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I’m a young goalie that’s currently in my senior year of high school and playing AA for amateurs. Lately I’ve been having confidence issues going into games. I try my hardest to compete but if I let in a soft goal or make an awkward save and kick out a bad rebound I get in my own head saying that I am not good enough. Do you have any advice on what I could do differently or what I can do that might help?

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Distraction in what ever form works for you. Skate a few figure 8's and think of nothing. Start an internal mantra of "stop the next one". Tap your posts in a pattern. Stare at the blue paint and take 3 deep breaths while thinking of nothing. There are a million more examples, but the point is the same. Do SOMETHING to either empty your head so your not thinking about what just happened or that your thinking about what YOU WANT to think about.

FYI: Who cares if you let one in? Everyone does. Figure out how to manage your head spaces and you'll stay in control the game.

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15 hours ago, LukeHentschel57 said:

I’m a young goalie that’s currently in my senior year of high school and playing AA for amateurs. Lately I’ve been having confidence issues going into games. I try my hardest to compete but if I let in a soft goal or make an awkward save and kick out a bad rebound I get in my own head saying that I am not good enough. Do you have any advice on what I could do differently or what I can do that might help?

same here bud. all i have to say is a lot of this game is mental. u just gotta reset. maybe start repeat a mantra after every save/goal. like "be a warrior" or "i am a good goalie". also deep breaths

BTW goaliebygarmin and thegoalieguild talk about this a lot. its worth it to check them out. 

but sitting and being sad about a fluke goal will do nothing but hurt your game. 

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On 12/29/2018 at 11:04 PM, LukeHentschel57 said:

I’m a young goalie that’s currently in my senior year of high school and playing AA for amateurs. Lately I’ve been having confidence issues going into games. I try my hardest to compete but if I let in a soft goal or make an awkward save and kick out a bad rebound I get in my own head saying that I am not good enough. Do you have any advice on what I could do differently or what I can do that might help?

I completely get what you're saying, as I too hear myself telling myself these things all the time and it takes a serious beating on your confidence. Im a sophmore in HS and started playing goalie at 13, and feel like everybody has their doubts on me and that I will never be good enough. You need to be a better friend to yourself and realize nobody's perfect, and soft goals happen to everyone. Ive been working on this myself and I feel its made me take strides as not only a goalie but a person. 

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We all get down on ourselves at some point, but the only thing that matters is you get back up again. Try watching blooper reels and know that the best goalies in the world have let in much worse goals than you have ever let in. Then watch some highlight reel saves and remember why we’re goalies, think about the feeling of making one of those saves. That’s why we play the game. Remember the saves, not the goals!

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I got this trick from Steve McKichan’s goalie manual from a couple years back. He runs Future Pro goalie school and spent some time as the goal coach for Toronto during the Belfour era. 

You need a reset button.  He recommended taking a swig of water after a big save, bad goal, or anything in between.  Eventually you will associate more with taking a swig of water and getting back to neutral as opposed to too high or too low. 

You can change it to whatever you want. Skate a figure 8 around the faceoff dots, go for a quick stretch, clear snow from your crease, or whatever else you can think of. Just have a routine to stay level and stick to it. 

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24 minutes ago, Chenner29 said:

I got this trick from Steve McKichan’s goalie manual from a couple years back. He runs Future Pro goalie school and spent some time as the goal coach for Toronto during the Belfour era. 

You need a reset button.  He recommended taking a swig of water after a big save, bad goal, or anything in between.  Eventually you will associate more with taking a swig of water and getting back to neutral as opposed to too high or too low. 

You can change it to whatever you want. Skate a figure 8 around the faceoff dots, go for a quick stretch, clear snow from your crease, or whatever else you can think of. Just have a routine to stay level and stick to it. 

That's really good advice. 

I find the adrenaline and heart rate bump from making a huge save can be just as disruptive as letting in a soft goal.

Focusing on maintaining a calm center is important.

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Also look up Roman Cechmanek (he’s before your time), or Antii Niemi. Both look pretty awkward in goal but have made millions doing it. Hell, Niemi won a cup as a starter. 

I hate to sound like one of those inspirational Instagram posts, but confidence is built in practice. Get your reps in before games

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@LukeHentschel57 softies are going to happen... they happen in the NHL every single night. Of course you don't want that to be your scouting report either... so get your reps... feel like you're on your feet and balanced... get a reset routine... and do it so often it's not a reset routine it's just what you do regardless of a highlight reel save or soft goal... doesn't matter. Personally I'm a figure 8 guy... been known to dance a bit to a decent song being played between whistles... keep it fun. You get stressed your team gets stressed. 

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On 12/29/2018 at 11:04 PM, LukeHentschel57 said:

I’m a young goalie that’s currently in my senior year of high school and playing AA for amateurs. Lately I’ve been having confidence issues going into games. I try my hardest to compete but if I let in a soft goal or make an awkward save and kick out a bad rebound I get in my own head saying that I am not good enough. Do you have any advice on what I could do differently or what I can do that might help?

Thanks for being open to posting your question! My name's Mike, I'm a mental skills coach who works a whole bunch in hockey. By the sounds of it, confidence issue aren't at the core of what's going on in-game. Your confidence sounds like it's getting effected, but there's an important process you pointed out that would dip anybody's confidence! That process is the 'getting in your head' part and talking down to yourself. The strategies a lot of the folks pointed out - and thanks for being open to share your challenges, too - touch on an important skill. The skill being to acknowledging there's negative thoughts happening, then put your attention on the game. Having negative thoughts after a soft goal, bad rebound, or a really nice goal is totally normal and okay. Everybody has those and we even have negative thoughts when nothing's happened yet on the sheet. The notion that we need to force negative thoughts out or control them doesn't do us a lot of good. It sounds counter-intuitive to hear that. BUT, try not to think about a white elephant for 20 seconds. The more we focus on a thought or not having the thought, the more our attention gets pulled into our head space. If we're able to acknowledge and accept a negative thought as just a thought (not good, not bad, as something that just 'is') and recommit our attention to the game in front of us, we have a lot better chance of playing well. Learning to play well despite and in the presence of negative thoughts is a powerful skill. Strategies to build up present focus, mindfulness, the ability to accept negative events without judgement or attachment, and commitment to the here and now will all play into that skill. 

There is a lot of stuff out there to help build confidence, but it sounds like that's an upshot of a dysfunctional process and not the heart of the challenge you're tackling! 

Hope this helps! 

There's stuff on my Instagram (@S_and_A_Athletics), Twitter, and the Stacey And Associates Athletics Facebook and website (www.staceyandassociatesathletics.com) that all talk about this stuff. Feel free to give things a read, ask questions, and I'll do my best to help answer them or direct you to resources that can! 

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