Bob Wilkie, # 1 Mental Performance Coach for Young Hockey Players in Canada
Who am I and Why would you listen to me?
Well, I started out loving hockey at a very young age like many Canadian boys do… they fall in love with the game very early. As with most of us I spent endless hours out on the out door rinks in front of our townhouse and even at that young age I was excited motivated and an aspiring hockey player with a dream to be just like Bobby Orr!
I was having the time of my life – I spent hundreds of hours on the ice. My mother had a very hard time trying to get me in and the end of the day. I was having way too much fun scoring goals and stick handling and enjoying being with my friends. As a result of all this time on the ice I entered the organized youth hockey world at 6 years old with exceptionally advanced motor skills and on ice skills … including stick handling and skating.
I was an immediate star on the ice and even at that young age kids were calling me the future Bobby Orr.
By the time I reached PEE WEE I was winning “player of the game” almost every game. I was being noticed and talked about at 10 years old. I remember someone telling my parents that I was rated one of the 10 ten PEE WEE players in Alberta at 10 years old. I was invited to every elite tournament or team from that year onward. I made the top level elite teams every year. I started to get invited to participate on every elite team. I helped my team go to the finals every year starting at PEE WEE and then on to BANTAM. My MIdget career took me to the Air Canada Cup and our team won the Mac’s Major Midget Tournment. I was invited to the under 17 Olympic development team and everything was happening fast. The coaches at those levels really had very little to do with my success. They most often did not have any idea how to motivate me or get me to play their style. I was very focused on my on ice skills and they had developed into a real asset. I was starting to get letter from colleges and the scouts and agents were starting to talk to my parents. By sixteen I was playing WHL hockey and I was touted to go in the first round of the draft into the NHL. I knew I was special in that world and I was treated that way by about half the hockey world and the other half (including coaches and parents) were jealous and often mean. For instant the 20 year old Junior players hated me as an upstart 16 year old and made my life miserable. I had started to have to deal with that at the PEE WEE level and all during Bantam and Midget I was often made to feel bad in the dressing room. It was scary and I was unsure of how to deal with it all. I learned early that this was not going to be an easy thing. I was scared and unsure of how to deal with so many of the experiences that showed up. My parents had already begun to struggle with how to handle my passion and drive for the game and all the issues that were showing up as a result. . They had no training nor were they ever made aware of what was to come next. Shockingly to us as a family I was traded at 17 to Swift Current Bronco’s and they were no longer around to keep me safe or help me deal with the pressures and expectations. This was the first time I was out of my comfort zone and I learned real fast that there were skills I had not developed and they were not on ice skills. What happened from here on was so devastating and scary and I soon learned I was completely unprepared.
No doubt I had the on ice skills. My technical skills and skating skills were considered outstanding and I was expected to be a first round draft pick. It should have been the most exciting time of my life. Remember, because of my talent I got away with a lot. I was told over and over I was special and that I would be in the NHL by 18 or 19. There was never any emphasis put on my off ice skills, my mental strength or my emotional development. Soon after I hit Junior Hockey and I was traded to swift Current which is a small town compared to the City I grew up in. With a new coach and new teammates and no family or friends or familiar faces around to encourage and support me I was in shock for awhile and hesitated, lost confidence and started to struggle. I had never had to deal with any of these things before. I was lost. Then even more challenges, life changing ones happened. Two months after being traded on a cold December day I was in a tragic bus accident that killed 4 of my teammates. I had no way of mentally or emotionally dealing with the trade, never mind these terrible experiences. What 17 year old does? On top of all of this, my coach was Graham James, now famous for his sexual abuse of a number of my teammates.
This started a downward spiral instead of an uphill development process preparing me for the NHL. I became depressed and anxious and scared of life itself. You can read about my experiences and the experiences of the team in my upcoming book Sudden Death and it will be in the stores in November.
