I found a great article by Mitch Corn that talks about the importance of mindset for a goalie. I was nodding my head reading it because it is true, what he says, that mindset and their confidence plays a big part in their game.
The ways that he mentions you can become aware of a drop in your goalies confidence are:
- Equipment problems. He says they constantly blame or have fault with their equipment
- The Defense. He explains how the goalie will blame the defense for what happened.
- Positioning changes in the net. Goaltenders either come too far out of the net or stay too far back in the net.
- Mood change. He describes a goalie being either incredibly quiet or overly cocky
- Guessing or flopping much more than normal. Leaving their feet or as he calls it “swimming on the ice”
Notice the Signs
There will be basic tell-tale signs that you, as a parent, are likely to see in their game too as soon as their confidence begins to waver. You may notice their head drop more. They will spend time moving around and not focused on the game. I’ve watched goalies move and go through rituals to try and distract themselves or perhaps more to the point try and talk themselves into being okay mentally.
This tells me they have a lot of mind chatter or mind noise going on that is not necessarily good. And this noise will be having a negative impact on their confidence level.
Your Own Version of Dipping Confidence
You’ve probably had that experience yourself where you’ve been doing something, and it hasn’t gone to plan. Your mind goes into trying to work out what you did wrong or could have done differently. You second guess yourself, doubt your abilities and even possibly question why you are there doing what you are doing.
Welcome to your goalie’s mind.
This could be exactly what is happening for them, on the ice, in the middle of the game. Now you understand why you are seeing their confidence dip.
Of course, you can’t leave the stand and go have a talk to your child in the middle of the game.
The key is awareness. Noticing the signs of their confidence dip, then having a conversation or two with them after the game.
No Need to Mention Confidence
You don’t need to mention confidence in your conversation. It is easy to start the conversation with “How are you feeling about the game today” and notice I didn’t say ‘YOUR’ game today. When you feel down the last thing you want is someone digging into the mistakes you think you are making.
And this will be their thought pattern, most likely, when they are in this confidence slump space.
By getting them to talk about the broader game you get a feel for how much of the blame they place elsewhere. This is like the barometer as to the level of their self-confidence in my book.
The more blame on others, and outside influences, the lower their self confidence level. If they are only blaming those things in a small way, then they are feeling more confident and just a little off kilter.
Help them to express how they are feeling. Even speaking about it out loud will support them on the journey to let go of the self-doubt.
Karen Cherrett is a Sports Mindset Coach who specializes in coaching hockey players. Karen coaches, players to be more focused and play with ease, not stress. And their parents to support their child in the best possible way. Life playing hockey should be fun. Mindset matters. Mental health matters. Hockey should be fun, not emotionally overloading.