Dealing With Pressure: The Czech Republic Story.

Dealing With Pressure: The Czech Republic Story.

Submitted by Elizabeth Etue on Mon, 04/08/2013 - 11:22 in 2013 World Championship, Events

The CR are new to this top level of world championship competition for the 2013 games. They won the Division 1 World Championship last year to qualify for 2013 World Championshp.

Czech Republic vs. Sweden
Sat April 6th 2013 Relegation Round

Captain Alena Polenska's blog on the game:

The second game against Sweden was much more difficult for us than the first one. There were several reasons for that. One of them was our attitude. The first game against Sweden was in a way a bit easier. We knew we were the underdogs of the tournament and not much was expected from us. Thus, we could only surprise, and so we did.

However, the second game was much more difficult, especially as far as mental preparation goes. The day before we lost to Germany and missed the quarterfinals. It was hard for us to stand back up after a tough loss to Germany but we knew we had to find the strength within us to fight again.

Our teammates we discussed different options of how to get the team ready for the next game. We were trying to find a way how to bring up the team mood, and how to find a way to come together for few more games after the disappointment of the last two losses.  The decision was to remember why we started playing hockey, and why do we still play despite the fact that we do not gain anything from it except some injuries and lots of bruises. The most important thing is the pure joy of playing the game of hockey with great teammates.

Thus, before our off ice warm up, we sat down as a team and asked everyone to close their eyes and remember the day they started playing hockey. For some of us it was longer ago than for others (haha). We tried to remember the days of our first steps on the ice, first games. Also, we remembered how we stuck to hockey when things were hard. We asked everyone to think about why did they not give up on hockey?! And the answers were not spoken out loud but every one of us answered in her head. Despite of the hard conditions many of us have experienced on and off the ice, we all stuck with hockey because we love it! We were hoping that shifting the focus away from the pressure and stress, the need to win, will help us to ease up a bit and enjoy the game.

We still knew that we needed to win, and there was no doubt about it but we didn’t want to be tied up by the pressure. After this small visualizing activity, we conducted one more team activity, in which each player reminded herself or her teammates what makes her or them succeed in hockey.

Thus, we were mentally ready for the game. Although, Sweden was able to get the first goal, we did not give up and kept fighting back. We (Editor’s note: Polenska scored the goal) were able to get that one goal to tie up the game. The overtime did not start ideally for us; Sweden quickly put pressure in the first seconds of the overtime. There was a controversial situation, when Sweden asked for video referee; however, the referee said it was no goal.

We picked it up after that, and the energy was high on both sides. Players were fighting to get the goal but also playing responsibly in order not to give up any. We could have ended the game when we had a two-man advantage towards the end of the five-minute overtime but we did not shoot enough.

So the game had to be decided in the shootout, the last Swedish player pulled some fancy moves to end the game in their favor.

Sweden 2 Czech Republic 1 in Shoot Out.

 

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