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Proficient in the Hockey Goal

Written by Jon Elkin
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The world boxing champion Muhammed Ali claimed to "float like a bee." The same can be said of a great goalie
Two minutes to game time! The distant hum of the crowd sends a rush of excitement through the dressing room. Your coach has delivered the pre-game pep talk. There is a shuffling of skates as your team members attend to the final details of their equipment before skating on to the ice. For some, the all too familiar feeling of nausea, right before the beginning of the first period, catches hold and settles in. The team is silenced in their last minute of personal mental preparation.

Of course everyone knows that hockey is a team combining the efforts of forwards, defensemen, center and the goalie. It takes a team to win, and the position of goalie brings with it a tremendous feeling of achievement and victory when the team is winning. But, somehow the crowd doesn't always remember the "team play theory" when the puck swishes between the goal posts. The crowd and sometimes your teammates can often single out the goalie if the game is in a losing position. Being a great goalie takes mental toughness, skill and technique.

The world boxing champion Muhammed Ali claimed to "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." The same can be said of a great goalie who has patience, physical stamina, is quick on his feet, goes down skillfully and effectively, and recovers quickly. The aim of the goalie's game is to reduce the chance of the opponent scoring. Developing success as a goalie only begins with the building blocks of skill and technique.

The game of hockey is physically challenging, mentally demanding, exciting and above all, ever changing. With the changing rules in hockey so has goaltending shifted. During the past decade, the "butterfly style" of goaltending is altering the face of the game. Goalie equipment in the hockey world of today is actually physically smaller. If you're a current day goalie you must be largely equipped with a greater than ever awareness. Your aptitude to read the play supported by a well-honed foundation of technical soundness is a necessity.

Learning to become a proficient goalie takes a developing maturity, mental strength, work ethic and dedication. Great goalies have passion, enthusiasm, mental toughness, intensity and a commitment to hard work. Choosing to hold the position of goalie on any team, requires you to commit to developing the solid base of fundamentals that is crucial for goalies.

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