Even after all of this devastation, six months later I was drafted 42 over all to Detroit. A a dream come true! but as a result of not having developed enough inner strength and confidence and having all of the devastation to deal with, I was afraid and completely unprepared for the experience. I walked out of Swift Current emotionally and mentally messed up.
When I arrived in Detroit I was completely unprepared emotionally or mentally and within a very short period of time I lost my chance at a long and very prosperous career. Oh yes I still being told I had exceptional on ice skills and some of the best hands and feet in the business. That did not prove to be enough.
Without strong emotional and mental skills I held back, did not care enough and struggled with the challenges. As a result I soon lost my chance at the big show and was relegated to the minors. I lost millions of dollars and years of a successful NHL career. The shocking realization was that I had gotten here and was in no way prepared or equipped with the life skills necessary to compete and perform at this very elite level of hockey. I was a NATURAL when it came to on ice skills and a complete failure when it came to coping and inner confidence skills.
Although my story is unique in many ways, I personally know hundreds of other players who have met the same fate.
For the next ten years I went from team to team and place to place trying to find the magic I had had when I was younger. Sadly I never found it again and ended up as a sad confused x-professional hockey player. I felt like a complete failure even though I had achieved more success than 99% of the players I knew when I was a child playing PEE WEE hockey in Calgary! I had traveled the world and had been paid to play hockey, the game I loved so much but sadly I had not been able to hold on at the elite professional level and therefore I felt like a failure. How could all of this happened?
After a few years of struggling to find something else that would take the place of hockey in my life, I felt a strong desire to go back and learn what had gone wrong. I realized the missing parts of my development were in building strong mental and emotional skills. No one had ever taught me or made me realize how important those skills would be. My parents had tried but with all my talent and all focus on my hockey career they struggled to know how to help me. I wondered how many other parents and players feel the same way.
After learning that there were thousand of us going through this same kind of situation or close to it, I started to look at the youth hockey system in place today and see if it had somehow developed a program that would make it easier for the aspiring hockey players of today. I quickly realized that there was nothing in place to teach the mental and emotional skills necessary. I decided to go back and perhaps help families and players to avoid the pain my family and mostly I had gone through by setting up a development system for the off ice life skills necessary to be successful at a high level.
I researched, read, took courses, certified myself as a Life Success Coach, and found the answer. My life changed profoundly and I found the magic again… the magic that I had lost at such a young age. And it meant I was still in the game I loved.
As a result of my own work on my own life and the positive results I was getting, I decided to create a step by step process for young players that promises a much better chance at success. I decided to bring it to the hockey world and see what happened.
After 6 years and thousands of kids that have gone through my “program” I have seen the results! The kids who have gone through the programs and really understood the information, are having amazing success and achieving far easier and faster than those who do not know this information.
And now I want you and your player to learn these “vital life skills” that every player who makes it to PEE WEE and BANTAM and realize they want to go on to elite MIDGET and JUNIOR HOCKEY and perhaps even further to college or the NHL levels.
This program is worth your time and effort and I have never believed in anything more than this. I have found the magic again and I want to share it with all who want to listen.
It is my passion and my desire to teach you the parents these “success strategies” vital for every successful hockey player to know. They will help you help your aspiring hockey player to avoid the terrible devastating disappointments I suffered.
To do all the work necessary to “get there” and not be prepared emotionally or mentally is like driving a car without wheels. You will end up losing it all like I did and thousands others like me and live to regret the whole experience.
These programs were not around when I was going through the system but they are available now for you.
THESE PROGRAMS ARE THE KEYS TO YOUR PLAYERS SUCCESS!
THANK YOU FOR OPTING IN AT www.igotmind.ca AND TAKING THE TIME TO LISTEN AND LEARN! I PROMISE YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT. MY RESEARCH AND EXPERIENCE SHOW THAT THIS IS A SUCCESS EQUATION THAT IF TAKEN SERIOUSLY WILL WORK FOR YOU.
Sincerely, Bob Wilkie