Plenty of critics will tell you that goaltending is 90% mental. Is it really?
Any skilled performance has a mental component. At the elite level in any sport, the difference in skill between Player A and Player B is probably minimal, so what makes Player A more successful? If skill levels are equal, then the mental component can be the pivotal difference, perhaps even enough to overcome a disadvantage in skill. No better example exists than goaltending in the playoffs. Reporters cling to the teams with the “hot goalie” and every year there seem to be prime examples of goaltenders bringing it in the playoffs (Halak with the Habs and Anderson with the Avalanche are current examples).
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In Patrick Roy’s words “For goaltenders everything is playing between your ears. If you can believe it, you can do it. If you’re not confident when you start, it makes a difference.” As a young goaltender, how do you develop this confidence? How do you become mentally tough? How can you put yourself in the zone? These are the types of questions we (at EXACT Sports) continually ask ourselves. Our mental diagnostics are designed to provide a unique portrait of who you are and help you learn more about how to improve the psychological aspect of your game. We designed these tools and they are currently used by the NHL and over 100 NCAA programs (Read about EXACT and the sport psychology done at the NHL combine). EXACT’s new summer college hockey camp program (National College Development Clinic) brings these same tools to high school athletes across the country. In addition, all camps will be led by current NCAA college coaches. Over 25 different NCAA college hockey programs committed to instruct at our hockey camps this summer, including coaches from programs such as Mercyhurst College, Syracuse University, University of North Dakota, Amherst College, Gustavus Adolphus and many others.
Most players I know spend hours everyday working on their physical skills, but very few (actually none really), give much thought on mental training. The main reason is they probably have never been taught how to develop the mental aspect of their game. Now is the time to start! If you want to surpass the player next to you, you need to start training your brain too. Start your hockey mental training today.