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Lucky Pucker

Dear Diary... (?)

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I had intended to ask about this before, but I had a shit game last night (lost 6-3), and I think I let in three softies - so essentially, I lost the game for my new team. My in-game coping was working for me, but I started to get pretty down after the game. I think the single thing I'm struggling with most is figuring out how much of it was "just the law of averages telling me I was due for a bad game" and how much of it was preventable through better preparation, and/or execution.

Overall, I'm trying to do as much off-ice as I can; as many know, my back story is that I always dreamed of playing, finally started at age 39. So I will not jeopardize this chance to live my dream by only showing up to play the games; I want to do all that I can to make sure it is a fun, rewarding, and "preventable injury-free" experience. To that end, I have picked up lots of tips here and from other goalies in other games, taken lessons, and maintained a strict exercise routine. Physically, I might be in the best shape I've been in over the last 10-15 years. But I think I need to dial in my mental off-ice.

My wife had looked into stuff, and sent me an In Goal Magazine article about keeping a diary ( https://ingoalmag.com/goalie-tips/keeping-goalie-journal-can-keep-consistent/)

Do any of you do this? If so, what details do you include, what works, paper or soft copy somewhere?

Any other advice is also welcome; part of what keeps me going with this (other than the genuine love and passion) is knowing that I have so much room to improve, and so much still to learn. So lay it on me, brothers and sisters!

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I don't keep a diary, but the mental side of the game is something that I probably worked the hardest on once I was clear of any chance of playing competitively (which may have contributed to why I only ever got a sniff of varsity hockey :P).  

The biggest points I eventually came around on are:

  • Never too high, never too low:  You're going to have great games, shit games and everything in between.  There's no point or benefit to show-boating an amazing save or being overly aggressive against opponents who are being idiots or crowding/crashing your crease.  This goes for post-game as well, enjoy the good game, don't dwell on the bad ones.  (there's always exceptions if you're playing with the right group, I'll throw in an aggressive windmill or even a post-save celebration if the guy I stopped has a record of fancy cellys, but that's because that's the atmosphere of that skate/group)
  • Reflect on every goal equally:  This ties into the first point as well.  But essentially there is always something to learn from every goal.  It may have been your fault, positioning, save selection whatever.  It may have been not your fault, poor defensive coverage, bad bounce, great shot etc.  The point is not to beat yourself up because it was your fault, or to dismiss it if it wasn't your fault.  If you get beat backdoor by a wide open winger, did you challenge the shooter effectively and therefore gave them nothing to shoot at?  Good, keep that up.  Did you read that it was a pass way too late/poorly?  That's fine, learn from player's body language and keep working on your play reading.  Then there's the easy ones like you dropped your glove when you should have kept it up and out, that's fine, work on it, move on.

I think my first recommendation for you would be to try to stop worrying about winning or losing the game for your team.  You worked hard to become a goalie, you are a goalie now, you're not going to get a letter in the mail telling you you're not allowed to play goal anymore because of that whiff you had on the point shot last week. :)

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How about a visual diary aka a GoPro (if feasible in your league)?

Couple of years ago I was pretty pissed off and playing badly, then as chance would have it, my girlfriend got me a GoPro for Christmas - it was a real revelation in terms of assessing how a session / game actually went. Over the last few years I've had countless sessions where I've got off the ice feeling bad about a certain goal, or just the sheer volume of goals and then watched the GoPro footage back to realise that it actually wasn't as bad as I thought. 

On the other hand, I've had sessions where I felt like I played great, and then when I watched the video back I realise that I had a lot of help and most of the 'great' saves were pretty routine! Just having the video as an objective record really helps in terms of evening out your self assessment / perception of your play. 

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110% agreed w/ everything @Mroy31 posted. 

One aspect you have to remember is that you likely don't get time to practice the craft... you're always playing games. You're making adjustments to how you play during games. That's a lot to ask of yourself to do w/o getting good reps and creating that muscle memory many of us end up taking for granted... something I know I rely on a lot. The ability to turn off the noise around you or inside your head... trust yourself... and just do.

For me a good portion of the mental side also comes down to perspective... which in some cases comes with experience. You're beating yourself up after a loss about a goal or two while you're drinking the same beer with the same guys you would have had those shots not gone in and you won. Also, I doubt the rest of the guys in the room are beating themselves up for that missed that shot on a wide open net... or when they threw a pass into a guy's feet when he could have had a breakaway. My point is yes we all want to stop everything... and while understanding what you could maybe do differently to save a that same shot next time is import... it's just as important to note what you did do well and what was out of your control... times when you did your job. What matters most in beer league is having fun. No matter what level anyone on the ice played before... you're all on the same sheet now.

