Hockey Lab Japan articles #8

How to Focus on the game
for GOALIES
by Hiroki WAKABAYASHI
Consistency is one of the greatest asset to become a good goalie. However, losing focus during the game is one of the most common mental problem for goalies. Most of goalies would notice this problem but never know how to solve it. Here we show you some tips to control your focus during the game.
ABSTRACT

Be Prepared

When you know what to do, where to go, how to do, you have no reason to lose yourself, get very nervous or choked. Analyze and know the other team from the past games or previous period and BE READY !

  • Big FWs, Small Ice:
    @Lots of screens, tough & rough in front
  • Small FWs, Big Ice:
    @Breakaways, Lots of passes, Use behind the net
  • Left Shooters:
    @One-timer & Wraparound from your LEFT, tend to shoot on your left side
  • Right Shooters:
    @vis-a-vis
  • Defensive game:
    @Lots of screens, rebound and short plays
  • Offensive game:
    @Breakaways, 2-1s
  • Work on LITTLE THINGS in practices before games
    @puckhandling, loose puck, soft dump, etc.

Do same routine every game

If you want to be consistent in the game, you need to be consistent before and after the game too.

  • Every great athlete has his/her own routine or habit before, after and during the game. Patrick Roy really does the same routine every game day. "play with the same puck in the dressing room just before the game", "talk to the posts", "try not to touch the blue lines when go back to the bench" and so on. Some people say he's superstitious, but these little habits really work as the "POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT" and help you to focus on the game automatically.
  • If you want to be consistent in every period, try to do same routine before every period. For example, touch your stuff in order like gloves, pads, mask, posts, water bottle and focus on the game.

Be aware of your emotion

However, somehow, sometimes, you start to feel uncomfortable and start losing focus on the game.

  1. The first thing you have to do is To Be Aware of Your Emotion. You have to notice "I'm not feeling good". Don't get upset. Everybody loses focus sometimes. But you can not play as your feeling goes.
  2. The second step is to analyze what bothers you. You might get mad at the ref, teammates, the other team. Or, you just might be thirsty, hungry or tired. Could be the combination of these matters.
  3. The third step is to know if you can control the bothering factor(s) or not, and find solutions.
  • Thirsty, Hungry :
    @Help yourself.
  • Fatigue:
    @Find time to relax and rest.
  • Poor plays of the teammates :
    @Communicate properly with them and correct their mistakes.
  • Your mistakes :
    @Think, Correct & Forget it!!
  • Ref, the other team, past mistakes, crowd :
    @You can not control. FORGET IT !

Change your Feeling

Now it's time to change your feeling and get focus again. Visualization & Acting help you to change your feeling.

Visualize Tough & Winning Image of Yourself

  • Imagine you win the game.
  • Imagine you make a big save.

Act like a Soldier

  • positive physical expression:
    head's up, show confidence
  • relax:
    deep breath, take water
  • preparation:
    think about the next situation & shot
    control eye sight, focus on one object (cage of the glove, face-off dot, etc.)

GENERAL TIPS TO BECOME TOUGH

Love the Battle

- Everybody loves to win. But winners love battle itself.

Never think or say CAN'T/HATE

- Negative thinking will never help you to win.

Visualize Tough & Winning Image of Yourself

- Think positive, visualize toughness to keep (change) your feeling positive.

Develop a good routine of FOCUS & RELAX

- Don't try to focus in 2 hours. You'll lost focus without relax.

You need to try these everyday ON and OFF the ICE.

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