TRAINING THE GOALIE’S MIND By John Haley www.TheGoaliesMind.

com Peak Performance Coach © Copyright 2004-2008, All Rights Reserved, The Goalies Mind

© Copyright 2004-2008, The Goalie’s Mind, All Rights Reserved

Table of Contents: • • • • • • • • • Introduction The Psychology Of Goaltending Getting “In The Zone” Using Audio Imagery and Visualization Using Video The Concept Behind The Goalie’s Mind Mental Training Methods Recommended Resources About The Author

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Introduction To be a successful goaltender, you have to be fully committed to learning everything you can about the position and about the game of Hockey. You need to spend a great deal of time physically training your body, practicing game situations over and over, and working on your mind. This ebook focuses on training your mind. This is, what I feel, the missing ingredient for many goalies in reaching their full potential. The majority of committed goalies will spend several hours a week practicing the physical game. I recommend that you study the physical game of goaltending, and you seek out the best goalie coach you can find to make sure you are practicing correctly. If you don’t have proper coaching, you could be practicing the wrong moves, the wrong angles, improper reactions, and bad save selection. If you wait too long to get good coaching and instruction, you will need to unlearn everything you’ve been practicing before relearning the proper techniques. This can be a monumental task. Get the right coaching early. Young goalies today have access to so many great goalie camps, books, manuals, videos, and personal instruction. Make this a priority in your training. You must continually work on your physical game the right way as a first step toward achieving full potential as a goaltender. Intense training of your body through repetition of the proper movements, techniques, skating, balance, angles, and save selection will give you the muscle memory to make your reactions automatic during games. The more automatic that you can make your reactions, the more you can concentrate and focus on the game situation in front of you. This will also build your confidence which you’ll need in order to have the right frame of mind when playing in games. It is universally agreed that goaltending is over 80% mental. What this means is that no matter how good you are at the physical game, if your mind isn’t working the way it should, you will never be able to fully utilize your physical skills in competition. Training the mind is often overlooked or ignored by young goalies. This has a lot to do with a lack of awareness of just how important this aspect of your game really is. Also, training your mind is not an easy thing to do. First, you need to know what to do, and then you need to put as much time, or even more time into working on your mental game as you do working on your physical game. The other obstacle in your way is a real lack of instruction and training tools available. This ebook is going to give you a good baseline of understanding around what you need to work on in order to train your mind. Understanding what you need to do is a good first step. You will also learn techniques and strategies you can use

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on a daily basis to train your mind properly. It may be uncomfortable for you at first, but this is no different from the day when you strapped on the pads for the first time and tried to stop the puck. I’m sure you have come a long way since that day. Make the commitment to learn how to train your mind. Don’t wait until you feel you have gotten as far as you can with your physical game. You need to start now! Every year, as you progress through the various levels of Hockey, the play is going to get faster, the shots are going to get harder and more accurate, and the level of your mental game is going to become more and more important. You are going to face coaches that will challenge you mentally. At the higher, more competitive levels of Hockey, coaches are very demanding. They won’t hesitate to replace you or cut you from the team if you can’t handle the pressure. In your early years, good coaches can tend to be very supportive and positive with you. They have more patience while you are learning the game. Later on, things start to change, and if you aren’t ready to handle it mentally, your confidence can disappear, and your anxiety can rise to a level that strangles your ability to perform at your best. You need to build a fortress of confidence, and a rock solid mental attitude, so that even the toughest of coaches can’t negatively affect your play. At the higher, more competitive levels of Hockey, your teammates can also be merciless. They will expect you to be on your game at all times. When you perform well, you’ll be their hero. As soon as you have a few off games, you’ll become the object of their criticism and frustration. Many of them will let you know it too. If you are vulnerable mentally, your confidence can go out the window quickly. This will also effect how your team plays in front of you. If they lose their confidence in you, they won’t play well when you are in the net. This information is not meant to scare you; it is only meant to prepare you. The bottom line is that if you start working hard on your mental game now, and you commit yourself to building a wall of confidence and positive thinking, you can get yourself to a place where nothing bothers you when you play goalie. You will be able to let the negativity of others roll off your shoulders. You will be able to take the constructive criticism and instruction from your coaches and use it, while tuning out all of the negative comments and added pressure that comes with competitive Hockey. You will be “untouchable.” This should be your main goal as you begin your journey of training your mind.

