3 Tips for Managing Your Game
As a developing goaltender, managing your game is essential to your success on the ice. The ability to maintain a high level of consistency in goal requires a combination of skills and mindset. In this article, we will explore three of the most important skills and mindsets to have to achieve a high level of consistency in goal.
1. Focus and Mental Toughness
Focus and mental toughness are critical skills that a goaltender needs to have to succeed on the ice. Goaltenders need to be able to maintain focus and remain mentally tough for the duration of the game. They are the last line of defense, and staying level-headed and focused on the task at hand is crucial.
There are several ways to practice focus and mental toughness:
Meditation: Goaltenders can practice meditation to improve their ability to focus and remain calm under pressure. There are several meditation techniques that goaltenders can use to help them stay focused and reduce distractions.
Visualization: Visualization techniques can be helpful for goaltenders to maintain focus during the game. They can visualize themselves making saves and staying focused on the puck.
Breathing Exercises: Learning to control your breathing can help you stay calm and focused during the game. Goaltenders can practice breathing exercises to reduce stress and anxiety.
2. Skating and Positioning
Skating and positioning are two critical skills that every goaltender needs to master. The ability to move quickly and efficiently around the crease is essential to make saves and control rebounds. As a goaltender, it is essential to have good footwork, lateral movement, and the ability to move in and out of the butterfly position quickly.
There are several ways to practice skating and positioning:
Agility Drills: Agility drills can help goaltenders improve their footwork and lateral movement. Drills that involve moving side to side, shuffling, and changing direction can be particularly helpful.
Butterfly Slides: Practicing butterfly slides can help goaltenders move quickly in and out of the butterfly position. Goaltenders can practice sliding from post to post to improve their ability to move around the crease.
Positioning Drills: Positioning drills can help goaltenders improve their ability to read the play and anticipate where the puck is going to be. Goaltenders can practice positioning drills by having someone shoot pucks at them from different angles and distances.
3. Communication and Leadership
As the last line of defense, the goaltender is also a leader. Good communication with your defense and teammates is essential to keep everyone on the same page. The goaltender should be vocal, providing direction and encouragement to their teammates. The ability to communicate effectively can help prevent defensive breakdowns and keep the team organized.
There are several ways to practice communication and leadership:
Pre-Game Preparation: Pre-game preparation is an essential aspect of effective communication. Goaltenders can prepare for the game by reviewing the game plan with their defense and communicating their expectations.
In-Game Communication: In-game communication is essential to keep everyone on the same page. Goaltenders should be vocal, providing direction and encouragement to their teammates. Goaltenders can communicate with their defense by calling out the location of the puck and the position of opposing players.
Post-Game Review: Reviewing the game after it is over can be helpful in improving communication and leadership. Goaltenders can review the game with their defense and discuss what went well and what needs improvement.
In conclusion, managing your game as a developing goaltender requires a combination of skills and mindset. Mental toughness, skating and positioning, and communication and leadership are three of the most critical skills for any goaltender. The more you practice these skills, the easier it becomes to achieve a high level of consistency in goal. Remember to stay positive, remain focused, and continue to have fun.
Cred: Pasco Valana
Goaltending Coach / Consultant / Scoring Tendencies
Assistant Coach & Goalie Coach Canada University of British Columbia
Hockey Canada Coach and Member of the Goaltending Advisory Board
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