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Successful Tryouts

Successful Tryouts


Within the next couple of days or maybe, even already, you will be heading off to one of the most stressful times of the hockey season. ..........try-outs.  But, it need not be, (except for the usual "butterflies") if you invest some time developing your own personal strategy.

First, you need to prepare for each ice session in the same fashion you would for any game.  Go through the same pre-game prep routine you always did during season.  As humans we all like things we are familiar with, so, by following the same pre-game routine & structure you always do, you will automatically feel more comfortable, at ease, & relaxed.


Secondly, in the heat of try-outs things are apt to go wrong (a puck hits your glove & trickles in; a puck goes in off a defenseman's skate; you lose your angle & goal is scored) What you need do is NOT dwell on these, especially your mistakes.  If you do, it will only magnify the problem and hurt your confidence.  The more you dwell on an error or mistake, the more you will play trying to avoid making more mistakes.

You will play your best, if you continue to play through those with the understanding that mistakes do happen.  It is human and all part of the game. Focus on the positives of your performance and don't be afraid to take risks.

Here are a few other thoughts for you to consider:

BE ON TIME - ALWAYS

- show you are motivated to make the team through hard work (give you best effort every game & practice)

- be enthusiastic & upbeat...a tryout is no place for negative talk (either self-talk or otherwise)

- don't be intimidated by others.  Make sure you get your share of shots, but don’t try to overdo it.
  You need to warm up as much as the next guy

- project a confident image...head up, shoulders square

- battle to stop every puck & never give up on a shot, “ANYTIME”; even in warmup

- watch the body language...throwing your hands up on a goal, snapping your stick against the post, shrugging your shoulders or glaring at your defensemen DOES NOT earn you "brownie" points with the coaches

- DO NOT shoot pucks or go into some elaborate skating drill while waiting for your turn to receive shots.  Simply, grab a knee and wait or move into a butterfly position & work on adjusting your upper body posture or hand/stick positioning until your turn comes up - relax

- listen more than you talk, especially in the dressing room

- o
n the ice, be a loud communicator of traffic and situations for your D and supporter of your team mates


- Be intense but under control
- DO NOT attempt to change your game from how you did things all season just because you're in a try-out
- the number of goals you give up is not as important as WHY THE PUCK WENT IN

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There is a message in the oddities of this year's NHL playoffs

Oddities of 2018 NHL Playoffs

This year's playoffs have been one for the ages.  With the conclusion of the semi-finals last night we've seen some real oddities.  Both losing goaltenders are Vezina trophy finalists.  Both were younger goaltenders (Andrei Vasilevskiy (limited playoff experience), Tampa & Connor Hellebuyck, (no playoff experience) Winnipeg.  But, both highly touted to take their respective teams through. And, both losing teams in the semi-finals (Winnipeg & Tampa) were likely picked by most to move on (and who would have predicted Las Vegas & Washington to be in the Stanley Cup finals). I am not going to comment here on the play of either goaltender or whether they were a factor in their team losing.

But, the lesson here is that things don't always work out as predicted or planned and that we, as goaltenders, should never lose sight of this.  Hockey is at best, unpredictable.  And, we need to be able to deal with it.  Many of the articles I have written throughout the past season have covered the uncertainty of the position and how we should approach it. Hopefully, you've all been able to gain some insights from those articles that you can use in your goaltending travels.

As an added point to the oddities of the game, after having no shutouts in the regular season and starting the playoffs as a BACKUP, Braden Holtby recorded back-to-back shutouts in do-or-die games to propel the Capitals into the Stanley Cup Final.  It shows we can never tell what the future will bring.  So just hold on to your dreams, work diligently & with motivation and never give up.
 
 
 
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Overthinking Your Game

You always perform at your best when your mind is calm and free of distractions.  A calm mind allows you to focus and react smoothly to what is happening around you.

The opposite of that of course is a mind filled with thoughts with one competing with one other for attention and giving off different signals.  That causes indecision.  So now, that low shot to the blocker side that you normally handle with ease becomes a challenge.  Should I angle the puck to the corner, try to stop and cover it or???? Your body becomes tight and your right arm (or left if you are left-handed) refuses to move at the same speed it normally does, the puck slips through and the red light flashes!

Generally, there are two major elements that cause indecisiveness.

I think a lot has to do with trying to do things perfectly (take it from a former perfectionist)  You put so much focus on the "how to" or the technical part of the action that you tend to neglect the fact that the outcome is what is really important......STOP THE PUCK!

