Tuesday, April 5, 2011

File #:12 Subject: The Mental Game of Hockey

Driving home from playing hockey, I like to reflect on how I played.  On my way home tonight I realized that I need to start working on the mental part of my game as much as I work on my technique and stamina.  Without sounding too bigheaded, I know I have improved my game tremendously.  I feel like I have reached the point where my mind is starting to hinder my game.  I can make hard saves fairly consistently now, but I also still let soft goals in.  Tonight for example, I had a save where I had to dive across the crease to glove the puck off the goal line, and then I had a nice glove save off a screened shot.  The next play after the glove save, I froze on a head fake, and he put the puck right through my five hole.  Needless to say I had a few choice words with myself for letting that through.  Now worrying that I'll let another like the last one by, I wasn't able to fully focus on the play behind my net, a very well placed pass across the slot to an open man went top shelf.  That goal would have been a hard for save for a veteran goalie, but I feel like if I was more focused I might have been able to cheat over a little, maybe get lucky and get the shaft of my stick on it.  I need to learn to stay in the moment, not in the future, not in the past.  The time to reflect on plays is after the game.  Looking back on the five hole goal, more practice will fix that.  The top shelf goal, recognizing the play, and communicating with the D will help that.  Once I learn to focus on the present instead of the past or future, I think my game will take another good step up.  Hopefully I can remember this tomorrow when I play again.  Videos to come soon!

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