Kachinas’ goalie parents and coaches, this is Goaltending Director Hiroki Wakabayashi.

Bring Water Bottle and DRINK IT!

It has come to our attention that many of our goalies don’t drink enough water during practice or,,, don’t even bring a water bottle to practice!

Hydration is at #1 on the survival tip 101 in a desert state Arizona and you even play hockey goalie in full gears,,, come on!!!

It does not matter if you are thirsty or not. Drink water whenever it’s possible and you can perform much better in the last half of the practice.

Or,,, maybe we just haven’t worked goalies hard enough yet,,, you’ll see 😉


Part 1 : You Are Pulled! Flowchart

If our goalies were in a divorce case, they could sue for lack of support
and be millionaires tomorrow.

Terry Crisp
(former NHL coach)


As we are heading to the most emotional and stressful time of the season, I once again try to explain the logic behind pulling a goalie in certain circumstances in a game using newly developed “You Are Pulled Flowchart”.

Although the flowchart itself is self-explanatory, here are the key factors for better understanding. 

Changes of Game Situation

This is basically about how the goal differential changes with the latest goals against.
Regardless of the qualities of the goals against, you have to rescue a goalie from blowout games and give a backup goalie chance to play before seeing like 0-10 and destroy the starting goalie’s mental completely.

Now, your team had a comfortable lead like 4-0 in the 2nd period and and your goalie suddenly gave up 3 bad goals in a row. This could be the time to probably take a timeout first then consider switching goalie before it’s too late because you still have time to regroup the team and get the momentum back.


It’s very closely related to the factor above but timing is important because not all the goals are equally weighted towards the outcome of the game. Your team has a lot of time to redeem the crappy goals against in first 5 mins but not in the last 5.

Therefore, head coaches want to make the drastic shakeup by changing the starting goalie before it’s too late.

Quality of the Goals Against

We discussed about the definitions of the Bad Goal last month.

It’s a known fact that even world best goalies give up some worst goals once in a while. This seems to be the biggest factor of pulling a goalie but it’s greatly depending on the game situation and timing as mentioned above. 

So, you may give up 2 horrible goals but still can get away with happy 6-3 win depending of the context of the game.

Pulling Goalie is NOT a punishment

Remember, “Pulling goalie is not a punishment” even if you feel very disappointed and embarrassed.

It’s more of a strategy for a head coach to script the best scenario in order to increase the chance to compete as much as possible.

Ok, I typed enough.

“You Are Pulled Flowchart” here we go.

Please remind this flowchart is based on my experience, my thinking patterns, various studies from other coaches and it’s also highly simplified. There could be way more complicated factors to consider depending of the level of competition, and each team’s unique situations. 

For example, pro hockey tends to be severe and not generous when it comes to pull a goalie. However, it’s rare to see the (depth chart) #2 goalie gets pulled for #1 goalie because #2 goalie is basically playing to give a day off to the #1 goalie. Therefore, some #2 goalie might have to eat nasty 9 goals against when the team is playing absolutely the crappiest game. 

Now you see getting well paid as a #2 goalie in a NHL team might not be the most comfortable job in the world.

Hope this flowchart makes sense to you.

Hiroki Wakabayashi


Part 2 : Average Mindset vs. Elite Mindset

We have a special contribution from our goalie coach and a Gibber Marino about the mindset of the athlete. MUST READ!

Average Mindset vs. Elite Mindset

Ten Ways to Build an Elite Mindset to Build Unshakeable Mental Toughness


ELITE MINDSET #1: Never Show Weakness

The time to be vulnerable is not in the heat of competition. Emotions are not for competition. There is a time outside of competition to be open and honest about where you are at, but while in competition mode you flip the switch into an unbreakable mindset. When you lace up your skates, you are stoic and locked-in, because emotion clouds reality and performance. Get big with your body language, showing the willingness to fight another fight and keep going.


ELITE MINDSET #2: Never Feel Sorry for Yourself

Feeling sorry for yourself is a worthless emotion that will strip you of any positive energy. You cannot control what happens to you or around you. However, you can always control how you respond. Your attitude is your decision. The greatest human freedom we have is to choose our own perspective and attitude. 

ELITE MINDSET #3: Stay Patient in the Face of Adversity

The best way to embrace adversity is to breathe. It is something that is said repeatedly, “just breathe”, which eventually made people underestimate the impact of oxygenating your brain. There is no secret to being mentally tough. We must be brilliant at the basics. Taking that deep breath in helps you break the game down into whistles and saves, helping you stay present-moment-focused all the way through.

ELITE MINDEST #4: The Only Easy Day was Yesterday

In the pursuit of excellence, every day is going to get harder than the previous one as you expect and demand more of yourself. Don’t expect it to be easy if you want it to be great. No great accomplishment ever happened by staying in your comfort zone. 

ELITE MINDSET #5: It Pays to be a Winner

Winning is a lifestyle – not an event. Winning is not just an outcome, it’s much more than that. You must play to a standard, not a scoreboard. The more you win, the more winning is expected by you and of you. View this pressure as a positive and know that winning does not start and end, winning is constant. 

ELITE MINDSET #6: The Race to Excellence has no Finish Line

When you hike a mountain, you don’t live at the summit. You hike back down and find a new mountain. When you win a game or even a championship and you think you’ve arrived at excellence, you are done. You must constantly move toward excellence; you never reach it. 

ELITE MINDSET #7: You Don’t Rise to the Occasion; You Sink to your Training and Habits

You’re not going to make it to the championship game and suddenly become a better goalie. You will fall back on the training and habits that you have put in. Soft at practice? Don’t expect it to be different during competition. Soft at a scrimmage? Don’t expect it to be different when it counts. Soft in nutrition? Don’t expect yourself to be a well-oiled machine. In competition, you will never outperform your self-image and you will never outperform your training.

ELITE MINDSET #8: NDCQ / Not Dead, Can’t Quit

You got one play left, one save left, one breath left? Keep pushing. Whether you feel like it or not is a question average athletes ask themselves. Elite athletes focus on what they must do to perform, at all costs. Which are you?

ELITE MINDSET #9: Make Adversity your Advantage

The harder it is, the more we do it. If it doesn’t suck (if it’s not hard), we don’t do it. Adversity causes some athletes to break and others to break through. Don’t get frustrated, get fascinated. 


Soft goal? GOOD. Get pulled? GOOD. Skates are dull? GOOD. Stinger to your shoulder or knee? GOOD! Don’t get discouraged, get encouraged. Make adversity your advantage and make sure you know it’s GOOD and is part of the process. 

Kaley “Gibber” Marino, MPM
Certified Mental Performance Mastery Coach
ASU Women’s Hockey Goaltending Coach

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Hiroki Wakabayashi
World Hockey Lab LLC. 1140 E Wildwood Drive Phoenix, AZ 85048

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