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The Psychology Of Goaltending We hear this a lot, but we don’t always take the time to fully understand everything that goes into the psychology of goaltending. I am going to attempt to break this down to very simple concepts. Let’s start with confidence. Confidence is the absolute number one priority in playing at your best. You need to believe, at a subconscious level, that you are good and that you have the ability to stop the puck in every situation that you face. You have to completely believe in yourself and your ability to play at the level you are at. You need to be completely void of all self-doubt and secondguessing. Your internal thoughts need to be constantly positive. You need to build on each success that you have. This starts in practice. You need to take practice very seriously. You need to build off each success that you have in practice. Most importantly, when you make a mistake, or when a goal is scored, you need to look at it as a learning event. Spend a moment thinking about what you did wrong and what you should have done instead. Visualize mentally exactly what you should have done… then let it go. This is very important. You cannot get frustrated, down on yourself, or angry when a learning event occurs. Whether it occurs in a practice or in a game, look at it objectively. If it happens in a game, even if everyone on your team, everyone in the audience, and even your coach gets frustrated with you, you must be able to tune all of this out. Worrying about all of that does you absolutely no good. Learn what you can from it, and then let it go. Concentrate on the next play, and focus on doing your best. If negative thoughts enter your mind, let them drift right on through and let them go on their way. Replace them with positive thoughts and focus on the moment, not the past or what might happen in the future. Focus on what is happening right at that moment and do your job. On the other hand, when you have a successful event, you should build off of it. When you stop a breakaway or when you make a save, notice the feelings that you have. Feel your confidence building. Use that confidence and concentrate on getting ready for the next play. Notice every success and feel good about each one, but learn from and then let go of any mistake. The next concept in the psychology of goaltending that is important to understand is your internal self-talk. The average person has over 60,000 thoughts a day, and most of those thoughts, for many people, are negative. Learning how to talk positively to yourself at all times is very important, but also takes real hard work and effort to learn how to do. You need to work on this constantly- not just when you are playing goalie. You need to learn how to talk positively to yourself all the time. I recommend that the first step you take is to start listening to your self-talk. Notice every thought that you think through out the

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day. You need to become aware of what you are saying to yourself. What you think is what you become. For example, if you drop a plate of food and you say to yourself, “I’m such a klutz!” You are reinforcing that feeling about yourself and the more you say it, the more that becomes your identity. You will continue to be clumsy and become more of a “klutz” if you don’t change your self-talk. That is just one example, but if you make the effort to listen to your self-talk through out the day, you will likely hear similar negative statements. The reverse is true. Say you are going in to take an important test, and you say to yourself, “I am great at taking tests!” You will continue to reinforce that positive belief about yourself, and you will continue to be a great test taker. You will have a low level of anxiety during the test and thus will be able to perform at your best. After you become aware of your self-talk, you need to take steps to start to make your self-talk positive. You need to start to feed your subconscious with the positive statements that will build your confidence and help you to become the person, and the goalie, that you want to become. The subconscious mind accepts whatever you feed it. The more you feed it the same thought, the more you will believe it. Most people don’t pay attention to the diet they are feeding their subconscious. They are giving up control over their belief system and who they become. This can be avoided if you make the effort to feed your subconscious a steady diet of the exact thoughts and beliefs that you want it to consume. You do have control over what you believe about yourself if you work at it. How do you work at it? Well, you need to first determine the exact thoughts and beliefs that you want to program into your subconscious. Write out all the beliefs that you want to have about yourself and about your goaltending. Write them out as 8 to 15 word affirmations. The shorter the better. Long affirmations will take a lot longer to install. They should be written in the first person and in the present tense. In other words, they should read like this: “I always play my best against the toughest teams.” Every day, you should read your affirmations 3 times each, stated 3 different ways. The first time, you should state the affirmation with no emotion. The second time you should add some emphasis to the object of your affirmation. For example, the second time you read the affirmation, you should state it like this (emphasis on the bold words): “I always play my best against the toughest teams.” The third time, you should state it firmly with confidence. Hang the affirmations on the mirror in the bathroom and read them when you are getting ready in the morning. Carry them with you and read them another time when you have a few minutes alone later in the day. Finally, read them before going to bed. This really works. You need to do this consistently every day for a long period of time. Start with a goal of doing this every day for 3 weeks. By this time, it should become a habit. Keep going. The changes at the subconscious

