Kachinas goalies, goalie parents and coaches,
This is the goalie director Hiroki Wakabayashi.
Hope you are ready to gear up to finish the season on a high note.

It’s (NOT) all mental – Part 2

Remember the Inverted “U” graph I introduce in the last newsletter?

Your mind is usually either left (too relaxed) or right (too tensed) of the peak and it’s you job to control it towards the peak in order to maximize your performance during games and practices.


Mental Control Skills 

Mental Notes

First of all, you must know where your mind is at in the graph before you try to control it.

I recommend all the goalies (older than 12 years old, I’d say) take Mental Notes every game or even every practice in order to track the mental status and also the changes of the feeling with specific events.

Mental notes can be as simple as:

  1. How did you feel before the game/practice?
  2. How did you feel during the game/practice, where was your mind at in the inverted U graph especially on the goals against?
  3. How did you feel after the game/practice?
  4. If you have any significant changes of your feeling, when and why?

These information would give you good ideas of your mental status tendencies (left or right of the peak) during the game so you can control it better.

Drink Water

Dry mouth is the most common reaction under stress so this is the very first thing to do in order togive you a physical break when something stressful happened,,, like goal against, bad calls, bad defensive plays by team or your critical mistakes.

Deep Breath

The most classical mental control technic of the human being and it still works the best.

Performance Mantra

You got scored bad goal and you know you have to refocus but your mind can be easily distracted by things like “Oh my god, I completely screwed it, coach must be mad at me!” or “I was covering the puck, that shouldn’t be counted! The ref is idiot!”

You can try to counter these negative distractions from your mind by replacing them with a simple mantra like “FOCUS”, “POWER”, etc.

Which means, every movement you make like T-push, stop, butterfly, follow the rebound, you (secretly) say the mantra in between.

“T-push, FOCUS, stop, FOCUS, butterfly, FOCUS, follow the rebound, FOCUS

 It takes time to develop this habit but it sure to help you controlling the negative distractions in your mind.

Find your way to live with your goal against

As a goalie, you must accept the fact that “Giving up goal is a part of your job”. No matter how hard you try, you’ll get scored on eventually by your mistakes, by bad luck, by bad calls, or by your team’s defensive mistakes, or just by great shots.

So many things in your game are out of your control so you can only try your best to control what you do in order to keep the team in the game and hopefully you steal some games once in a while.

Blaming yourself or someone else after the goal against won’t help you refocus so you must analyze the goal against very quickly, then start refocusing on making the next save right away.

After the game, you watch the video, analyze and study how to make yourself better. 

It’s very important to describe and comprehend how the goal against happened WITHOUT blaming how your team played in front of you. Goalie is there to save the team when the breakaway happens, someone is wide open in front of you or when the DF can’t clear the rebound.

Remember, if the team plays perfect defense, they don’t need a goalie.

“I got scored on because the team didn’t play well in front of me” is exactly the same logic as “The team played well but the goalie sucked and couldn’t stop a thing” You know how this sounds to you.

Goalie parents, please get on the same page and encourage your goalie to have this mindset.

Bad defensive plays by your team, bad calls or bad luck are all part of the scoring conditions but it’s not the whole reason you got scored on.

You can’t stop all the shots but you can always improve yourself to make every shot stoppable.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.