Attitude is everything
There is a lot in goaltending that is out of our control. We can’t control when shots are taken, what team you get traded to or our game schedule. The one thing we can always control however is our attitude. If you can keep a great attitude day in and day out, you’ll give yourself the best chance to succeed.
Roller Coaster of Emotion
When it comes to games goaltending becomes a mental and emotional. It’s like a rollercoaster, you’re going to have your highs and your lows going up and down and up and… well you get it. During these times we as goalies need to control our attitude, especially after the toughest times whether it follows your reaction after a goal or loss. How you respond to giving up a goal or a loss speaks volumes about you as a goaltender. It’s easy to read goalies and what there mindset is. If they’re slamming their stick, screaming at their teammates during a game, its pretty easy to tell they’re frustrated and moments like those can take us off our game.
Take a Breath & Refocus
We all make mistakes, that’s part of the game. Face the facts, we can’t stop everything so be realistic when evaluating performance. There is too much that is out of our control but our attitude is what we can control. We can control our reaction after we give up a goal. Take a look at some of the NHLs best after they get scored on. Some just take a squirt of water. Others do a little skate. Whatever it is, use that time to quickly take a breath and collect yourself because they’re not going to stop the game for you to calm down. As goaltenders we need to have a very short term memory. In the midst of a game if we let ourselves get frustrated and stuck on one goal we gave up it can throw our whole game off. Luckily for us, this day in age, we can see video of most of our games. After the game, self-reflecting, then we can go back and study our mistakes. That’s what practice is for. Games are for competition and simply just playing. We need to control our emotions by controlling our attitude.
Control the Controllables
When it comes to game time, as it was said above, focus on what you can control. If something happens at the other end of the rink that gets you fired up, find a way to refocus and get ready for the next shot. The same thing goes if you get scored on or if there is a distraction in the stands between whistles. Things that you can control are your work ethic, attitude, perception, and focusing on the task at hand. As soon as you look up at the shot counter and start doing the math for your goals against average and save percentage for the game, things can head south from there pretty quick.
To summarize, in order to keep emotions in check during a game, find a way to bring your mind back to the task. Take a deep breath, refocus and ultimately know that if you focus on the process and not the outcome, things get easier. Taking the right steps to reach your desired outcome is what gets you to the outcome.