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level will be gradual, but it will happen. Eventually, the changes will be significant. You will start to hear yourself thinking these thoughts automatically at times through out the day. In addition to the daily affirmation exercise, you need to also start noticing random negative self-talk and learn to stop the negative statements and replace them with the positive versions. As soon as you notice a negative statement start, you could say to yourself, “cancel” and then state the positive version. This will also become a habit and will bring great results to your subconscious programming over time. Make the effort and commit to doing these exercises every day. This is one of the most important keys to your mental training. The final aspect of the psychology of goaltending that I am going to cover is goal setting. If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never know if you have arrived there. People don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan. You must have a roadmap to follow in order to achieve your full potential as a goalie. Don’t be afraid to set big goals for your goaltending career. It is better to shoot for the stars and end up dragging your feet in the trees, than it is to shoot for the trees and end up dragging your feet in the mud. The first step in setting goals for your goaltending career is to decide where you ultimately want to end up. Your goal might be to someday be the starting goalie for your high school time. It might be to make a Division III college team. If you feel you have what it takes to someday play Division I or even professional Hockey, then set that as your ultimate goal. Now, in order for you to achieve your ultimate goal, you need to believe in your heart that you will achieve it. You can’t just decide to believe this. It has to be a belief in your subconscious mind. The way that you get your subconscious mind to actually believe that you will achieve your goal is to break your goal down into believable steps that you will take along the way. Work backwards from your ultimate goal. Let’s say your goal is to someday play Division I college Hockey. Let’s say you have 5 years until you will be at the age to play at that level. You need to set up a 4-year goal that if you achieve, will bring you as close as possible to reaching your ultimate goal. For example, your 4-year goal might be to become the starting goalie for your high school team. Next, decide what you need to do each year over the next 3 years to get yourself as close as possible to your 4-year goal. “By my junior year, I need to be splitting time with the senior goalie.” In year 2, you may set a goal that you become the backup goalie for your high school team and you see some significant playing time. In year 1, you may set the goal to make your high school team as one of the goalies, and that you’ll work hard every day to develop your skills to where they need to be in order to play at the high school level. Finally, break down your first year into monthly goals, then weekly goals, and finally daily goals.

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Your subconscious mind will be able to believe that if you achieve your daily goals, you’ll automatically achieve your weekly goals. If you achieve your weekly goals, you’ll automatically achieve your monthly goals, and so on. A couple of great quotes are: “What your mind can perceive you can achieve.” And, “If you believe you can’t then you are right. If you believe you can, then you are right.” The final, and most important step in achieving your goals is to put them down on paper and read them at least 2 times every day. Do this for 40 days, and you’ll be amazed at how effective this is. This should become a habit and you should keep reading it. You’ll likely need to measure, monitor, and adjust your goals as you go along. Rewrite your goal statement any time you feel it is necessary. You’ve got to make the effort to put your goals down on paper and read them every day. This will be the fuel that powers the engine that will take you to where you want to go. This will be your motivation to consistently work hard every day. Your subconscious will get involved and start to work magic in your life. Although there are other aspects related to the psychology of goaltending, I feel that it is important to focus on the aspects that I am covering in this ebook as a great start to your mental training. If you try to learn and do too many complex aspects in the beginning, you could become discouraged and give up. Focus on the aspects that I covered and you will be on your way to building a solid foundation that you can continue to build off of.

