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The Ducks: BEARD Hockey Road Warriors

The Anaheim Ducks have become Road Warriors this season with an outstanding record of 9-3-0, and other BEARD Hockey teams have started to wonder why.

For the Mighty Ducks, the answer is simple. GM Michael Stafford has hired sports psychologist extraordinaire Dr. Alan Goldberg.

Dr. Goldberg is a nationally known expert in the field of applied sports psychology. He is the director of Competitive Advantage, all Amherst, Massachusetts-based consulting firm that works with coaches, athletes, and teams at every performance level.

The home-field advantage in sports can be a big psychological hurdle for visiting teams to overcome, but not such a big deal for athletes and teams that are mentally tough. Without question, home teams do hold a statistical advantage over visiting teams when it comes to on-field success.

For this reason, sport psychologists often ask why do home teams generally win more, and even more importantly, how can a visiting team level the playing field and play with better mental toughness?

"When it comes to the 'home-field advantage', there are two main reasons why home teams are generally more successful than visiting teams," says Dr. Goldberg. “The home crowd is generally very passionate for their team, and often manifest their energy into a slew of signs, chants, cheers, and various other signs of support that energize the home team.

"Secondly, home teams are very comfortable in their own surroundings, whether it’s a familiar locker room, playing field, or simply having a better feel for the logistics related to getting around the venue.”

Because of Dr. Goldberg, the Ducks remind themselves that the game doesn’t change because they on another team’s ice and that crowd energy, even hostile crowd energy, can be perceived as a challenge just as easily as can be perceived a terrifying threat.

Hard hitting Cal Clutterbuck adds his thoughts to that sentiment.

“While it may not be easy to win on the road, it is possible — especially when you think about how to use crowd energy in positive ways and normalize sport surroundings," said Clutterbuck. "We just play our game and are fearless on road trips.”

Just like a pair of former Road Warriors.

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