Hockey is fast-paced and always in motion, so nothing stays in one place for long. Once you get a solid sense of yourself on skates, you quickly learn to pay attention to what’s going on around you. If you don’t, you get a teeth jarring reminder of this lesson to always keep your head up! Watch this example of a professional player getting caught with his head down for the “worst case scenario”.
But keeping your head up is about more than staying safe, it’s the key to great timing and pattern recognition. When you pay close attention to what’s going on around you in hockey, you find opportunities to take control of the game and score points. When you aren’t keeping an eye on the whole game, you are relegated to following the play and chasing after the other team.
When you keep your head up in regular life, you notice things that others don’t see, and make stronger connections with others. Most people I know really appreciate a good listener or someone who understands and empathizes with them. You have to be outside of yourself and look for signals from those around you to time your interactions well.
Some ways to keep your head up in daily life:
- Make eye contact with people you pass in the hall.
- Pay attention to metrics and indicators of your performance.
- Ask what others think in every conversation you have.
- Don’t text while driving!