How to Stay Sharp When You're Not Playing

With more and more teams having two skilled goalies capable of performing at a high level, the days of

clearly distinguished roles as 'starter' and 'backup' are nearly gone. And as the skills gap between two

goalies becomes smaller, goalies can't really afford to take a night off when they have, well, a night off.

Long gone are the days of goalies on the bench becoming Professional Door Openers or Master Water

Bottler Filler Uppers or Bench Warming Specialist.

Here are a few tips to help you stay sharp when you’re not playing:

1) See the puck. Be the puck

No matter how many articles or blogs on the subject you read, one of the most important things you can

do is visualize what's happening in the game. Literally, go through the movements, situations, and

patterns as soon as the play becomes threatening. Think about what YOU would do in the net.

2) Talk it up!

Over the course of a season, backup goalies save the lives of their teammates by yelling "HEADS UP!"

when danger is approaching. It could be an opposing player bearing down for a hit, a forechecker

coming in with lots of speed, the referee getting in the way (hey, it happens!). Anything you can think of

that requires some communication, do it.

This will keep you engaged in the game and aware of what's happening in real time. Also, don't for one

second underestimate your ability to positively influence the mood of your teammates. Remember:

You're all in this together. No matter what role anyone ha