What Hockey Goalie Self Talk Looks Like
The hockey goalie knows that they are the last line of defense between their team and a score for the opposition. That is a lot of responsibility. And usually, the goalie believes that it is ALL their responsibility, which may or may not be true.
Why have defenseman on the ice if not to support the defense, including the goalie.
But when the goalie believes that stopping that puck is completely in their hands, any time they don’t make that save, they will likely have some of these thoughts.
I should have stopped that save.
Your goalie will beat themselves up inside believing that they ‘should’ have stopped each and every save during a game. Yet, honestly, that just isn’t possible. But to them they think it should be. And notice the number of ‘should’s’ that populate this thinking.
I should have had my glove up.
The goalie is telling themselves that they ‘should’ have been able to know exactly which way the puck was going to come at them. Is that really possible? No. Not even the top NHL goalies can read the play and the puck moment each and every time. It’s just not possible.
I should have moved more to the left/right.
This is your goalie second guessing what the play was going to look like. And that’s not possible. Play on the ice happens so fast that at times it looks like it’s not planned. And we both know that’s not the case, because coaches have set plays, they talk to their teams about.
Yet especially in front of the net, when the puck is loose and bouncing around, it is not always possible to know who is going to move the puck to which position on the ice.
I should have been square to my crease.
Maybe your goalie started to have a drop in confidence [link to other article]. That meant they moved forward out of their crease more than usual. This is probably the truest of all the other beliefs that are listed on this page.
And yet, the whole reason the goalie was out of their crease was their thought patterns, which led them to lose confidence in themselves. If that hadn’t occurred in the first place, this wouldn’t have been an issue.
I couldn’t see the puck and that means I wasn’t doing my best.
As an observer of the game you aren’t always able to see the puck on the ice are you? The same will go for the players, due to the fast nature of ice hockey generally. It’s therefore natural that at times a player, or goalie can’t see the puck.
Yes, it is expected that they will be able to track the puck, as that is part of ice hockey. And in reality it is not always something that happens.
Just because they can’t see the puck in one or two plays doesn’t mean they weren’t doing their best. If they were to ask their fellow team mates how many times they can’t see the puck when they’re on the ice, I’m sure they would be surprised by the answer.
Setting such high expectations
The issue is that most goalies, sometimes their parents, and often their Coach, set high expectations for a goalie. These are often unrealistic. Especially when all things such as age, experience, teams played against, etc. is taken into consideration.
Your goalie is likely to have set EXTREMELY high expectations of themselves. Maybe its time to let them know that those expectations might be very unrealistic in the scheme of things.
Goalies are part of a team. Together Everyone Achieves More.
Karen Cherrett is a Sports Mindset Coach who specializes in coaching hockey players. Karen teaches, players to manage their inner mind chatter and play with ease, not stress. And their parents to support their child in the mental space. Life playing hockey should be fun. Mindset matters. Mental health matters. Hockey should be fun, not emotionally overloading.