Another cause might be thinking too far ahead.  You worry about the final score and forget to live and act in the moment.  So, throughout the game, your mind wanders to the outcome at the neglect of the present.

If you find this happening to you you might try these couple of tips to help you:

1. Don't second guess yourself....stick with your "A" plan. (generally your first thought is the best one)

2. Trust what got you to where you are.  Trust that all your training and hard work will see you through even though you might encounter rough patches.  Don't worry about being perfect. The minute you start questioning your abilities you are at a disadvantage. 

In the words of the Nike commercial...."JUST DO IT" 

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The "Most Important Season" - Part II

Much of the off-season focus should really be on the physical plus time (refer to our e-mail from last week) taken for technical development and improvement.  This will still leave you plenty of time to play golf, tennis, or some other sport as a non-competitive activity.

So, here is what a potential training period could look like.  The number of training days per week will be determined by the program/trainer.

May 1 to the middle of August if you are Professional, University or Junior
(approximately 16 weeks)
May 1 to the middle of August if you are Midget, High School, Bantam or Prep School
(approximately 12 weeks)
June 1 to the middle of August if you are younger
(approximately 10 weeks)

Among other things, here is a short list of some basic elements you need to key in on during "The Most Important Season".

 

Speed & Agility
Allows you to start & stop, change direction & shift momentum all while maintaining good balance

Leg & Lower Body Strength & Power
Gives you explosive starts, sharp stops, hard slides & pushes.  Allows for smooth transition from skates to pads & pads to skates and from side to slide in a lateral slide

Core Strength:
Gives you well developed abdominals, oblique & back muscles for smooth, quick, efficient movement in & around the net.  (Core muscles are first to contract when we initiate goaltending movements)

Quick Feet:
Allows for speed of foot movement in and around the crease for single or multiple directional changes or save sequences

Flexibility
Gives you the ability to initiate movement outside the normal range of motion; especially useful
in scramble situations or when caught out of position

High Fitness (Cardio) Level:
Gives you great anaerobic capacity and all-round conditioning

Hand/Eye Coordination & vision training:
Gives you the ability to co-ordinate limb movement to intercept the path of the puck effectively
on every shot

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The "Most important season"

For most of you, the 2017 – 18 hockey season will wind down over the next couple of weeks. Whatever else you do, make sure you take a little time to stop competing and relax. If you are a younger goaltender, you may choose to play “spring hockey” before shutting down while others will gravitate to another sport immediately after season.  However, whatever you chose to do make sure you play an alternative sport(s) during the off season. Try to pick a sport that will help you develop your overall athletic skills which, will, in turn help you to become a better goaltender.  (tennis, volleyball, soccer are among the better)  

But, if you play at a competitive or developmental level, you may also want to devote time this next month to plan your strategy for improvement throughout the summer with your parents or a trusted coach.  At this moment next season’s tryouts might be the furthest from your mind, but, trust me, they will be here before you know it.  So, prepare early and prepare well.

Here are our thoughts about the seasons of hockey:

In-season – regular season & playoffs
Post-season – recuperation/relaxation time (minimum of 1 month)

Off-season – between post & pre-season
Pre-season - training camps, tryouts etc.

Our view, however, is that the off-season really should be renamed "The Most Important Season"
 Why?  Because it can't be time "off", in the literal sense, if you play at a developmental/competitive in Minor Hockey or Junior or above. 


Here you have an opportunity to retool, refine and develop your physical tools, mental skills and, at the same time, make corrections to your on-ice game with goaltender specific training at a camp or clinics.  

Most definitely, you need to keep your skates on the ice a minimum number of times during "The Most Important Season".  But, don't associate playing "pick up hockey" with improving your game.  I can say the same for programs which are not goaltender specific.  Both might develop your compete level (or not) but do little to nothing to develop your technical skills.  And, for the most part both these expose you to many situations you will never find in a team game. Pick up hockey is strictly for FUN and a bit of socializing. 

If you are serious about your development, we strongly recommend you take part in an on ice weekly structured development program during June & July. Add a week long professional training camp and you have your goaltending on ice specific training covered off during those 2 months. That leaves you time prior to and after this training period to do other things (and maybe even play some pick-up hockey).

Approximately 2 months should be quite adequate for you to refine, develop new skills or make changes to your technical game 


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