As we approach the end of our camp and summer it is time for the goalies to begin thinking of try-outs for their respected association. I think it is safe to say most goalies do not understand how to prepare themselves for this stressful time of the year so I have listed general tips on how to approach this period of the season so the goalie can perform to the best of his ability.
- Tryouts typically cause stress for all goalies and their families but, at the end of the day, the world does not end if a team is not made.
- Be physically prepared if you are Bantam or above in age. Of course will not hurt a Pee Wee or Squirt to be generally in shape but it is particularly important for the top two age groups in youth hockey. If you sat around playing video games all summer, do not expect to make the top teams. There are only so many positions available.
- Equipment must be ready so there are no problems at the tryout. If you straps are worn, get them replaced. If the laces for your toe straps are in poor shape, get them fixed. If webbing in your catch glove needs re-strung, get it done. Most problems can be taken to Players Bench for repair and/or your local leather repair shop. Last thing you need is to worry about gear problems.
- Drink water so you are well-hydrated before you arrive. On days of tryouts, water should be consumed throughout the day. Caffeinated drinks are not a good idea – particularly the high energy drinks.
- As with hydration, make sure you have eaten well 2-3 hours before the tryout session begins. Healthy food – no fast food.
- Rest is vital. You cannot be up late the night before playing video games or hanging-out. If you are tired, performance will suffer.
- You need to be early to check-in. If you are running late, focus will be on getting ready in time instead of the task at hand. I recommend being at the rink one hour early and in the locker room 45 minutes before the ice session begins.
- While in locker room, don’t socialize with other players. Your focus will be lost and so will be your ability to play your best. Side note, in higher level tryouts, such as AAA or good AA teams in Bantam or above, most of the time the players yakking it up in the locker room are rarely ever named to the team.
- Work hard for every shot. As stated in earlier post (and trivia question), you never know when a coach is watching.
- Worry only about what you can control, which is your preparation and performance.
- Do not pay attention to how other goalies are playing. There is nothing you can do about how they perform so concentrate only on yourself.
- Battle for everything. Never give up regardless of chance of making the save. Many goalies have been picked over better goalies because coaches love kids who work for everything they have and show a willingness to compete.
If you can follow these steps, your chances of making the team of your choice will increase. If you don’t, move on because it may be a better situation. You never know.