C2Q: Confidence x Consistency Quotient
Players, parents and coaches underestimate the role that skill plays in confidence. And that is because player, parents and coaches in hockey overestimate the level of skill that they actually possess.
Let's consider skill. I've heard countless players, parents, and coaches say, "Wow they've got great hands," or "Wow, they're a beautiful skater."
This is usually an amateur view of that player's skill. It doesn't look at the underlying efficacy of the skill in a game situation.
Looking from a kinesiologist/former pro/biomechanics expert view on skill, there are distinct skills that involve footwork, specific joint angles, and a specific rhythm between hands and feet that some NHLers possess, that those not in the NHL or who are lower performers are just not capable of.
These skills are often untaught and learned naturally by some players.
Consider that these skills are both rare and valuable.
They are rare because they are not commonly identified or taught. And they are valuable because they produce in-game results at the highest level.
Consider that NHL superstars like McDavid, MacKinnon and Crosby have enough rare and valuable skills to consistently get in-game results above and beyond other players.
If you consider a matrix of Valuable and Not-Valuable Skills versus Rare and Common Skills, you get the following:
A player's ability to consistently execute a skill is their C2Q (Confidence-Consistency Quotient).
Let's examine why:
Let's consider that you have a limited bandwidth of mental resources. Performing a skill such as the Crossunder, if you have a low C2Q, your mental resources will be focused on performing the skill. If you have a high C2Q, you have more mental resources available to think at a higher level. For example reading your teammates and reading your opponents.
You might say that with a higher C2Q, you have less "between" you and the game.
You might visualize what is between you and the game like this:
If you look at how C2Q interacts with the Rare-Valuable Skill Matrix, you'd see that some players have a high C2Q with Common and Not-Valuable Skills. In this situation, a player would have a sense of confidence in their skills that are of no value. When a player is confident in their skills that are not valuable, it looks like a "Confidence Problem". So motivational, pump up, feel-good talks seem to be the solution. But it doesn't actually solve anything because the player cannot perform the skills that would make them valuable in a game. This is due to the miscategorization of the player's skill value.
Players who have a high C2Q in rare and valuable skills will have the appearance of more confidence in a game. When they find themselves in situations that demand the skill, they don't have anything "between" themselves and performing the skill. So they don't need to devote any mental resources to performing the skill, and can think at a higher tactical and strategic level, assessing their environment more completely.
This is good news for the forward-thinking player, parent and coach.
Most of the hockey world is practicing common and valuable/not-valuable skills. And then the players with the natural propensity for the rare and valuable skills end up rising to the top.
Assuming you want to be a valuable player, your opportunity is to learn rare and valuable skills. You'd then want to increase your ability to consistently execute those rare and valuable skills.
To outsiders, it will look like your confidence has risen. In reality, you've improved your C2Q on a specific quadrant of the skill rare/value matrix.
P.S. If you'd like to spend time working on the skills in the rare-valuable quadrant, you might want to check out this free coaching session that I've prepared for you.