Goaltending is Simple

by Rod Kirk, The Goalie Guy Goalie Living in the moment and letting go of all the variables that you have no control over parallels sport, especially goaltending.

Let’s face it – the goalie position is simple. 

You may find that shocking, and some may perceive that statement as somewhat offensive.  Goaltenders and parents alike may think that I have been hit on the head one too many times after making such a statement. 

A fundamental premise in personal development is, ‘if you think something is difficult then usually it will be’.  If we constantly remind ourselves that the position we love to play is the hardest and no one can appreciate how difficult it is, then it will be just that.

Girls talking on the ice dressed in goalie gear.

This concept is referred to as efficacy. Let’s start our journey of developing our mindset from a different beginning point: goaltending is simple.

 The great thing about being a goalie is that you do not have to go anywhere on the ice to create the play or make something happen; the play comes to you.   Just like a funnel, all activity must flow directly to you.  All the confusion and chaos taking place on the ice has a sole purpose of bringing the puck to you.  The purpose of the other team is to put the puck in the net, which you just happen to be standing in front of, waiting for it to arrive. 

It’s important to understand the difference between the words “simple” and “easy”.  In this context, the word “simple” speaks to your brain. The concept of the game is to shoot the puck in the net: the responsibility of your position to merely stop the puck, and therefore the area of coverage is intrinsically simple to understand.  The definition of “easy” is ‘not hard or difficult; free from worry or care.  So the concept of easy also lies in our mental state.

Goalie wearing BAUER Vapor 1X OD1N goalie pads and gear making a save during a hockey game.

When we play sports, we tend to worry about outcome and performance, which are two concepts that resonate in your mind and lend to stress and poor performance.  Thinking and concentrating on anything other than stopping the puck, and neglecting to learn skills to become stronger mentally, will indeed make the position of goaltending difficult. 

Let’s start our journey to mental training by reminding ourselves that goaltending is simple: just stop the puck!

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