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Overview of Mental Prep

A goalie's mental outlook

In order for USA Hockey to achieve its goal of improving the goaltending position nationwide, the Strelow Mentor Program will provide materials to help with the mental framework of a goaltender.  It is an honor to play this position and with this honor comes a great deal of responsibility.  A goaltender must take responsibility for his or her practice and game preparation.  Once that is done a goaltender can focus on the most important part of the job - the next shot.

Each practice offers a goaltender an opportunity to work hard.  Hard work in practice leads to a more prepared goaltender both physically and mentally.  A fully prepared goaltender is a confident goaltender.  The harder a goaltender works, the more prepared he or she becomes, the more confidence that is built.

A goaltender’s pre game routine must get him or her relaxed, focused, and ready to face all game situations.  A goaltender’s pre game routine is personal.  Each goaltender must find what works and stick with it.  Advice for developing a routine - keep it simple! Focusing on the simple aspects of the position and the game will put the goaltender in a position to be successful.  Great saves occur when a goaltender’s natural ability takes over.  The simpler a goaltender keeps it; the easier it is for natural ability to take over. 

During a game the goaltender’s focus should be on the next shot.  Focus should not be on the end result, previous shot, or future situation.  It must be in the moment.  Next shot focus keeps the goaltender in the moment and focused on what is in his or her control. Focusing on what can be controlled will produce better results. 

Joe Exter
Former US National Team Goaltending Coach

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