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Posted by on in Alexander
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It happens to all of us at one time or another in our goaltending career - we get benched.

I've been there when I was actively playing competitively, you've been there; it happens to the pros.

It's not a pleasant situation. Perhaps you aren't even having a bad game. Maybe the
coach just wants to "shake things up".  Hopefully that is the reason, but even if it is, it's a shock.  And, it's embarrassing!  Fans & parents are looking on, not to mention your team mates.

And, then the thoughts start going through our mind: why? It was just one goal and it went off my defenseman's stick (of course coach didn't notice that); the whole team is playing badly, why signal me out? Am I going to get my next regular start? What are my team mates 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.

Understand this is nothing to do with you personally and whatever the reason, you really can't change it.  Once done it is done.  You can either move on and stay prepared in the event you are called upon to go back in the net or sit there with your negative thoughts and emotions which really doesn't do anyone, including you, any good.

The best approach, and 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 my game I need to improve so this doesn't happen again.  

One thing for sure, being benched will definitely 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 and 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 will turn it into a positive.

And no matter what the circumstances, be supportive of your team mates.  At some point sooner or later, you will need their support.

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Guest Monday, 09 December 2019