Slauenwhite with Team Canada
“Only in Canada, you say…. ” was a memorable line used in a commercial to help market and sell tea. The saying also helps to describe our country’s insatiable love of the game of hockey.
Regardless of the season, we can’t get enough of it.
This past summer Jackson Slauenwhite of New Haven got to enjoy a special summertime hockey journey when he was named as a Mental Performance Consultant with the Canadian National Women’s Hockey Development Team during the selection camps for the development team as well as Canada’s Women’s Under-18 team.
“Tara Costello, who is helping me work towards my certification as a qualified mental performance consultant with the Canadian Sport Psychology Association, suggested I apply for the position in June. I did that and I was contacted in July and invited to the camp in Calgary from August 1-12th when the team was selected,” he said.
“I had never been at something quite that level before. In the first two days, I had about 20 minutes of free time. Everyday was 7am to 11pm. It was day after day of high pressure and very stressful and intense” he said.
Hockey tryouts are pressure filled at any age, but as Slauenwhite experienced, the pressure is on a whole other level when it’s a tryout for a national hockey team.
“We worked on some educational sessions as a group covering the challenges that elite athletes face, such as anxiety. What it is and how to best respond to it. We also did individual sessions. Discussing things like, how is camp going? What are you focusing on? How are you doing reaching those goals? How can you change?”
As the camp went on, the camp took its toll on not only the players but those closely involved with the players in the entire program.
“Some of the players had been there before, and this is their dream and it is heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking in a way, because you know they are working hard trying their best but are likely not going to make it.
”Once the selection camp was over there were some meetings then he returned to PEI. The team will have another consultant moving forward as Jackson once again will work with the Charlottetown Islanders this season.
“Hockey Canada said they will contact me again and stay in touch, so it is a wait and see approach for me and I hope that I get invited to another camp. I had a chance to meet some great people and to work with some amazing talent. It is great to get that first step in the door.” he added.
Slauenwhite, who graduated from UPEI in 2015 with a BA in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology and Coaching at Western in 2017, became interested in the mental training aspect of sport when he was 13.“I choked at my first national competition in skiing. I nearly quit the sport, but decided to figure out what went wrong so that I could never have that happen to me again. I did some research and eventually found sport psychology, which turned my athletic career around. I started studying sport psych on my own then and have been going strong with it ever since.
”While studying his undergrad degree at UPEI, he attended a mental training and sport psychology discussion about sports success put on by Costello and Olympic gold medalist Eli MacEachern. “ I had already realized what I wanted to focus on in my studies and career and then meeting Tara I realized that there was someone on PEI who could be a mentor for me.
”Jackson stayed in touch with Costello and after completing his masters returned to the province. “I wanted to continue to learn in an environment where I was familiar with people who would be able to enhance their performance through mental skills training,and PEI is the perfect place.” he said.
For more information on qualified mental performance consulting visit https://www.cspa-acps.com/
Written by Alfred Blanchard -30-