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Benched! How to handle being benched.

It happens to everyone at one time or another in their goaltending career - we get benched.

It happens at all levels of play; it happens to the pros.  In the case of the pros, it can sometimes have long lasting career effect. At most other levels, though, it is just a temporary situation.

Whatever. It is not pleasant.  Perhaps you aren't even having a bad game. Or, maybe you are.  Fighting the puck or playing in an uncharacteristic manner.  Maybe the coach just wants to "shake things up". Hopefully that is the reason. But even if it is, it's a shock. It's embarrassing! Fans & parents are looking on, not to mention your teammates

And, then the thoughts start going through our mind: why? It was just one goal & it went off my defenseman's stick (of course coach didn't notice that); the whole team is playing badly, why signal me out? I could have played through that rough spot, I just needed a few more minutes to get my game together. Am I going to get my next regular start? What are my teammates thinking?

And then the frustration and even anger can kick in.  It's difficult to keep your mind in the game, and perhaps you really don't feel like cheering on your team or for that matter, your playing partner.

Hopefully, this is nothing to do with you personally, but, whatever the reason, you really can't change it.  Once done it is done.  You can either move on & stay prepared (in case you need to go back in the net) or sit there with your negative thoughts & emotions which really doesn't do anyone, including you, any good.

The best approach, & only productive one, is to take it as a learning experience: an opportunity to study players or the opposition goaltender.  And, maybe there, see some things you could incorporate into or add to your game.  Or, is there something in your game you need to improve so this doesn't happen again.  

One thing for sure, being benched will test your mental toughness.  But, with the right ATTITUDE, you'll come away a stronger more resilient goaltender who can deal more readily with the pressures of the game & the ups and downs of goaltending in a positive manner.

Perhaps one piece of advice to leave you with is to be prepared to be benched.  It will happen! And, sometimes it just comes right out of left field without any warning.  So, think about it before it does.  Try to set in your mind what you will do; what your reaction will be and how you can turn it into a positive.

No matter what the circumstances, be supportive of your teammates.  Sooner or later, you will need their support.

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