Tryouts and the beginning of the season are upon us. By now, you should be movin’ and groovin’. You’ve put in the extra time in the off-season to heighten your game with stickwork, solo drills, and shots. Your confidence is high. You’re feeling good. Keep that rolling.
One of the most important things you can do is to carry confidence into tryouts. Goalies—competitive athletes—are either fighting to keep their starting position, fighting to gain ground on another goalie, or fighting just get noticed by the coaches. In the end, one way to accomplish this is to have the confidence to get the job done. If you are unsure and wilt, it will show—and not for the better.
For those who didn’t make the team the previous year, it can be stressful. But only if you make it so. You don’t know what the coaches are thinking, and you shouldn’t make up stories is your head about what others are thinking.
As a coach and former high-level player, my message to all goalies is this:
- Be confident. Those who are more confident and trust their game make good things happen. Leave any arrogance at home. Arrogance doesn’t win you anything.
- Raise your game. Show that you’ve grown from last year and that you can be counted on.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Get a hard ground ball, take charge on a clear, communicate louder, encourage others more often. Add to your all-around game to improve your status.
- Don’t try to do too much. You want to show you’ve grown since last year, but when you try to do EVERYTHING in the world, you can lose focus on the core of your job.
- Focus on yourself. There can be distractions at times, but only worry about your game and making others better.
- DON’T WORRY! Good things will happen, and not-so-good things will happen. Enjoy the great plays, and learn something from all plays! DO NOT get frustrated, no matter the situation. Move on from the previous play and seek the next opportunity to shine!
At the end of the day, play your game. Do not let another goalie’s play determine your outlook and confidence. If you focus on your game at the highest level, your play will speak for itself. If you worry about how someone else is playing, you become distracted, which stops you from focusing 100 percent on playing your best. On the field, show your strengths, and try one or two things that are out of your comfort zone. On the sidelines, be a great teammate and encourage others. Make people take notice.
Work hard, trust in yourself, your game, and all the preparation you’ve done leading up to the first day. If you’ve prepared and practiced, you’ll be ready for whatever is thrown your way (literally!).