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Getting “In The Zone” Getting into The Zone really means performing automatically- your mind and body are working in total harmony. This happens when you are so confident, completely relaxed, completely free of inhibitions, and so totally free of worries that you perform at your best automatically. Even if you can't get into The Zone, or if you have trouble staying in The Zone, you can train your mind to get closer to The Zone, and significantly improve your performance. The Aspects of mental training that can help you get closer to The Zone include controlling emotions, being calm and positive, increasing concentration and focus, feeling relaxed yet highly energized, and increasing confidence. The first step toward getting closer to or into “The Zone” is physical training. Your reactions, your angles, your position, and your decisions need to become automatic. You have to have the confidence and trust in yourself to act automatically. The more you practice, and the more you build off your successes, the more confidence and trust you will have in yourself. The second step to getting into the zone is to learn how to be physically relaxed and calm, yet mentally alert and laser focused. Although your muscles are relaxed, they need to be energized. You need to be loose physically, but you must have total concentration. In order to be relaxed and calm when you play, you need to have a low level of anxiety, or even better is to have no anxiety. It is good to have adrenaline and to be mentally charged up, but you need to learn how to, at the same time, be loose and relaxed physically. This is not easy to accomplish. You need to practice having sustained focus and concentration. You need to work at this. Your confidence and trust in yourself will help you to avoid having anxiety that will inhibit your physical play. When you can combine strong confidence and trust, automatic physical play, and sustained focus and concentration, you will be getting closer and closer to “The Zone.” When you can do all of this and be loose and relaxed physically, you be able to play at your best. Learn how to take slow deep breaths during the game. This will help you to alleviate anxiety, and keep your body relaxed. Shallow quick breathing can raise your level of anxiety and cause you to be tight.

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Using Audio Audio is a great tool you can use to reinforce your positive self-talk affirmations in your subconscious mind. You should first write out a script of all of your positive affirmations 3 times each. You can then record these to tape, or onto your computer. You can burn your recordings to CD from your computer. This will make it a lot easier for you to do your positive self-talk exercise consistently on a daily basis. Follow the instructions in the Positive Self-Talk section of this ebook to record your affirmations in the most effective way. The repetition of hearing these affirmations 2 or 3 times a day will go a long way in re-programming your subconscious mind. Imagery and Visualization If you want to take your game to new heights, you should start to practice visualization. To do this, you need to find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. You can lie down or sit in your favorite chair. Picture yourself in the net at the beginning of your next game. Take slow deep breaths and relax your entire body. Look around at the crowd, then at the bench and see your coach and your teammates. See, in your minds eye, the team that you are playing coming on to the ice. Look down the other end of the ice at the opposing goalie. You then want to start visualizing the first face off and watch the play move toward you. Notice how calm and relaxed you are. Notice how confident you feel. Visualize play after play coming at you. Imagine every situation you can face in a game. Picture yourself moving around your crease and making the save. Watch yourself controlling the rebound, recovering, and playing the puck up to your teammates. Visualization takes a lot of practice. It may be difficult at first. You may just see black or gray with no images. You need to picture the scenes being played out in the back of your mind. Eventually, with a lot of practice, you can start to clearly visualize the images. You may have to start out doing this for a short period of time until you become more comfortable with the process. You want to work your way up to visualizing an entire game. If you do this exercise consistently, you will be amazed at how much better play in your games. This is a great way to “keep your timing” and remain ready to play if you are out for a while due to an injury, or if you are sitting on the bench as the backup goalie. This is also something you want to do during the off-season when you aren’t playing in too many games.

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Using Video Video is a great tool that you can use to help you visualize yourself performing at your best. You should have someone videotape a number of your games with the video camera fixed at you. Next, you want to go through all of your tapes and edit together a video of every save and great play that you make. Leave the rest of the games out. You can add to this tape over time. Eventually, you want to have 30 to 60 minutes of you playing at your best. By watching this tape every day, you will start to form a very powerful visualization of yourself in your mind. This will not only help to build your confidence, but it will also greatly assist you in your visualization and imagery exercises. It will also be a great tape to watch on the day of your game to get you in a very positive frame of mind. You can view a sample of such a highlight video at the following link: “Old School” highlights of John Haley in his playing days circa 1988:
http://www.thegoaliesmind.com/samplehighlightvideo.html

