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Coaching Drills: Communicating with your Coach

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Coaching Drills: Communicating with Your Coach
Relationship between head coaches and their goalies are often rocky, tempestuous ones filled with misunderstandings. Most coaches were not goaltenders and are afraid of ruining them by saying the wrong thing. This "hands-off" approach leaves goalies frustrated and causes the netminders to develop negative thinking. The following sample conversation between a fictional goalie and his coach may give you some ideas in starting a more honest relationship with your coach.
(G) Goalie: Coach do you mind if I speak to you for a few minutes?
(C) Coach: Not at all, come into my office and tell me what's on your mind, John.
G: I was wondering where I stand as far as playing time is concerned. In the pre-season, I was the starting goalie and then I had one bad game and Brian started seeing more games than me.
C: In pre-season I pegged you as the starting goalie to begin our year with. You played a couple of strong games, but you followed those games with sub-par performances against teams we should have beaten. I decided that since Brian had been looking sharp in practice, I'd give him a chance to show us what he could do. He has played well, so for the time being, I will split you both until one of you becomes more dominant.
G: The defense didn't play that well in front of me during those games so it wasn't all my fault.
C: We did have some breakdowns, but you also gave up early goals from center ice as well as several uncontrolled rebounds. When soft goals go in, the team lets down and becomes more worried about preventing shots on goal than going on the offensive. When the team begins to play tentatively because they are worried about our goalie, it's time to make a change.
G: So, because I had a couple of off days, I've lost my job for the season.
C: You are putting words in my mouth. I've been around the game long enough to know that goalies have their ups and downs and playing time must always be earned.
G: So, if I play as well as I was at the start of the season, I'll get more ice time.
C: That is a fair statement.
G: So, what exactly was I doing then that I'm not doing now?
C: Early on you were very aggressive on your angles. You weren't backing off with your weight on your heels. There was no hesitation moving into rebounds off of the initial save. Your body language showed an edge of cockiness like you were daring them to score. Now you are playing deeper in the crease and you look hesitant.
G: I didn't realize I was doing those things.
C: Goalies usually aren't aware that they are allowing bad habits to enter their game. I will try to alert you more often in practice if I see you backing in too much.
G: Could you set up drills which allow for more rebound play? The drills go too fast for me to play them as I would in a game.
C: That's a good observation and I'll try to design drills that reflect game situations.
G: You know, I'm glad I came to see you coach. I thought maybe that you liked Brian more than me.
C: I have to be objective, even if it hurts an individual because the team has to come first. I'm glad you came by. If you ever have any questions, you should know that I will be here to help you get some answers.
G: Thanks, Coach
The reason this meeting went well was due to the fact that both parties listened to each other. Both the coach and the goalie had RESPECT for each others' opinion and they worked through their misunderstandings.
This article was contributed by Fred Quistgard of Quistgard Goalie Training.


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