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How to Raise Your Goals Against Average

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By Fred Quistgard

By now you are looking at the title of this article and thinking, “Why would I want to RAISE my goals against average? Shouldn’t I be trying to LOWER it?” Well, yes, you would be correct in asking the question. However, based on my observations when it comes to working with the many goalies I come across each season it seems like many of you are making the game a lot harder on yourselves than it has to be. Many of you go about things the wrong way whether it’s how you practice or how you play. I thought I’d tackle some of the most common errors I see each week…..

1) Don’t Try Hard in Practice

I know…I know… You are that “special” goalie that is a “gamer”. You want to save your energy in practice so you can put on a show during games. Yeah, right… I hear this excuse every year. When it comes to goaltending, like the old saying goes, “You reap what you sow”. In other words, if you are screwing around in practice, not paying attention, goofing off with your teammates and not actually PRACTICING, how do you expect to get any better? I’m not saying that every waking moment you should be as serious as Abraham Lincoln, but a little focus goes a long way. Do you have personal goals for each drill? If not you are going through the motions and that will increase the opponents scoring opportunities when you play your games.

2) Have Temper Tantrums When Things Don’t Go Your Way

You just got beat 3 times to the top shelf on your glove side. Now you are going ballistic, swearing, banging your stick against the cross-bar and having a big ole’ temper tantrum. Keep it up! If you don’t face the facts as to WHY those pucks keep beating you on the glove side, those goals will keep pouring in. Goalies who have lower goals against averages may get mad for a moment, but then they make adjustments in their technique to see if playing that type of shot in a different manner will bring better results. But, if you want to keep fishing pucks out of your net, go right ahead and act like an idiot.

3) Glide Backwards on your Heels Before the Shooter is Anywhere Near the Goal

If you want to increase scoring chances for the other team, glide backwards into the crease early and often. By gliding backwards on your heels, you will open up lots of scoring and back-door passing lanes for the opposing shooters. That will allow them much better scoring chances. Oh, sometimes you will make an acrobatic save, but for the most part you will give up goals that would easily have been stopped had you held your ground or the shooting angle would have been so limited that the shooter would avoid taking the shot in the first place.

4) Be a Puck Receptacle

I know it’s a bother to pay attention to what’s happening in front of you if there it doesn’t look like a shot is coming any time soon. Who cares whether the puckcarrier is a left-shot or right shot? Who cares if the player in the slot is a lefty or righty? I know my D doesn’t see the player on the back door, but it’s not my job to tell him or her so why bother? I know I could have blocked that pass to the slot and prevented the goal..oh well. If you never pay attention to what is going on around you, goal scoring situations will increase because you don’t know what to do long before the shot is taken. If you are a “puck receptacle” ( a goalie who waits for an obvious shot to occur before getting ready), then you will give up goals on plays that should have been harmless had you read what was going on in front of you before the shot was actually taken. A little pre-shot prevention goes a long way, unless you like being scored on…..

5) Never Learn New Things

Goalies that don’t want to learn new skills as they get older get worse. Transitions occur at each new level because players are bigger, faster, smarter and more skilled. What worked in mites, will not work in high school. What worked last year will not guarantee success this season. What worked in the ‘90s may not work for your adult league in the 21st century. If you’re not open to refining and enhancing your game, you will stay the same old predictable you and that will make the opposing shooters very happy!

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