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So, the temperature is dropping, your summer tan is fading and the leaves are starting to turn. Ah, hockey season is just around the corner! A new season brings all sorts of anticipation and opportunities, but are you in the best position to make the most of your situation? Whether you are returning to the same team and the same level of play or moving up to a new team and a higher competition level, you can’t stay stagnant. If you have ever read the great book “Who Moved My Cheese?” you will know how change can be scary for some folks. The book centered on some mice that discovered that someone moved their cheese. Now some panicked and went into a tizzy worrying about where the cheese went. Others simply buckled down, kept a positive attitude and went out searching for new cheese. The moral to the story is that change is inevitable. You have control over how you respond to change.

Now how does this relate to your goaltending? Well, each year brings new challenges. Are you trying to stay the starting goalie? Are you trying to become the starting goalie? Are you trying to beat out a bunch of goalies to make a team? Are you trying to be the top goalie in the league? Are you trying to achieve a level of play that would impress recruiters from private high school, junior or college teams? You need to be aware of what some realistic goals are for your season as well as some “reach” goals that may or may not be attainable. Once you define those goals, what steps are needed to achieve them?

When it comes to setting and working towards goals, you must have a plan. I could sit back and say “gee, I’d like to be President” but if I don’t start running for local office to learn how politics work, I will never have a chance to run for the oval office. I might like to win the lottery, but if I never buy a ticket, the chances are zero that I will win anything. So, if I want to be a great goalie, what’s the plan? Whether you played great or poorly last season simply doesn’t matter. You have a clean slate to start anew. When it comes to sports, hockey included, the attitude is “what have you done for me lately”. If you are resting on what you did in the past, you will be left in the dust by other goalies who will work harder than you. If last season wasn’t so hot, guess what, you’ve got a fresh start!

When you move forward into a new season it’s important to define your goals and outline some steps to get there. If you were giving up too many 5 Hole goals last season, what adjustments do you plan to make this season? Were you retreating too quickly last year so the 5 Hole was easier to hit? Maybe you have to work on your patience to draw a shooter in closer to you so they panic instead of you. If your catching glove was giving you problems, do you need to turn your back shoulder into the save more or have a more forward wrist angle so the pocket stays in the shooting lane longer? If you’re afraid to handle a puck and it’s costing you playing time, what will you do to improve your passing, clearing, and setting skills?

I’ve seen too many goalies that get frustrated by their weaknesses instead of seeing it as an opportunity to turn that weakness into strength. Your emotions often get in the way of objective analysis. Things happen for a reason. If you keep giving up the same kind of goals season after season, you are obviously not breaking down the situation into manageable skills. Everything you do on the ice results in a positive or negative reaction by the opposition. Once you learn to pay attention to details, have a plan and take conscious steps to implement new skills, you will make forward progress. A new season can start in a positive manner if you’re not afraid to “move the cheese!” Challenge yourself, be a student of the game, don’t be lazy and compete every time you are on the ice! Those are the attributes of successful goalies who rarely see their game take “two steps back”.

This article was contributed by Fred Quistgard of Quistgard Goalie Training



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