Why Goalies Need to Think Like A Sniper

Self-assessments are a great starting point to recognizing what your strengths and weaknesses are as a goalie. It’s one thing if a coach helps to identify what areas of the game you excel at and what areas you need to further develop. But, it’s something entirely different when you look in the mirror (so to speak) and do it to yourself.

For one, it increases your level of engagement and awareness about yourself as an athlete. And it’s not just about what you do on the ice. This brings me to the second benefit of a self-assessment. A good self-assessment can address everything away from the rink from how you eat, sleep, and prepare for games, practices and goalie training sessions, to how you manage your emotions when you’re team is winning, when the game is tied, when you’re losing, and everything in between.

I recently came across an article about Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and the journey he recently went through to become an upper echelon athlete. A few paragraphs stood out to me and got me thinking about self-assessments from a goalie’s perspective.

The following paragraphs describe the benefits of a self-assessment and the outcomes from going through the process.

"You have to have the player evaluate himself," said Sveum, The Kansas CIty Royals hitting coach now credited with helping that homegrown core become World Series Champions. "Go on the BATS machine: 'Look, how would you pitch yourself?'

"Learn from that. Obvioulsy, Rizzo made some huge adjustments. Even that first year I was there, he lowered his hands and he lowered his swing path.

"But he was able to do it. Hey, you suggest a lot of things to people and they can't do it. So you have to give credit."

He saw all his tendencies, his holes, his strengths, his weaknesses," Borzello said. "A lot of hitters always wonder: 'How is this team going to attack me?' But it's more than that: Why are they going to attck you that way?'

"I can show you the way, I can show you why a team would do this, because this is what I would do to you. I showed him what options I have to get ahead. I showed him what options I have to finish him. I showed him where I'm going to stay away from."

Don’t just think of a self-assessment from your perspective, as a goalie. To really expand your perspective, you have to think differently and maybe even think in a way you may not have fully considered before.

So, with this in mind, when was the last time you thought like a sniper, like one of the deadliest forwards you’ve ever faced?

Look at your game the way Rizzo did – at your tendencies, holes, strengths, weaknesses – and think to yourself, “If I was a forward, what would I do if I faced a goalie with my abilities? How would I score?” This thought process might open the floodgates for ideas and that’s okay. It’s all part of the process. Like I said, the best part of a self-assessment is that it will encourage you to think about things you might not have had the time to consider yet. That’s the point. You won’t ever improve your game if you go through the same old motions over and over again. This is why watching yourself on video is so crucial. The true measure of your talent as a goalie is determined by what you do in a game and how you perform in a variety of situations. The only way you can accurately evaluate your game is by watching yourself on video.

I haven’t mentioned this yet, but the importance of this point can’t be overstated: Be honest. There is no such thing as a perfect goalie. In fact, our job as goalie coaches isn’t to develop a perfect goalie. Our job is to help develop a well-rounded goalie with the ability and intelligence to adjust and adapt to the game as it happens.

As part of this process, it’s critical for goalies to conduct a self-assessment and put a plan in place to build on the strengths currently in place and close any gap in skill. The spring and summer months are a great opportunity to do just that. Contact us to get started!

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