How to be a Relentless Competitor
By Enio Sacilotto, Assistant Coach of the Victoria Royals & President of International Hockey Camps
"It takes no ability to give effort"
When we think of a competitive athlete we think of people like Milan Lucic of the Edmonton Oilers & Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens. These players play the game with a passionate heart that will let nothing get in their way. They leave everything they have on the playing or practise field all the time. They never give up no matter what, they are relentless. A relentless competitor is determined, ferocious, uncompromising, unrelenting and unstoppable! This article is for players who want to learn to be a relentless competitor and for coaches and parents who want to help them get there!
Relentless competitors, have grit and guts, they never give in or burn out, they have the intestinal fortitude to win every race, every battle and do their all to win every game. They are mentally strong and overcome every criticism, challenge, setback or obstacle that come their way. They keep their eye on the ultimate goal, they do not dwell on the negative. Rather they look for solutions and just keep on ploughing through.
To be relentless competitor one must look at the overall picture, it is not a one time, one game, one practise thing, it is an attitude that is brought to every practise, game, and season, it is a consistent attitude.
The good news is that becoming a relentless competitor is a learned skill. It is important to note that the drive to be relentless must come from within yourself. This is true for any level, gender or age of the athlete. Parents, coaches, mentors, teammates or anyone outside yourself cannot make you into a relentless competitor!
Here are 7 things that you can do to help you learn and develop the skill of a relentless competitor:
2. Set Goals
You need to take the time to think about what they you want as all relentless competitors are goal driven! It is best once you establish your goals to write them down on paper. The S.M.A.R.T. system is a very good formula to use for setting goals. Your goal must be:
- Specific – know exactly what you want.
- Measurable – you have to find a way to measure your goal this way you will know your progress, examples could be how many times you hit the target in your shooting practise.
- Attitude – you have to be willing to put the time in and do the work, it is all about your attitude.
- Realistic – the goal must be do-able, you have to develop a realistic plan that you can live up too, slightly stretch yourself!
- Timed – have a clear target date as to when you intend to reach your goal.
When you have planned goals you can re-evaluate and make changes as you go. By setting YOUR own goals (not by coaches or parents) you will go for them with a firm COMMITMENT!
3. Commitment Contract
- Work hard and compete at every drill and in every game,
- I will practise my 1-on-1 skills making sure to play the body every time.
4. Self Talk
5. Avoid Comparisons to Others
6. Learn from your Mistakes
7. Study the Game
It is important to stress that having a passion for something and being a relentless competitor must come from within yourself. Parents, coaches, teachers, friends, and advisors cannot do it for you! It is a learned skill that you can work on every day just like skating and practising your slap shot!
At our Battle and Compete camp you will have the opportunity to practise your on ice battle and compete drills through 1 on 1 drills and many small area games. In the classroom we will review the contents of this article and do some of the practical exercises to help you become a relentless competitor!
It is never too late or too early for you as an athlete to work on these skills!