So after one goes in and you look to center ice where they're dropping the puck... take a split second and look down... you're in the crease... playing goalie... doing what you dreamed of... and while you may not be blessed with a bright white French Canadian set of teeth... smile.

MAF.jpg.1b545bb8cf4bdc6c092eb4117c22dcc8.jpg

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21 minutes ago, raucebyalien said:

How about a visual diary aka a GoPro (if feasible in your league)?

Couple of years ago I was pretty pissed off and playing badly, then as chance would have it, my girlfriend got me a GoPro for Christmas - it was a real revelation in terms of assessing how a session / game actually went. Over the last few years I've had countless sessions where I've got off the ice feeling bad about a certain goal, or just the sheer volume of goals and then watched the GoPro footage back to realise that it actually wasn't as bad as I thought. 

On the other hand, I've had sessions where I felt like I played great, and then when I watched the video back I realise that I had a lot of help and most of the 'great' saves were pretty routine! Just having the video as an objective record really helps in terms of evening out your self assessment / perception of your play. 

I like the idea, but TBH, a GoPro is probably a non-starter for me. On the odd occasion that my wife attends a skate, I do ask her to video short spurts with her phone, and even that has shown me what you describe (i.e. some "bad" stuff doesn't look so bad, and some "good" stuff doesn't look that good - LOL!) The  relative objectivity of the record is an excellent point, too. I mean, how many goalie classes/schools use tablets on ice now for teaching and learning - right?

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2 hours ago, Mroy31 said:

I don't keep a diary, but the mental side of the game is something that I probably worked the hardest on once I was clear of any chance of playing competitively (which may have contributed to why I only ever got a sniff of varsity hockey :P).  

The biggest points I eventually came around on are:

  • Never too high, never too low:  You're going to have great games, shit games and everything in between.  There's no point or benefit to show-boating an amazing save or being overly aggressive against opponents who are being idiots or crowding/crashing your crease.  This goes for post-game as well, enjoy the good game, don't dwell on the bad ones.  (there's always exceptions if you're playing with the right group, I'll throw in an aggressive windmill or even a post-save celebration if the guy I stopped has a record of fancy cellys, but that's because that's the atmosphere of that skate/group)
  • Reflect on every goal equally:  This ties into the first point as well.  But essentially there is always something to learn from every goal.  It may have been your fault, positioning, save selection whatever.  It may have been not your fault, poor defensive coverage, bad bounce, great shot etc.  The point is not to beat yourself up because it was your fault, or to dismiss it if it wasn't your fault.  If you get beat backdoor by a wide open winger, did you challenge the shooter effectively and therefore gave them nothing to shoot at?  Good, keep that up.  Did you read that it was a pass way too late/poorly?  That's fine, learn from player's body language and keep working on your play reading.  Then there's the easy ones like you dropped your glove when you should have kept it up and out, that's fine, work on it, move on.

I think my first recommendation for you would be to try to stop worrying about winning or losing the game for your team.  You worked hard to become a goalie, you are a goalie now, you're not going to get a letter in the mail telling you you're not allowed to play goal anymore because of that whiff you had on the point shot last week. :)

Thanks for the very thoughtful, well-written response, buddy. Good stuff to reflect on.

...and so long as you're sure about that letter not coming, I guess i can stop ducking my mailman - LOL!

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1 hour ago, BadAngle41 said:

So after one goes in and you look to center ice where they're dropping the puck... take a split second and look down... you're in the crease... playing goalie... doing what you dreamed of... and while you may not be blessed with a bright white French Canadian set of teeth... smile.

Speak for yourself, some of us are blessed with the massive chiclets.

@Lucky Pucker the advice that's been given here is top notch. One thing you will learn as the goalie years pile up is the recognition of what you can and cannot control and whether or not certain scenarios are within your skill set to save or if they were someone else's responsibility. It's tough to not save everything, but with time the perspective will shift and it won't weigh as heavily.

Though, never lose that drive to stop everything and to improve.

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2 hours ago, BadAngle41 said:

110% agreed w/ everything @Mroy31 posted. 

One aspect you have to remember is that you likely don't get time to practice the craft... you're always playing games. You're making adjustments to how you play during games. That's a lot to ask of yourself to do w/o getting good reps and creating that muscle memory many of us end up taking for granted... something I know I rely on a lot. The ability to turn off the noise around you or inside your head... trust yourself... and just do.

For me a good portion of the mental side also comes down to perspective... which in some cases comes with experience. You're beating yourself up after a loss about a goal or two while you're drinking the same beer with the same guys you would have had those shots not gone in and you won. Also, I doubt the rest of the guys in the room are beating themselves up for that missed that shot on a wide open net... or when they threw a pass into a guy's feet when he could have had a breakaway. My point is yes we all want to stop everything... and while understanding what you could maybe do differently to save a that same shot next time is import... it's just as important to note what you did do well and what was out of your control... times when you did your job. What matters most in beer league is having fun. No matter what level anyone on the ice played before... you're all on the same sheet now.

