“The three things a goalie must learn to manage are his emotions, his focus, and his attitude. Of course, these are the same three qualities that any player must master, but the challenge a goalie faces are unique and more intense. Everyone can make a mistake, but for the goalie the puck (and accountability) stops here!
“Tending goal means tending your emotions. Your shift lasts the full 60 minutes, during which you must maintain a razor-sharp edge whenever the opposition has the puck. To survive and excel you have to be able to stay sharp and keenly focused, to be on edge as the puck moves towards your end of the rink, and then be able to release unnecessary tension when the pressure subsides.
“A goalie has to maintain a sharp focus on the puck and the play for long periods of time. He must know who is on the ice as well as where they are, and he must often fight for clear sight lines to see the puck. He must also be able to tune out such distractions as being jostled or bumped in the crease or allowing a soft goal to bother him. Nothing must affect the goalie’s focus or judgement.
“Attitude is what sustains any player through the hockey wars. The key attitude components for goalies are the same as for forwards and defensemen: commitment, confidence, and a positive identity – ‘I am’ and ‘I can'”
The above quote was taken from Saul L. Miller’s excellent book “The Complete Player: The Psychology of Winning Hockey” which is out-of-print but can still be found (http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Player-Psychology-Winning-Hockey/dp/0773762213/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242658509&sr=8-1). Miller’s follow-up is “Hockey Tough” (http://www.amazon.com/Hockey-Tough-Saul-L-Miller/dp/0736051236/ref=pd_sim_b_1)
In the following weeks this website will include posts on how goalies can better manage the three areas Miller described in the above passage. A goalie can have all the physical talent in the world but if he can’t manage these three areas, he will never achieve his potential.