ALLEN, TX – As I was watching the Super Bowl last night and witnessing the amazing comeback by the New England Patriots I was reminded of a recent conversation I had with Steve Martinson concerning the mental aspects of playing sports. If you are the quarterback of a football team or goalie on a hockey team, confidence and body language can be the difference between success and failure. Tom Brady is 39 years old so what sets him apart is not his physical gifts. What sets Brady apart is when you look him in the eyes in the huddle you know he believes no matter what the odds the team will get the job done. It is not a facade, it is a true belief that if you follow me we can overcome a 28-3 deficit with 8:31 remaining in the third quarter.
– It is the same mentality that makes Riley Gill successful. His body language and confidence in the playoffs is seen by all of his teammates on the ice and in the locker room so when he says he will strap the team on his back nobody doubts that is exactly what will happen. That is why he has won three of the last four Kelly Cups.
– It is hard for young players to display this confidence and it is a learned ability as much as a natural one. If you watch Jamie Murray you can sometimes see him lose confidence on the ice by watching his body language. It is important to look and act confident. Body language sends a message to your opponents, your teammates and yourself. It is a skill to learn to rebound quickly from mistakes and not let mistakes turn into doubt. Letting go of the last play and focusing on the next is a key to success. Successful hockey players have learned how to perform with superior confidence on the ice. Working hard to sharpen skills in practice also includes being responsible for your level of confidence and working on the mental aspects of the game.
– You can read more on the mental aspect of sports from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe.
– The Americans resume practice today as they prepare for the last long road trip of the regular season. They will head to Rapid City later today for games on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The team will return to Allen after the game on Saturday.
– I get asked all of the time if there are any roster changes in the works and my answer is always the same that conversations take place constantly between coach Martinson and San Jose, with other teams and with player agents. Injuries also make for numerous roster changes. If you had a pat answer that said yes there will be roster changes this week you would be right 90% of the time.
– One statistic you don’t hear talked about a lot is team shooting percentage. Allen is ranked #4 in the ECHL having scored on 11.6% of their 1581 shots. The top three are Manchester (12.4%), Toledo (12.2%) and Reading (11.7%). The Americans 11.6% is higher than last season when they finished at 10.6% but lower than 2014-15 when the shooting percentage was 12.2%.
– I plan on doing an update at the end of the month to the story I published in December on the decline in attendance in the ECHL. The ECHL season is almost two-thirds complete and attendance is 3.8% below last season. That equals an average of 161 fewer fans per game for the 612 games played thus far. Allen is even further in the hole as they are 10.2% behind last season based on the first 24 home games. That equates to 477 fans per game less than last season.
DID YOU KNOW: When you look at individual shooting percentages it is often surprising because some players don’t take a lot of shots so it doesn’t equate to a lot of goals. Maybe the message is if you are at the top of this list you need to shoot more. Here are the top 10 Allen Americans in shooting percentage this season with the number of shots in parentheses:
26.1% – Zach Hall (23 shots)
20.0% – Dyson Stevenson (35 shots)
17.2% – Jake Marchment (64 shots)
16.8% – Bryan Moore (107 shots)
16.7% – Chad Costello (144 shots)
16.0% – Gary Steffes (81 shots)
15.0% – Spencer Asuchak (127 shots)
14.7% – Eric Roy (75 shots)
13.3% – Kale Kerbashian (15 shots)
12.6% – Greger Hanson (190 shots)