Coach Nielsen's Ice Hockey Drills

Goalies Need Validation

To keep their confidence high, many goalies need some sort of validation that they are indeed doing well. The best form of validation is to finish a game with lots of saves made and few goals allowed. This accomplishment can be particularly difficult for goalies on good teams who are not getting a lot of work. They may allow few goals but make relatively few saves. And in a 7-2 win, for example, they might wonder how significant their particular contributions were. There is a story of one established NHL goalie, in his prime, complaining in mid-game that the saves he made weren’t going up on the arena scoreboard’s “shots” section fast enough. He sent someone up to the operator’s booth between periods to make sure the saves were logged in as he made them. He drew confidence from seeing these saves recorded. That was part of his validation. The coach must be aware of this phenomenon should his or her goalie battle confidence streaks. One tack is to point out to a goalie that there are a lot of positive contributions made by a goalie in a game beyond saves. In one game recently, a goalie deflected six passes intended for the goal mouth in the last half of the game. Each one of those passes, had they connected, would have resulted in a prime scoring opportunity. None did and the goalie did not receive any “stats” to show for it. The same scenario comes about when a goalie smartly ties up a loose puck, for example, when his team is under siege. The act of getting a whistle amid chaos is something a goalie should be commended for but it is an act without visible stats. The coach can point these things out to a goalie, making sure he knows that those “little things” are important and they have been noticed. This provides much needed validation.

Contributed by Joe Bertagna

Filed under: Goaltender, , ,

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