsessed with a topic in hockey (Ex. breakouts)

  2. Grab a notebook (or digital notes) and a laptop

  3. Go online and search Google to see what blog posts and detailed articles you can find

  4. Take detailed notes

  5. Find the top 3-5 people in the area and write their names on separate pages (These will be your virtual performance team in that area to start)

  6. After each note, make sure to write the first thing that also comes to your mind

  7. Read at least 3 articles (to avoid being dogmatic, which we will discuss later).

  8. Continue to take notes

  9. Then go to YouTube and watch at least 3 videos on the topic

  10. Continue to take notes again

  11. Finally, go to a short-form platform and type the question into the search bar

  12. Take even more notes

  13. Go back over all of your notes and ask if you feel like you have a solid grasp of the concept

  14. If you do, Move on to phase 2

Phase 2: Experimenting

  1. Visualize yourself executing the skill

  2. Take notes on what you discovered

  3. Work on the skill off-ice

  4. Take notes on what you discovered

  5. Go use it on the ice in practice

  6. Take more notes

  7. Go back over all of your notes at the end of each week

    1. Ask yourself: What worked? What didn't work? What could I learn more about in my research? What should I try next in my experiments?

Try that system out for 6 months and watch what happens. The key step is reflection. Many players research and experiment, but do not reflect and learn from it. The reflection is where the exponential growth happens. The other key that is not mentioned before is that you must avoid becoming dogmatic and thinking you know it all.

Do Not Get Dogmatic

Being dogmatic basically means you regard something as true no matter what.

You do not ever question it.

You assume that nothing will ever disprove your belief.

This mentality will hold you back from learning.

Most often times our greatest learning will come from changing something you do to be more effective.

If you are rigid and believe that you have found "the way", you might miss out on some of the most important advice you can get.

So instead as you build your performance team, be radically open to new ideas.

Be willing to question everything, even the stuff you know for sure.

Watch how the right info just appears in front of you.

So no it's your time to go out and execute this 6 month plan.

I promise you if you install this strategy, you will see the greatest growth you have ever gone through in your life.

I'm excited to see what you create, and what virtual team you build.

Keep in mind that over time you will narrow down your virtual team to 1-3: One Performance Coach (Co-CEO)

Mental Coach

Physical Trainer

Skills Development Coach

Injury Prevention Coach


If you want to:

  1. Bring joy back to playing hockey

  2. Reach the next level in your career (Junior -> College -> Pro)

  3. Save yourself hundreds/thousands of hours of study

  4. Learn from the virtual team of mentors I have learned from (in course form)

  5. Learn and chat with dozens of high-level players as obsessed as you are, then you definitely want to join the next-level academy

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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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