Trust, trust, trust. Trust in yourself, trust in the coaching staff, and trust that you are doing exactly what you should be doing.
I was so grateful for the Olympic experience that I had. I have been playing hockey at this level for 12 years, and this is the first time I have been to a tournament as the only goalkeeper. Before the tournament I thought that maybe it would be a lonely time, mainly before and after games, but it wasn’t. The times that I had to myself were good for mental preparation.
The extra pressure that I normally put on myself about whether or not I will play the next game was eliminated. I could just play and for me that worked. I was the best prepared I have ever been. I have had many experiences over my career both good and hard, and all were a driving force to get me prepared for the Olympics. This also fuelled my determination to perform to my best during the tournament.
Over the years I have learnt to deal with distractions. Like the distraction of already being a couple of minutes behind in your warm up, walking out from the change room to the pitch and realising once you get out there that you have forgotten your right glove. My on ball warm up can’t start without my right glove. So I asked the girl warming me up, very nicely, if she could run to the change room and get my glove. I just grabbed a ball and started juggling it to warm up while I waited for her. There was no need to make a big scene, I am sure most of the girls and some of the coaching staff didn’t even realise that I left my right glove in the change room. She got back out to the pitch, both of us were very calm and we started the on ball warm up. It was our 3rd game of the Olympics vs USA, I saved a stroke that game and we won 1-0. Being able to deal with distractions both on and off the field is very important.
All the best … Toni