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Expectations & Reality

Posted by on in Alexander
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I am sure every one of us who has a goaltender son/daughter has given thought at one time or another to the potential for them to have a legitimate shot at playing beyond youth/minor hockey perhaps at Junior A, Major Junior, Prep School, University or the Professional level.

And, the dream is exactly that for most every goaltender.

The unfortunate part is that, for the majority of us, at some point, those expectations meet the realities of the situation and it becomes evident that it might not happen. So parents & coaches need to become proactive in their approach.  Certainly, it is not the time to dash anyone's hopes and a well thought out plan of encouragement can keep everything on a positive note.  

Here are a few thoughts as to how to approach a situation like this.

I think, whether a coach or parent, the first thing you need to be is HONEST.   

For the goaltending coach, you need to explain where the goaltender's skill development level is presently and then, where exactly it needs to be if the goaltender is to move forward along the path to their goal.  The conversation about what "needs" to be done is an absolute necessity.  From there the ball is really in the athlete's court.
They must provide the effort and motivation and hard work with coach & parents providing direction and support.

In any event, everyone need to understand how steep the climb is to the top. The numbers who "make it" are extremely small by comparison to those who start out. The hockey pyramid is very wide at the bottom, but becomes so much smaller as it nears the top.  Hockey is now a global sport and once you leave Minor or Youth hockey, competition for spots on high level teams could come from almost any corner of the planet. 

Here, as well, I say to parent and goaltender go and see games at the next level and above where your son/daughter presently plays.  Sit at the side of the rink as close to the boards as you can.  There you are going to get a sense of the speed of the game and how quickly the puck moves, how hard the players shoot, how skilled they are at executing fakes, how quickly goaltenders react and able to read situations and on and on.  If you do, I think you will find it is a real eye-opener.

At any rate, it should point out the level the goaltender needs to be and just how big a gap there is between where they are skill wise and where they want to be.  Hopefully this will be the motivation factor that spurs them on.

And, finally, I point out, it is not always about skill, and that a positive attitude, work ethic, competitiveness, being coachable and a good team player are all attributes that are meaningful to coaches at every level.  

Many times it is the goaltender who possesses these 
intangibles who will improve more rapidly and can make the move up to the next level. 

There is never a good reason, no matter what, to not try to be the best goaltender you can possibly be, at whatever level you play.

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Guest Sunday, 17 November 2019