Mind
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Mind games – how hockey players get ready for the big game

Members of Team Slovenia share their methods of game preparation.

(World Hockey Championships, Halifax).

Anze Kopitar

photos_thumb_01_32_anze.jpgAnze Kopitar is one of the top young players in the NHL today. He also happens to be the first Slovenian to ever play in the NHL and lead the L.A. Kings in scoring this year with 32 goals and 77 points. His methods may surprise you.

optimyz: How do you prepare mentally for a game?
Kopitar: I just try to stay calm and play a little soccer before the game. We throw a little fun in there. I don’t do anything special to prepare mentally.

optimyz: Do you prepare for every game the same way?
Kopitar: Yeah, there’s a ritual with every guy.

optimyz: Have you always followed this routine?
Kopitar: I would say I have for the past three to four years. It’s been working pretty well and I get a little massage in before the game every once in a while as well.

Tomaz Razingar

photos_thumb_01_32_tomas.jpgTomaz Razingar is one of the assistant captains of Team Slovenia. The 6’1, 209 pound left winger plays with HC TWK Innsbruck in the Austrian Erste Bank Hockey League, the top league in Austria.

optimyz: How do you prepare for the game mentally?
Razingar: I just try to cool down and spend time with the physiotherapist. I like to joke around with them, maybe do a little stretch, and get on the bike for 5 to 10 minutes.

optimyz: Do you prepare for all games the same way?
Razingar: Yes, it’s the same routine. You have breakfast, go to practice, have lunch, and then I go to bed for 45 minutes. Two hours before the game, I have a drink and then I go to physio. You put your gear on at the same time, usually 20 minutes before the warm-up. Most of the players are doing pretty much the same.

optimyz: So whether it’s the regular season, the play-offs, or the World Hockey Championships, it’s the same procedure?
Razingar: It’s the same procedure. You just know that whenever you come to the World Championships, everything’s a little faster.

Marcel Rodman

photos_thumb_01_32_marcel.jpgMarcel Rodman was a ninth round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in the 2001 NHL entry draft. He is the captain of Team Slovenia. The 6’1, 187 pound right winger plays with the Vienna Capitals in the Austria Erste Bank Hockey League.

optimyz: How do you prepare for the game mentally?
Rodman: Before the game, I always like to have a power nap. Once I get to the rink, which is about two hours before the game, I do lots of stretching and lots of concentrating about what I have to do on the ice, kind of visualize what I need to do on the ice to help the team.

optimyz: Do you prepare for every game the same way?
Rodman: I try to keep it the same because I’m a little superstitious. One thing I do and it has nothing to do with the preparation, is I always put the left skate on before the right. It’s just something that I believe or I think will bring me luck, so I like to keep it the same.

optimyz: Have you always prepared that way?
Rodman: It was different when I was in pee wee and when I got to the game, I just played the game. But once I got to junior, I got a little more serious. It’s been about ten years or so since I started preparing this way.

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