GOALTENDING: ATTAINING THE NEXT LEVEL
Many goaltenders believe that because they are standouts at the
level they play at, it will be easy to succeed at higher competition
levels. This is a false assumption. In today's society where people
figure that the world owes them a favor, many athletes feel that
because they "worked hard" they are entitled to playing time. Few
athletes are willing to make sacrifices for merely an opportunity to
try and succeed at the next level. Well folks, every goalie should
be working hard, but there still may be goalies out there who are
simply better. Having a good work ethic enables you to reach your
potential, but it still can't prevent a more talented goalie from
taking your job.
What should a goalie try to do to be in a position to take advantage
of opportunities that come his or her way? The best attribute a
goaltender can have in a coach's mind is consistent quality. At
elite levels, all goaltenders can stop the puck reasonably well.
However, it is the little things that a great goalie does that
differentiates himself from the mediocre masses. Does the goalie
accept being scored on too easily or does he find ways to prevent
the same situation from producing a goal? Does he try to keep
rebounds away from the opposition in practice or does he merely get
in the way of the puck and give a rebound little attention? Does the
goalie have more than one way to play the same scoring opportunity
or does he make the same move all the time? Does the goalie
communicate effectively with the defensemen or is he frightened by
the sound of his own voice? Do passes find their way through the
crease to open slot shooters?
Off the ice, is the goalie an athlete? Does he or she understand
what a serious weight training program for hockey is all about?
Hockey fitness training is totally different than other sports or
recreational activities. Does he have a well-balanced training
program that works and rests the muscle groups properly? Has the
goalie been tested for body fat? Is the goalie doing distance
running instead of sprint training that would create more explosive
leg power around the crease? Is the goalie training year-round or
only in the off-season?
Nutrition is important for elite athletes. You could drive a
Ferrari, but if you feed it watered-down gasoline, the car will get
the knocks. If a goalie's nutrition is solidly placed in junk food,
he or she will constantly lack energy. The extra pounds from a fatty
diet affect mobility around the crease. A proper diet high in
carbohydrates will provide long-term energy during workouts.
Solid nutrition combined with a good fitness program maximizes a
goalie's skills. Elite athletes know that if they are not in
condition for their particular sport by exercising in a specific
manner and eating correctly, their ability to perform at a higher
level is affected.
To be successful at the next level, you must be extremely focused.
When someone pays to see you play, they don't want to hear excuses
about your performance. If the coach doesn't understand you, you're
breaking in new equipment, you had a fight with a family member or
you're sick as a dog, NO ONE CARES! If Wayne Gretzky, has a poor
showing because he was sick, the fans don't care, they're mad they
wasted their hard earned money! At elite levels, no one wants
excuses! If you can't handle the pressure of people expecting you to
perform, don't expect to succeed at an elite level. The best goalies
avoid distractions that get in the way of the job at hand. Focus
equals concentration. If a goalie is easily distracted or has
excuses for everything, he will fail.
Attaining a high level of play is not easy and carries no
guarantees. You can work your butt off and still never make the big
time. Life is like that. However, when you don't take risks or face
failure eye to eye, your are not living life, but living a lie. You
will not be assured of being successful at all you do, but if you
don't try and take risks, you don't grow as a person. Never believe
your own press clippings. There are goalies you don't even know in
Portland, Maine, Chicago, Illinois, Miami, Florida, San Jose,
California, and Anchorage, Alaska that have the same aspirations as
you. What preparation you do to make yourself the best you can bet
will determine whether you can create an opportunity to beat out the
competition. How bad do you want it?
This article was contributed by
Fred Quistgard of Quistgard Goalie Training