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You feel it hit leather, but hear the whistle. Despite your best shot (or, rather, theirs), the puck got by you. You feel upset, swear, and get to thinking about why you're not playing well. It's incredibly easy to judge yourself as bad, unprepared, not what you used to be. You might think about all the missed opportunities this week to do off-ice, eat better, sleep, or hit a stick'n'puck. The most important thing you can do for your game is to 'let go.' There's nothing you can do at that time to make up for missed opportunities - or missed shots. Your best best is to let yourself be as prepared as you are and refocus on the game. It's a hard pill to swallow, but self-acceptance is a powerful tool to help yourself move on and focus on the next play. Have questions or want a specific mental game topic discussed, just send me a message!
Most of your career, you’ve probably warmed-up with the rest of the team or been left to do your own thing. Either scenario leaves you with some know-how and knowledge gaps in exactly what a goaltender needs before a skate. Let’s get rid of the guesswork for you! Your position is unique, but only a fraction of your prep work needs to be goalie-specific. Let Dan Allison and Jess Buckley, Win Your Warm Up Co-Founders and professional strength coaches shed light on the process. When you’re in a pinch to get dressed for an adult league game, you can get away with some bare minimum stuff and still feel great: Release (optional; max five minutes) - This is your foam rolling or soft tissue work. It’s up to you which muscles and for how long you choose to roll. Resets (two minutes) - These give you range of motion back after being crunched up all day while also helping you relax out of that ‘wound up’ state. Readiness (five minutes) - It’s what you’re used to seeing; the drills that move you through your range of motion or give TLC to joints that gave you trouble in the past. In a pinch, that’s seven minutes to ensure you can breathe when the game’s hard and move in any direction at a moment’s notice. These tend to be good prep work regardless of your position. While Jess has done most of her work with skaters, Dan specializes in goalies at Omenvo Performance Academy, training folks from the NHL to college levels. So, what’s one thing Dan suggests about every goaltender do before they step on the ice? The 90/90 Hip Lift with Internal Rotation, which Dan explains, “helps prep the goalie to be able to rotate their hips inward and accept the stresses of typical goalie positions (RVH, Butterfly).” It’s easy-to-learn and you should feel the difference immediately - here’s how to do it. When you’re ready to learn some new warm-up drills, there’s resources out there for you! Two favorites are www.goalietrainingpro.com and www.theprehabguys.com. Both have a ton of anatomy, body care, and exercise technique information available. If the research seems daunting, eliminate the guesswork by letting Win Your Warm Up get your mental game and physical prep taken care of with a structured plan! However you choose to approach rule breaking and fact finding, have some fun with it and enjoy the process! If you’re looking for a few easy Release, Reset, and Readiness drills to get started, grab them here free.
Every week, I get asked: what’s one drill I can use to focus better? My answer...there isn’t one. There’s lots of drills, it’s just a matter of finding what fits you best. The common themes to any focus drill are simple - identify something that needs your attention, effortfully focus on it, and return your attention to it when you become distracted. That last part is the most challenging one for athletes - returning attention to something fluidly after they become distracted. It requires a few skills, like being okay with the fact that you got distracted. It’s literally impossible to focus perfectly. Second, it requires you to have the wherewithal to quickly notice that your mind wandered away and return attention without getting upset about drifting off. Here’s an easy drill to reel focus in: Notice you’re distracted. Find what’s most important to your game in front of you. Focus on it. Sometimes that easy drill is easier said than done. You may find you need a bridge between the present moment and the distraction to help you ‘dial it in.’ For example: Notice you’re distracted. Quickly turn your attention to finding and feeling your center of gravity in your stance. Turn attention to what’s most important to the game in front of you. Focus on it. That little bridge between a distraction and the present moment is helpful, if you’re having trouble focusing and getting your mind off distractions. You get your mind off of something distracting long enough - onto something controllable, always present, and tangible - that refocusing on what’s really important becomes easier. Experiment with this drill and see how it goes! If you like it or want to really integrate mental skills training into your game play, check out Win Your Warm Up. It’s an online mental skills training platform that teaches you the mental game, warm up drills, and then how to integrate mental training into your pregame warm-up routine to play focused and feel ready. Give these skills a try for a week and see what happens to both your game and how you feel while you play. When you can't focus, you can't play your best. For goalies serious about building advanced focus skills and preparing well, take a look at Win Your Warm Up (www.winyourwarmup.com). WYW is an online platform teaching you mental skills and physical drills to perfect your pregame prep. You play your best focused and ready! Enjoy playing more focused and feel free to comment if you've got questions or situations to troubleshoot! Best, Mike Stacey firstname.lastname@example.org Co-Founder, Win Your Warm Up Owner, Mike Stacey Mental Skills (MS2)
Goalies and skaters ask, 'how do I be a better teammate?' While I can provide guidance, the real experts are typically in the locker room with you. Whether there's someone specific in mind or your asking the question as a general how-to, the best source for answers is your team. Clear communication of needs and preferences can go a long way. Your teammates know or have a general idea about: -What they need from you, so they can perform in-game (i.e. execute on strategy) -What they need from you, so they can be prepared for a game (space and quiet, to talk and joke, someone to stick handle and pass with, a few reps of some type of shot, etc.) -How they prefer to communicate (in-game, after losses, getting feedback, discussing concerns) -Their personal needs after significant game events, like a loss, injury, bad shift, penalty, etc. -The dynamics and functioning of the team from their perspective and their role in it Your teammates might have an idea about all of the above-listed things specific to you, but don't know for certain. Open lines of communication make it easier for everyone on the team to get what they need to play their best, feel supported and like they're providing support, eliminate assumptions or latent frustrations created through a lack of communication, and enjoy the experience of adult league more overall. In having these conversations, be willing to enter them without judgement, objectively, and with a real interest in listening and executing. I hope this helps! By all means, shoot me topics to write about! Keep your stick on the ice, Mike Stacey Stacey and Associates Athletics www.staceyandassociatesathletics.com Twitter: @MikeatSandA Instagram: @S_and_A_Athletics