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Goaltending Help: Mental Toughness

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Old
03-23-2009, 09:17 PM
  #1
LongIslandDevilsFan
 
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Goaltending Help: Mental Toughness

So my team went down in the first round of the playoffs in our rec league. We had a 5-4 lead with less than two minutes left, and we lost 7-5 (w/ empty netter).

A part of it was my fault. I collapsed under the pressure. I get this small nervousness in me before and near the end of a game, and if its a tight one like last night, it envelops me.

I got a long off-season until collegiate play starts up again, and know what I need to work on in the 'get better at goaltending' department.

Any advice what I could do to build my psych so I can start and end well?

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Old
03-23-2009, 09:23 PM
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Gunnar Stahl 30
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i get/got the same way. goalies have to have a short term memory. if you just get scored on, who cares? cry about it after the game, dont let it effect you on the ice, if you do, youre doomed. same thing with teh end of the game. its only natural to get nervous but you have to play like you would all game. you cant start playing deep in your net or dropping too early because you are nervous, you have to stay composed and play like you know you can

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03-23-2009, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LongIslandDevilsFan View Post
So my team went down in the first round of the playoffs in our rec league. We had a 5-4 lead with less than two minutes left, and we lost 7-5 (w/ empty netter).

A part of it was my fault. I collapsed under the pressure. I get this small nervousness in me before and near the end of a game, and if its a tight one like last night, it envelops me.

I got a long off-season until collegiate play starts up again, and know what I need to work on in the 'get better at goaltending' department.

Any advice what I could do to build my psych so I can start and end well?
It appears we have the same problem

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Old
03-24-2009, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LongIslandDevilsFan View Post
So my team went down in the first round of the playoffs in our rec league. We had a 5-4 lead with less than two minutes left, and we lost 7-5 (w/ empty netter).

A part of it was my fault. I collapsed under the pressure. I get this small nervousness in me before and near the end of a game, and if its a tight one like last night, it envelops me.

I got a long off-season until collegiate play starts up again, and know what I need to work on in the 'get better at goaltending' department.

Any advice what I could do to build my psych so I can start and end well?
This is a pretty normal reaction. One that smart teams try to exploit and it affects your defensemen and forwards around your net as well. Goaltenders simply have more pressure on them and they are noticed front and center when it happens. It also seems to get worse with "bad experiences" rather than better, but can improve with "good experiences", even when the outcome is often based on luck, so the reaction can to some degree snowball, since it affects your ability to gain a positive outcome.

The reaction (related to fight or flight) is there to some degree in all sports and can actually be helpful, depending on what you are doing.

Good luck, I'm not a goalie, but hope you get lots of positive advice here. I think it is something you can learn to control, but it is as tough a thing to do there is in sports.

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Old
03-24-2009, 07:58 AM
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isles31
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ok dude...we all go thru it. you let in one bad goal late and you think you cant stop a beachball...no worries. youve stopped how many shots before that one goal? why worry? maybe u think other people depend on you, but so what, afterall is said and done, hockey is just a game. go out and have fun...when youre in net, late in the game, dont think about not stopping the puck...just get in its way, and try to stop thinking so much. thats what messes you up.
this may sound weird, but when im in net, to keep my focus, i watch players and their numbers and i make math equations. yeah its stupid, but im not thinking about the weak backhand that beat me last week or whatever it was, right? just find something that takes ur mind off being nervous without being completely zoned out of the game...and HAVE FUN. thats why we all play the game. that and apparently we love vulcanized rubber flying at us.

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Old
03-24-2009, 09:29 AM
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Personally, I completely forget that I let in a goal. To be honest, when it happens I dont really care at all. Well I care, thats the competitive side of me, but not really. Know what I mean haha? Youre gonna get beat its gonna happen. Frankly every goal I have let in, I know I could have got. But I think about that after the game. When it happens, just gotta refocus.

For me, after a goal, I get the out of the net and skate to the corners lets me get away and reset myself. Been doing it since minor hockey. Hated sitting in the net, makes me think about the goal too much.

As for closing games, dont think so much of "ah **** i got to hold on here", but "alright, time to lockdown". PIck up on teams/players tendencies during the game, and odds are they will try em again. Its all about knowing that youve stopped em all game, you can stop em again.

The first 58 are no different than the last 2. You cant let in goals in either.

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Old
03-24-2009, 11:35 AM
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IMO the main reason for nervousness is you don't know what to expect (and you probably fear the worst possible outcome). Best way to conquer nervousness is to be as well prepared for the game as you can be. Were you able to scout your opponent before the game? Did they run a special play in the last few minutes that you hadn't seen before? As a goalie do you have an end of game strategy that's different from your play in the other 55 minutes? Does the rest of the team know how to protect a lead in the final minutes? And if there was a plan how well did the rest of the team execute it? The more questions you can answer the better prepared you'll be for the next time you're in this situation.

From your post I can't tell whether you let in 2 soft goals at the end of the game or if you're just blaming yourself (unfairly) for the loss. Anyway, congrats for making it to the playoffs. Believe in yourself enough to tell a team mate to soak his head if he blames the loss on you.

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Old
03-24-2009, 11:41 AM
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I'm no goalie but I have a few ideas. 1) Practice the situation before the game mentally. After letting in a goal, say to yourself, "I have to lock these guys down the next few shifts." You can do it in warm ups, scrimmages, practices, pick up games, whatever. 2)After you give up a bad goal, recap the tough saves in the game you've made. It'll seem like, so what if I gave up one bad goal? I know I can get past it because I've made a couple highlight reel saves already! 3) Don't blame yourself unfairly, e.g. breakaways, 2-0s, 3-2s etc. Some goals, you just can't stop.

