About Mental Training for Elite Ringette Athletes

First of all, thanks for reading this article. Visitors to my site are athletes, coaches and parents – all looking for tips and resources; in the case of athletes: to help them build a ringette career; or, in the case of coaches and parents – to support and lead athletes. 

Secondly, The Youldon Group recently did some work with Ringette Canada in support of the implementation of new “standards” for the National Ringette League. The purpose of the standards was to form a more consistent approach across all teams and to align athlete development plans with that of Ringette Canada’s national team program. All of the players in the “talent pool” for the national team come from the National Ringette League. 

So, makes sense.. right?

Well, in working with the NRL teams to help them understand the standards and how to meet them, there was particular resistance to the notion of mental training. In some teams, athletes said they did not want to “pay” for such a service, and some coaches felt mental training was “entertaining” but offered limited value. And, yet in other cases, teams that did use external sport psychology experts were not pleased with the services and results obtained. 

So.. what to do?

Do we throw in the skate towel on mental training for elite ringette players? Does this mean that ringette is “special” and mental skills does not apply to ringette. Afterall, the mature elite ringette athlete knows best – doesn’t’ she? If she sees no value in mental skills training, is that not the final verdict? Case closed; and let’s just move on to more relevant matters… 

As the common vernacular goes: “Are you kidding me right now!” Just wait a ringette shot clock minute. 

A quick search of your favourite internet search engine will reveal: sports psychology is deep, rich, well researched, and well applied to local and elite sports across the board and around the world. 

The Youldon Group has been involved in Ringette for almost three decades and we have worked with young, old, beginner and elite ringette players and coaches. Hey, we are a fan of mental training and when applied well, athletes respond, perform well and learn about themselves, the game and their team mates. 

So, why does mental training get such a bad rap. Why is it not acknowledged as having value by coaches that have been well trained by the NCCP and by athletes that have come through the Canadian ringette system and supported by their local and provincial organizations?

We are getting grumpy here at the Youldon Group website… not encouraged at all by all of this. 

For now, we just wanted to raise this point to the ringette community. Watch for more posts as we try to solve the mystery and provide some practical mental skills tips to the “ever diligent” and often “under respected” ringette coach to help her bring mental skills to her ringette athletes. 

Tell us what you think. Where does mental training and skills fit with ringette? Use the comments block to add your point of view.

Yours in Ringette, 

Paul Youldon (Principal, The Youldon Group)

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