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Coaching goalies - difficult, yet rewarding

Written by Clint Jhonson
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Undoubtedly, the goal crease is not the most comfortable spot in the hockey rink
But it is the goaltender's job to defend, at all costs, the net and the crease during the game. The way from the novice goalie to the competent, polished goaltender is not an easy one. This is why coaching goalies is a job as challenging - if not even more challenging - as the task that each netminder undertakes during each game. Both the coach and the trainee need patience to overcome the physical and mental challenges of goaltending.

The goalie must never neglect the puck during a game. In fact, the goaltender has control over the puck more than any other player in the game. It is this kind of control that comes accompanied with responsibility. It is often said the fate of the team depends upon the goalie, and more importantly how mentally tough he is.

While coaching goalies, it would be hard to over-emphasize the need for unwavering focus on the puck. It is at these times of complete focus goalies are able to make that unbelievable save which actually influences in a positive manner the whole team. How many times have you seen a goalie rob a shooter and then have his team go down the ice and score.

On the flip side, when save is not made, a different kind of mental training is required. The goalie needs to bounce back quickly and the team needs to have the confidence that their goalie will bounce back. A great goaltender needs to know how to instantly re-focus on the task at hand. What is past is past. With as little as one session with a mental training coach, young goalies can learn these focusing techniques.

Because of the pivotal influence the netminder can bear upon the rest of the team, is why, when coaching goalies, a great focus is placed on the psychological. If the man in the goal crease is idle or seems to have given up hope on the game, it is very likely that the rest of the team will grow discouraged in turn. On the other hand, if the goaltender is energetic and always keeping a keen eye on the puck, this will inspire their team. A confident goalie leads to a confident team, but when a team has doubts about their goaltending, you will see a team that is heading for trouble.

Coaching goalies is a job that will have to consider such psychological dimensions as well. This is why trainers, when coaching goalies, will not focus on the physical efforts exclusively. The goaltenders need to be taught the supplementary benefits that a mental control of the game could bring not only for the goalie, but also to the overall performance of the entire team.

Of course, the physical side of the game is of great importance to goalies, but it is surprising how often the mental side is ignored. This is a shame, not only because the mental side of the game is so important but because mental training can be done anywhere at anytime. A goalie can work on his game everyday, not just at practice.

In the end, it takes quite some experience and a certain measure of talent for a goaltender to consistently make spectacular saves similar to those we sometimes witness in the NHL. However, if coaches begin to introduce their young goalies to this type of training, the goaltenders will learn to focus all of their mind and body on the game. It is a job that requires complete fusion with the game and with the team.

About the author:
Coaching goalies may not be the easiest job, but can be very rewarding when done right. Every novice goalie needs to learn the secrets of the profession and it is for the best to discover them with the help of an expert. Visit our website for more resources and ways to get to the mental side of goaltending correct.

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