Top Ten Reasons for Goaltending Success – McKichan

McKinchanStephen McKichan is a well-known goalie coach who was the Toronto Maple Leaf’s goalie coach until this past season. He runs a very successful goalie school in the Toronto-area, Future Pro (, and contributes to Goalie’s World.

Below is an article he wrote a few years ago about ten characteristics of success in goaltending and making to the NHL. All goalies who want to become the best they can be, regardless of pro ambitions, should take McKichan’s Top Ten Reasons seriously and adapt them into their development plan.

“Over the years I have often pondered why hockey players and goaltenders in particular rise above and make it to the NHL. Why do so many end up driving the ice resurfacer, selling value meals at a fast food restaurant, or eternally reminding the customer,”You must pay before you pump after 11:00 pm, Sir.” (Not that those are bad career choices!) From the home office in Sioux City, Iowa here are the Top Ten Reasons for Success:

 1. Want it more than your parents
2. Ability to recognize and study successful peers.
3. Willing to experiment.
4. Able to handle praise and attention properly and with perspective.
5. Hockey is a healthy full-time obsession.
6. Able to work longer and harder than real or imagined peers. If you already work harder than anyone you know does, you must recognize that there is probably someone you don’t know doing more than you. This is a powerful motivator.
7. Able to internalize confidence. Show people how good you are, don’t tell them.
8. Able to handle constructive criticism. If you are already that perfect why aren’t you in the NHL?
9. Continued practice on weakness. You must assess, recognize and accept weakness in certain areas. Develop and perfect weaknesses. Challenge weakness, don’t ignore it.
10. Continued practice on skills already mastered. I always run into goalies that don’t need to work on a certain element of the game because they already have it down. All goaltenders in the NHL continue to work on basics like movement, rebound control and recoveries.

99% of current NHL players never made it there solely on the talent they were born with. They experienced benching, political team cuts, lost parental popularity contests, bad injuries, bad timing, bad teammates, bad coaches and a litany of other potential career stoppers. They rose above doubters, they rose above jealousy, and they rose above common and uncommon excuses for failure. Simply put, they single-handedly did it.”


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