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Getting out of a slump


Max27
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Max! I know it sounds like I'm reading this off of a poster on the cubicle wall, but have a positive mental attitude. I try to remind myself that the reason I can judge whether I'm doing well or doing poorly with anything is because I already have experienced times in which I have been really, really good or... really, really bad. You haven't just all of the sudden gotten worse, lost experience or intellect, or changed in any dramatic way, right? I suspect not, so try to apply some of whatever you believe prefaced your best times on the ice and see what shakes out.

Additionally, I suggest that you 'don't care': Don't absorb so much from a rough patch that you become the rough patch. Leave it right where it is. Yeah, I know that's a little cerebral, but this is likely all in your head anyway, so...

Finally: I, too, am going through a rough patch. I have felt rickety out there due to some light fatigue and lack of attention to adequate preparation. This is what happens with greater responsibility to other things and advancing age and injury. I could get mad or depressed, but I'd be much better served trying to find a way to fix these things, trying to be better, and trying be happy that I even have the opportunity to play hockey. Each time on the ice could be viewed with the dread that I may play, or just feel, terrible, but each time is too precious to dwell on either of those negatives.

Edited by dualshowman
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The "mantra" that I teach all my goalies (and that I use myself) is: "Next shot, next save". I started this with myself because we ALL have bad games/patches. Fact is, what has already happened, has happened, so it doesn't matter any more. The next shot should be your only concern, not the previous 10 or the last 5 games. Those DON'T MATTER!

 That's the very simplified way of saying it. Fact is, when you get into your own head, it's really hard to pull yourself out again (especially quickly). By focusing on something (next shot), I am able to maintain my head-space without letting the game/play affect me. It takes time to learn to control your head-spaces, to let things slide off you and to let things go.

 So for your next practice or game, go into thinking about today and not yesterday. Let the past go and play in the moment. I know all of that is cliche' or whatever, but it's what I do personally. It's what my students learn. I promise, it helps.

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Couple of practical things that have definitely helped me when I've been feeling shitty about my game:

  • Get a GoPro / similar camera up behind the net in practices or games (if you're allowed). A camera is the great equaliser - if you have a bad game you'll probably see shots that went in that you didn't have much of a chance on, and if you have a great game you might see that the D helped you a lot. In my last training session I had a guy who isn't much of shooter come down the wing and rip a shot from the face-off dot, over my shoulder and into the top corner. When I watched the video back I realised that I probably could of stayed up on the shot, but the D man covering the guy stepped in front just as the shot was being released and ramped the puck up off his blade! These are things you don't necessarily see in the heat of the moment, so I went from the 'bad goal' mindset to a 'eh...played that as well as I could...nothing much you can do about the deflection 🤷‍♂️' mindset instead.
  • Get ahold of either one of the Justin Goldman books ('The Power Within' is a good one) or Ken Dryden's 'The Game', its always good to read about how even top level pros struggle with these things. Definitely gives you a 'not alone in this' perspective, and from my experience just reading about the game reminds you that it should be fun again.
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2 hours ago, raucebyalien said:

Couple of practical things that have definitely helped me when I've been feeling shitty about my game:

  • Get a GoPro / similar camera up behind the net in practices or games (if you're allowed). A camera is the great equaliser - if you have a bad game you'll probably see shots that went in that you didn't have much of a chance on, and if you have a great game you might see that the D helped you a lot. In my last training session I had a guy who isn't much of shooter come down the wing and rip a shot from the face-off dot, over my shoulder and into the top corner. When I watched the video back I realised that I probably could of stayed up on the shot, but the D man covering the guy stepped in front just as the shot was being released and ramped the puck up off his blade! These are things you don't necessarily see in the heat of the moment, so I went from the 'bad goal' mindset to a 'eh...played that as well as I could...nothing much you can do about the deflection 🤷‍♂️' mindset instead.
  • Get ahold of either one of the Justin Goldman books ('The Power Within' is a good one) or Ken Dryden's 'The Game', its always good to read about how even top level pros struggle with these things. Definitely gives you a 'not alone in this' perspective, and from my experience just reading about the game reminds you that it should be fun again.

I’m just getting into this after a break from childhood and I’ve been filming every game / skate I can for this reason. It helps. 

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Try to have fun. I can hear you take pride in yourself and game but [i feel] unless you're getting paid to play and expected to play good every time all the time don't be too hard on yourself.

Take a few days off from goalie if you can. 

Edited by Scythe
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I feel where you’re coming from. I couldn’t stop anything a couple months ago due in part to some personal issues and to not getting played. Throughout that time I worked on being faster in practice, making my movements more refined so I didn’t have to move as much and having fun whenever I could. Whether that’s a big ol pad stack on a breakaway drill or just shooting the puck it helps me a ton.

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Recently had the same situation going on for me, I just came back from not playing for a while and was playing on a fresh team at a new rink and I embarrassed myself and played like shit for 3/4 games. The biggest thing that got me playing better was stopped thinking of trying to wow people and make great awesome saves, but to focus on the fundamentals and just play solid. I had the bad habit of thinking I'm better and can make that save which would lead to me getting scored on a lot. I started treating each shot/ pass like it could connect or score so I would always be in the right position possible. look on the bright side you aren't getting blown out of the water each game 3 goals is not bad. my first two games back at higher level I let in 8!!

focus on things you can control in the game, and try to forget about things you cant like bad broken plays or your team leaving you out to dry on a 2 v 0

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