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GOALTENDING....Why Attitude is Everything

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GOALTENDING....Why Attitude is Everything

We have all heard the old cliché that "goaltending is 90% mental". Most people accept that statement at face value and rarely put much thought into what makes up a strong mental game. As with life, you get back what you put into your goaltending. Let's look at some seemingly innocent things that drastically affect the big picture.

1. PRACTICE LIKE YOU WANT TO PLAY IN A GAME

I know, I know, you work hard all the time. Everyone says that, but few rarely do it on a regular basis. Many goalies have their best practices the day before a game because they think that's when the coach makes the decision as to who gets the start. Do you think he forgets that you showed no effort and played like a sieve at all the other practices? You make your teammates better by being desperate to stop pucks. It's not realistic that you'll stop everything, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.

2. STOP RATIONALIZING

The more you make excuses for yourself, the more they become ingrained in your personality. Instead of taking responsibility for your actions, you look for excuses as to why it wasn't your fault. The more you do this, the harder it becomes to define reality. Pretty soon, you blissfully move around in your fantasy world where you are perfect and everyone else is wrong. Unfortunately for you, your teammates and coaches see right through you and lose respect for you. If you don't have the respect for your teammates and coaches, how do you expect to get anything accomplished.

3. BE FIRST ON THE ICE AND THE LAST ONE OFF

Perception is everything. Excitement about practicing or playing is contagious and it spreads to the rest of the team. If you exude a fun personality, everyone else works as hard as you. If practice is drudgery, you don't get anything out of it and the team's work ethic is negatively affected. Everyone plays better when they're having fun.

4. LET YOUR BODY LANGUAGE DO THE TALKING

First impressions make a strong statement about who you are. How you move, act, and react during a pre-game warm-up, games, or practice affects everyone around you. Do you move around confidently as though you expect to stop every shot or do you appear timid. When a goal goes in, do you slump your shoulders or throw a temper tantrum? A calm approach will settle your team down and cause concern to the other team because you weren't rattled by the goal. Have someone videotape you at practice and a game and watch your body language. Ask teammates and coaches about how they view your presence. Confident on-ice presence is a vastly under-rated skill that all goalies should excel at.

5.DON'T FORGET TO DO THE "LITTLE THINGS"

When the goalies play well, they pay attention to the "little tasks" that often get taken for granted. When slumps occur, goalies put all their stress and energy into worrying about being scored on instead of just going about the business of executing the basics. What are those important "little things? They include : always attacking the angle controlling rebounds, communicating with the defense stopping the puck behind the net, and reading the other team's offensive plays. When these "little things" fall apart so does your performance.

6. ACCEPT CRITICISM AND FAILURE

You may not always agree with what coaches, teammates, fans, or parents say to you, but listen to the message. There may be valuable information included in the criticism. Use failure as a learning tool so you don' repeat the same mistakes. You will probably learn more from a 5-2 loss then you will in a 10-0 shutout. Always maintain a confident self-image, but don' be afraid of learning from mistakes. You will become much better if you meet your weaknesses head on.

7. DARE TO BE SCORED UPON

Many goalies today wear top of the line equipment and look like they should be able to be good. Wearing the latest equipment won't stop the puck for you. You must find shooters to best you by challenging them. Savor the one on one battle that occurs many times each game. Don't be afraid of the shooters because if they sense fear, they will be all over you. Don't play passively. Force the shooters to do what you want them to do. Instill fear in them and watch all the stupid mistakes they will make with the puck.

This article was contributed by Fred Quistgard of Quistgard Goalie Training

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