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What We Learn From Goaltending

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What We Learn From Goaltending

Hockey is more than wins, losses, and statistics. There are many positive values that can be developed through participation in athletics. I believe goaltending can help a young male or female to mature emotionally. There are more pressures from other people's expectations to perform well and there is a responsibility to be the team's defensive backbone. How a young person handles this responsibility can determine how they handle day to day pressure in the real world. Let's examine some goaltending attributes that transcend sports.

I. HANDLING ADVERSITY

You've given up two goals on your first two shots. Your teammates are looking at you and shaking their heads. The fans are laughing at you and making fun of you, your mother, and your ability. Imagine if you made a mathematical mistake at the office and your co-workers reacted similarly. If a goalie can maintain a sense of self-worth during a bad game, he or she can handle real life. For every hour of success , a goalie has probably endured countless hours of setbacks.

II. HUMILITY

Good goalies do not look humble during games and should be downright cocky. Humility comes from the reality of athletic performance. Goalies know that they may earn a shutout one night and get yanked the next. Seasons have peaks and valleys so goalies learn not to get conceited when things are going well or get depressed over a bad game. Mature goalies strive to be consistent and savor the good times. A goalie's success is related to the team playing in front of him or her. A goalie is valuable, but is still part of the team philosophy.

II. WORK ETHIC

The world doesn't owe any of us a favor. Goalies can't just show up and play well without proper preparation. The best goalies use practices to challenge themselves and push their athletic skills to the limits. Goalies can appreciate their good moments more as they reflect on the hard work that got them there. There is no goaltending lottery that gives the winner Vezina Trophy skills. Hard working, dedicated goalies pass by their lazy counterparts.

IV. SENSE OF HUMOR

How can anyone go through life without a sense of humor? Humor helps us through sad times. One cannot be a goaltender without a sense of humor. Goalies have a reputation to live down to since we are supposed to be weird and flaky. Outrageous behavior, silly pranks and one-liners divert our attention from the tasks at hand. Life is too short for us not to have some laughs along the way. After a bad game, the goalie needs to pick himself up and sarcastic humor usually leads the way.

V. DISCIPLINE

We all need to be wild and crazy now and then, but an irresponsible goalie who stays up late, eats the wrong things, neglects school work and is tardy for practice will have an awfully tough time being successful. Goalies must be organized and dedicated to climb the hockey ladder. Learning discipline is an important step in the maturation process of any individual. Future employers demand it and goaltenders gain an early step on the value of being disciplines and determined to reach one's potential.

VI. FOCUS

A goalie's ability to block out distractions and concentrate on the game is key. Think about all the people you may know that can't finish what they start. Goalies must stay focused or run the risk of failure which is dramatized by the infamous red light. Goalies tend to follow similar routines on game days so they can concentrate on their job. If goalies apply the same philosophy to their homework or future job, they can ignore tempting diversion and be successful.

VII. LEADERSHIP

Goalies are the barometers of their teams. If the goalie folds under pressure so will the team. The goalie's leadership potential is unquestionable. He or she must pump up the team by exuding confidence. They must be a locker room and on-ice presence. A goalie's behavior is observed by many and if the image is a negative one, the team will be in for some rocky times. Most goalies thrive on leadership roles and relish the thought of carrying the team to greater heights.

VIII. RESPONSIBILITY

Like it or not, the goalie gets blamed for losses and rarely gets credit for wins. Goalies will be chewed out by coaches, receive abuse from fans and be taken for granted by teammates. Goalies should know that the negatives go with the territory and to keep all comments, whether positive or negative, in perspective. Mature goalies are not chronic whiners and complainers. They hold their head up high, win or lose, and accept responsibility for their actions.

As you many now surmise, goaltending teaches us useful skills that are applicable to life beyond the hockey rinks. Goalies are special people. When goalies meet goalies, they become fast friends. Only goalies know first hand the trials and tribulations of donning the tools of ignorance. Instead of being quick to make fun of goaltenders, take the time to consider the person behind the myth.

This article was contributed by Fred Quistgard of Quistgard Goalie Training.

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