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Old
03-24-2009, 12:45 PM
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Don't think so much.

After a goal, there's not much you can do about it. Let it go, and focus on the next save. The game is just a bunch of mini battles.

If you play the game save by save, it will sort itself out. Don't clock watch, especially at the end of the game.

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Old
03-24-2009, 02:03 PM
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Avoid thinking about the potential negative outcomes in game. For me when I'm struggling with Focus in net I will go out of my way to really watch the puck, not just look around where it is, but focus dead in on the puck with my eyes and mind.

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03-24-2009, 02:54 PM
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When i played goalie i would always have a horrible start to games the first 5-10 minutes of play was normally just horrid. But after that i would stop essentially everything. Once i got past the nervousness of the beginning of the game and was into it i was fine.

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Old
03-24-2009, 03:32 PM
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Goaltending is about the present. You can't control past or future.

Don't pay attention to score whether you are up 5-4 or down 5-1. Try to find some self talk that can help do this for you. "I will save the next one, I will save the next one."

Even if you do the "talk to the posts" or the Ron Hextall rap, it is better than thinking about "Oh no, they are coming back."

You could humm, you could imagine the goalie across from you exploding. Whatever you do, it is about thinking of something other than..."I blew that one." Negative self talk will propogate itself into more negative.

Clear the mind and the saves will follow.

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Old
03-25-2009, 05:19 AM
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Too many mind...


As an Oilers fan I often see Roli on the TV late in the third, they do a close up on his face when the play isn't going and he simply stands in his crease, with his head down, his eyes closed, and his lips are moving. I have no idea what he is telling himself, but I can only imagine that the next time the puck drops he is absolutely, completely focused on the play. whether his team is down by 5 goals or ahead by 1, I'll bet in that moment the solitary thing on his mind is stopping the next shot.

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03-25-2009, 06:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LongIslandDevilsFan View Post
So my team went down in the first round of the playoffs in our rec league. We had a 5-4 lead with less than two minutes left, and we lost 7-5 (w/ empty netter).

A part of it was my fault. I collapsed under the pressure. I get this small nervousness in me before and near the end of a game, and if its a tight one like last night, it envelops me.

I got a long off-season until collegiate play starts up again, and know what I need to work on in the 'get better at goaltending' department.

Any advice what I could do to build my psych so I can start and end well?
Just remember that your opposition is just as much or more nervous than you are. Just dig deep inside and insist that you are the better man.

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Old
03-25-2009, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LongIslandDevilsFan View Post
So my team went down in the first round of the playoffs in our rec league. We had a 5-4 lead with less than two minutes left, and we lost 7-5 (w/ empty netter).

A part of it was my fault. I collapsed under the pressure. I get this small nervousness in me before and near the end of a game, and if its a tight one like last night, it envelops me.

I got a long off-season until collegiate play starts up again, and know what I need to work on in the 'get better at goaltending' department.

Any advice what I could do to build my psych so I can start and end well?
anxiety pills.

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Old
03-25-2009, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LongIslandDevilsFan View Post
So my team went down in the first round of the playoffs in our rec league. We had a 5-4 lead with less than two minutes left, and we lost 7-5 (w/ empty netter).

A part of it was my fault. I collapsed under the pressure. I get this small nervousness in me before and near the end of a game, and if its a tight one like last night, it envelops me.

I got a long off-season until collegiate play starts up again, and know what I need to work on in the 'get better at goaltending' department.

Any advice what I could do to build my psych so I can start and end well?
I wrote a post on this thread just a couple of days ago and I think this might help.
http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=618618

If you have any questions, just PM me and I will help you out.

Head coach

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Old
03-25-2009, 12:24 PM
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Most people on here will tell you to have a short memory. They will say you cannot control the past and not to worry about what has already happened. These things are great, but someone in your situation (I was like that as well) cannot simply do this...PERIOD. We as humans are who we are...some people can block out recent memory, while others have to struggle with nervousness and fear of failure. The nervousness is going to be there! You cannot get rid of it. I had a bad experience when I was about 15, where I blew a two goal lead, giving up 3 goals in the last 90 seconds of a game, and we lost. For years, I had issues closing the deal, always letting my fear of losing take over. Finally, I figured out what works for me...acceptance and embrace. The clock starts getting towards maybe 2 or 3 minutes left, and I start getting that feeling in my stomach...the one that hinders your motor skills just enough to prevent you from making the big stop. It is then that I simply say to myself, "embrace the nervousness...it's going to come, and there's nothing I can do about it...allow yourself to be nervous, there's a LEGITIMATE reason that you feel this way! It's a big moment!" Once you've accepted and embraced the idea that you're going to be nervous, you can then ELEVATE your effort (not your game), trying harder to think about each reaction you take, which should at least overcome the motor skills inhibition that comes from being nervous so that your net result is that you're still playing at the same level you were before. You're nervous, but still making the necessary saves. Sometimes I will crouch a bit lower in my stance or lean a little bit more on the balls of my feet so that I'm even more ready than I was before. Sometimes I'll stretch and wave my arms between plays so that if a high shot comes, they are flexible and more prepared to knock the puck away even QUICKER than 5 minutes before that. I find that you have to play head games with yourself to find out what works best for you...but I must say that I am now a better goalie in the last 5 minutes that I am in the first five (I guess I have to work on that!).

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