So after one goes in and you look to center ice where they're dropping the puck... take a split second and look down... you're in the crease... playing goalie... doing what you dreamed of... and while you may not be blessed with a bright white French Canadian set of teeth... smile.

MAF.jpg.1b545bb8cf4bdc6c092eb4117c22dcc8.jpg

Good stuff here - and yeah, it seems like the skaters can laugh off the missed marking, the failed pass, the whiffed shot. Arguably easier when you can slink off to the bench after, but still - lol!

Funny thing about that Fleury reference  is that I actually am half-French Canadian, and got the “good teeth gene” from my Mom’s side (vice The chalky dental gene from my Dad’s Scottish side... yikes!) So, yeah - I should smile more; why deprive the people of that pleasure? Lol!

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1 hour ago, coopaloop1234 said:

Speak for yourself, some of us are blessed with the massive chiclets.

@Lucky Pucker the advice that's been given here is top notch. One thing you will learn as the goalie years pile up is the recognition of what you can and cannot control and whether or not certain scenarios are within your skill set to save or if they were someone else's responsibility. It's tough to not save everything, but with time the perspective will shift and it won't weigh as heavily.

Though, never lose that drive to stop everything and to improve.

Thanks brother. I think the (lack of) experience is a key factor. In a way, I kind of think of it as “well, that’s one shit game out of the way; on to a stretch of better games now!”

Massive Canadian Chiclets FTW!! Lol!

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17 hours ago, Lucky Pucker said:

I like the idea, but TBH, a GoPro is probably a non-starter for me. On the odd occasion that my wife attends a skate, I do ask her to video short spurts with her phone, and even that has shown me what you describe (i.e. some "bad" stuff doesn't look so bad, and some "good" stuff doesn't look that good - LOL!) The  relative objectivity of the record is an excellent point, too. I mean, how many goalie classes/schools use tablets on ice now for teaching and learning - right?

I’m also a late comer to active play. I played goal for many years in my pre-teens but started up again this summer  at 33 at least 15 years off ice (still working toward the league play dream so cheers). 
 

I’ve really learned a ton from using my GoPro at practice (with a coach) and games. I got a cheep one for snowboarding but found I could tape the mount to a in-line hockey puck and it works well enough (I’d recommend a clip (alligator clip on the bar style if you can). 
 

I use it when I skate drills at S&Ps, during lessons, and any pick up I can. It really does help though I’d say with my tape puck the footage is 30% usable but still. 

Edited by benner33

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On 9/27/2019 at 2:25 PM, BadAngle41 said:

110% agreed w/ everything @Mroy31 posted. 

One aspect you have to remember is that you likely don't get time to practice the craft... you're always playing games. You're making adjustments to how you play during games. That's a lot to ask of yourself to do w/o getting good reps and creating that muscle memory many of us end up taking for granted... something I know I rely on a lot. The ability to turn off the noise around you or inside your head... trust yourself... and just do.

For me a good portion of the mental side also comes down to perspective... which in some cases comes with experience. You're beating yourself up after a loss about a goal or two while you're drinking the same beer with the same guys you would have had those shots not gone in and you won. Also, I doubt the rest of the guys in the room are beating themselves up for that missed that shot on a wide open net... or when they threw a pass into a guy's feet when he could have had a breakaway. My point is yes we all want to stop everything... and while understanding what you could maybe do differently to save a that same shot next time is import... it's just as important to note what you did do well and what was out of your control... times when you did your job. What matters most in beer league is having fun. No matter what level anyone on the ice played before... you're all on the same sheet now.

So after one goes in and you look to center ice where they're dropping the puck... take a split second and look down... you're in the crease... playing goalie... doing what you dreamed of... and while you may not be blessed with a bright white French Canadian set of teeth... smile.

MAF.jpg.1b545bb8cf4bdc6c092eb4117c22dcc8.jpg

Thank you for this post.  My mental game is probably my own worst enemy.  I like to think of myself as pretty modest.  Whenever I make a nice save I never gloat.  Whenever someone, teammate or opposition, praises me about said save I usually chalk it up to being lucky.  On the other hand I am always praising my guys when they make good plays.  Unfortunately, I am always very critical of myself and once I start playing poorly my mind goes racing.  I am always wondering what my teammates think about a goal I let up.  I always wonder if they think "god he sucks why didn't he save that" or something like that.  Or if they recognize that it was a great shot, a bang bang play, or a play that was a defensive breakdown.  Not being on the bench I don't hear them talking amongst themselves about how they contributed towards a goal against or plays they messed up in the offensive zone or goals they should have had but missed.  

Does anyone ever have these kinds of discussions with their teammates?

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