Staying Composed during Playoffs an Overview

It’s that time of the season again goalies! The pressure is heightened and the competition level has tripled. You have spent all season working on your technique and skills and now in playoffs you must feel confident in your abilities. Playoffs can be a roller coaster of emotions and how you cope with them, will dictate your success!

I have always found how you react to a win or a loss can impact the next game. It's common after a win you feel untouchable. You go into the next game with extra confidence which can be good but can also develop unrealistic expectations. This is referred as "getting too high, or too low". Be confident but be prepared. Reset before each game. Similar to a win you must also hit the reset button and move on after a loss. You should reflect on your game, and assess both the positive and negative aspects of your play. Remember, this is one game within a series and after a night’s rest you need to be prepared to move forward. You can not dwell on the last game as it will affect your mental state moving forward.

It is very important to be mentally prepared before getting on the ice. Two aspects of mental preparation are visualization and a positive attitude. With visualization you allow yourself to run through many different situations that can happen during the game.

Its best to visualize each play or situation prior to game time as you are syncing your mind with your body. After visualization, once you step on the ice you feel as though you have gone through every save that will come your way.

Next a positive attitude will set the tone for the game before even stepping on the ice. Pump yourself up on the ride into the rink with your favorite song. Give yourself a little self-talk in the change room or while stretching.

“I have trained for this”

“I have a strong and skilled team”

“Be mentally strong”

"have a short memory"

Whatever you feel will set your mind set.

Once on the ice keep the positive vibes rolling. A lot of goalies will get down on themselves after a goal and start thinking negatively. In the playoffs, you cannot afford to think this way. The moment a goalie gets down in the playoffs the opposing team will capitalize. Use that positive self-talk, shake it off, and focus. Your body language and continued positive outlook will be a stabilizing pillar that will encourage your team.