It happens to even the best goaltenders. Nobody comes to the rink to play
poorly or allow a bad goal and those moments are often amplified by the
initial reaction when they do happen.
From minor hockey to the National Hockey League, mistakes happen, funny
bounces happen and goaltenders will more often than not be scored on at
least once per game. Knowing this means a need to manage that process
quickly and effectively.
Step 1: Recognize
and develop a plan
Goaltenders will allow goals, and sometimes they will appear to be easy
stops that somehow got away. They should have a plan (no more than 10
seconds) to manage their reaction to that moment so it doesn’t become a
momentum-changer or string of poor goals in short order.
What caused the goal? Was the shot taken for granted? Were steps skipped
that were normally followed?
Step 3: Bring closure
Breathe. It’s done, it's over and the goal is now in the past. Goaltenders
should never allow a negative thought to complete itself in their mind.
Always disrupt negative thoughts with positive affirmations.
Step 4: Compete
Bring back the competitive nature. Get ready to defend the net, and that
starts with physical presence. Dealing with goals against should be
approached the same as physical fitness. It is a muscle that needs to be
flexed often while working on the mental game. Goaltenders can have size,
skill, and technical and tactical skills, but if they fail to be strong
mentally the very foundation of a goaltender becomes flawed.