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Posted by on in Alexander

CONSISTENCY: free from variation or contradiction (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

In the world of goaltending, consistency is something that every coach wants & expects from his/her goaltender. 

Why? Because coaches know that for most every game, they will be able to count on the goaltender to deliver a solid, but not necessarily spectacular, performance.

So, let's look at how your consistency can affect your team.  When your play is consistent:

-       your team will play with more confidence knowing what they can expect from you game in and game out

-       you will be showing positive on-ice leadership quality and, at the same time, earning your team's trust

-       it gives everyone that extra layer of security so they can play their game without doubt, knowing that you are going to handle your end and that you are reliable and dependable  

As a goaltender, what you don’t need for consistency is:

-       to feel the need to be flashy or super aggressive

-       to play a perfect game

-       to play your best game every time you step on the ice.  (I am sure you would like to, but that seldom happens)

-       not make any mistakes

-       making sure you keep your stats up

But, what you must do as often as possible is:

-       minimize the number of mistakes you make

-       play at the same emotional & energy level game in and game out

-       keep the "lights out one day, play below average the next" performances to a minimum

 I understand the difficulty in this, because for some games you may be excited and ready to go and other times, you’ll feel tired, out of sorts, distracted or genuinely nervous (not just butterflies)

So, how do we develop consistency on ice? It all starts the effort (battle level) we put into each game and our pre-game preparation.  And, to some degree, the consistent habits we develop when we are away from the rink such as following a regular off ice training program and developing sound nutritional, rest & sleep habits.

It is tuning into the mental game and learning to relax and letting the game “happen”. And how can we best do that? By following a repeated, pre-game routine that includes both the mental & physical & which instills confidence in our abilities and narrows our focus to the upcoming game.

So, what are you waiting for!  Find, develop, research, ask, watch, experiment until you find the pre-game routine that works best for you and.........................

FOLLOW IT EVERY GAME!

 

424 03/05/20

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Posted by on in Alexander

Confidence!  It is a corner stone on which successful goaltending is built.

 

Confidence inspires you to play at a top of your game; playing at the top of your game inspires confidence.  The question is, which comes first?  Perhaps it is a bit of both.  But, make no mistake, self-confidence is crucial to performing at your highest level.


If you are confident, you'll be better able to handle difficult situations - those times during competition when things go wrong.  Your demeanour both on and off the ice will reflect that confidence and your attitude will be "play to win" and not a "try not to lose" mentality, which will influence your team mates & inspire confidence in them as well.

 

On the other hand, when you aren't confident, you'll struggle with mistakes, likely become frustrated and play too cautiously.  You become tense, your movements are no longer smooth, you "fight" the puck, you create rebounds and overplay situations.

 

So, if we understand how important confidence is to our performance, why do we struggle with confidence issues from time to time, and more importantly, how do you acquire/maintain/regain confidence.

 

From our experience, confidence seems more evident when the goaltender focuses on his/her strong points (what are the things I do really well) and not their deficiencies or weaknesses.  There is no room for negativity if you are to perform at your best.  

Confident goaltenders concern themselves only with the things they can control (emotions, preparation, attitude, thoughts).  We also note that, generally, the more prepared the individual is, the more likely they are to play with confidence.

 

And, that leads us to one of the most important elements that will affect confidence - PREPARATION.  We've talked about pre-game preparation many times before & we are firm believers that the better prepared physically and mentally (and especially mentally) you are to play, the more likely you will play with confidence.  There is something about routine and familiarity that gives us a feeling of comfort and preparedness.  So, doing all those "good things" which motivated athletes do away from the rink plus a positive pre-competition routine will start you off on the confidence route.

 

If you noticed, all the things we mentioned in the previous paragraph are controllable by the goaltender.  As a starting point,

1. make a list of what you can or can't control

2. don't worry about what you can't control.

 

Remember, there definitely will be ups & downs in your game and it is natural that you will struggle with confidence at times.  The secret is to understand that it will happen, and to believe in yourself and that what you are doing will bring positive results over the long run.  

Understand what got you to where you are today (hard work, motivation, dedication, on & off ice training, good personal choices).  Understand, as well, that your skills don't just "suddenly" leave you.  They don't say "that's it, I'm done" and go away.  More likely, you are hi-jacking your skills with negativity.  Our experience is that, goaltenders get into trouble with confidence when they start thinking the game, thinking about their mistakes or their team mates mistakes, the referee, missed opportunities, what their team mates think, what the coach thinks, what the fans think....the better able you can control that "little voice" inside your head the more likely you will play with confidence. 

No one can "give" you confidence and no one can take it from you.  Your confidence (or lack of) is in your hands (or, more exactly, in your head)  Understand the things (negative thoughts, unmet expectations, mistakes etc) that affect your confidence level and focus on replacing those thoughts (the little voice inside your head) with the notion that you can get through this because you are doing all the "right things" and that this is just one small bump in the road in your journey to becoming the best goaltender you can be.


Confidence is preparation.  Everything else is beyond your control. - Richard Kline

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Posted by on in Alexander

 Prepare for the opposition

  1.  Through your own experience, by viewing video or by viewing statistics determine players to watch on the opposing team (this prepares you to deal with the better players on the opposing team because you know who they are and their tendencies.  Usually the better” players are the betterplayers game in and game out.   (this will also prepare you for shootout situations)

 2.  Again through your own experience, by viewing video or discussion with your head or assistance coaches, determine the type of game offense this team usually plays or the combinations you will most likely see (this prepares you to formulate a plan for your reaction to most of opposition zone entries & power play, plus how you will need to communicate with your defense for a stretch pass, wide rim, dump & chase or beat the “D” and net drive situations etc.)

 3.  Similarly, you should make yourself aware of the opposition tendencies once they penetrate the defensive zone on 5 on 5, 5 on 4, or 5 on 3 situations (thiwill allow you to develop a game plan for reaction to each of these pressure situations so you improve your chances for success)

Reminders
 
Pick one or two self-reminds to take with you into the game.  Here is a quick list of some self-reminders you might use:

- track every puck into and away from your body, gear, stick etc.
- focus on getting into position quickly on passes
- re-position quickly on rebounds
- set my feet before every shot
- fight to find pucks in traffic
- be patient
- be under control (physically & emotionally)
- help my “D” by communicating with them
- get out & handle all pucks that are near the net
- battle for every puck
BREATH

Physical Warm-up (typical)

Pre-ice

1.  Dynamic stretch / warm-up (10 – 15 minutes)
2.  Technical movements include quickness and agility exercises with tennis balls or “reaction” balls either alone or with your goaltending partner.  (10 minutes)
3.  Static Stretch (5 minutes)

On-ice

For the first couple of minutes – movement drills (saves & crease movements, slides – do outside the crease) then team warm up (discuss with your coach & team mates the most effective warm up for you)

Focus on the process of the warm up and not whether a shot goes by you and into the net.  IT IS A WARM UP ONLY TO PREPARE YOU TO PLAY. 

IN GAME - BE ACCOUNTABLE

 

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