The Concept behind the Mental Training Methods Today, more than ever, young goalies have access to incredible training camps, manuals, books, and videos. Many teams even have knowledgeable goalie coaches on their staff. The majority of the coaching and training that a goalie receives focuses on the physical aspect of goaltending. Intense physical training is very important and can’t be overlooked. Most experienced goalies and coaches will agree that successful goaltending is over 80% mental. Regardless of how much a goalie practices his or her physical skills, if the goalie lacks confidence, or if the goalie has a lot of negative thinking and fears going on in his or her mind, he or she will not be able to play at their full potential. Constant fear of failure and constant fear of making a mistake will cause the goalies muscles to be tight. It will also get in the way of his or her focus and concentration. To enter into what is commonly known as “The Zone”, the athlete’s mind and body have to work in total harmony. The athlete needs to be calm and confident. His or her muscles need to be relaxed yet energized. Reactions need to be automatic.

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Negative self-talk and fear of making mistakes will keep athletes out of “The Zone.” Second-guessing and over-thinking will negatively impact the goalie’s ability to play at his or her best. I have developed a revolutionary new Mental Training Program for goalies that utilizes proven mental training and accelerated learning techniques that can work to change the goalie’s thinking and core beliefs at the sub-conscious level. Although positive self-talk and positive affirmations are very helpful, unless changes are made at the sub-conscious level, negative patterns will continue to show up. These negative patterns need to be cleared. New positive patterns and beliefs need to be learned. Through extensive research, I have found the most effective approach available to reprogram the subconscious. This powerful audio system combines proven Accelerated Learning methods with the right rhythmic affirmations that work to first clear negative patterns and beliefs and then install the desired positive patterns and beliefs into the goalie’s subconscious. The real power in this system is fully realized by the special 60 beats per minute Baroque Period background music that plays underneath the affirmations. This music has been used the world over in proven accelerated learning programs. The results found in countless University studies prove the effectiveness of this approach. The real beauty of this system is in the simple fact that the goalie just has to push play and listen to the audios in order to start realizing the benefits. Like anything, daily repetition is the key. Please make sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter so you can learn more about goalie mental training methods and also to stay up to date on new audio programs that will be added to this system in the near future.

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Recommended Resources Books: Positive Self-Talk: What To Say When You Talk To Yourself, by Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D.. Reprogramming your subconscious using Accelerated Learning techniques. Superlearning 2000, by Lynn Schroeder, Sheila Ostrander, and Nancy Ostrander. Psychology of Goaltending (good instruction on visualization techniques): Progressive Psychological Performance for Goaltending, by Shannon L. McDougal. Good info on the mental game of goaltending: “Psych Up/Shut Out,” by Ian McDonnell, find it at www.goalers.com A comprehensive guide to goaltending with a lot of good info on Psychology. The Hockey Goalie's Handbook; The Authoritative Guide for Players and Coaches, by Jim Corsi and John Hannon About The Author John Haley was drafted during High School by the Edmonton Oilers in 1985. He played Division I Hockey at R.P.I., and later finished his college career at UMass Boston. It was while playing at R.P.I. that he first struggled with confidence and anxiety due to negative patterns and negative self-talk. He was able to regain his confidence and clear out many of the negative patterns after he transferred to UMass Boston. He went to the Edmonton Oilers Training Camp in 1989 and played for The Erie Panthers and The Richmond Renegades of the ECHL. He has been coaching goalies in camps, skills clinics, as well as one on one since retiring from Hockey in 1991. John constantly dealt with his own mental barriers that held him back from reaching his full potential He understood that it was his mind, and not his physical game that was holding him back, but he had no idea how he could change any of it. Nothing he tried seemed to make any significant difference, and he could not find any system that worked. For this reason, he started studying sports psychology and more specifically, the psychology of goaltending, 14 years ago. John holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts has studied every reputable peak performance related course and system that he could get his hands on.

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John has taken his own lifetime experience as a goaltender, and combined it with his extensive psychology and peak performance education to perfect a simple, yet powerful system that any goalie can easily implement on a consistent basis. John is working on additional Goalie Mental Training programs that will be available from his Website, www.TheGoaliesMind.com. You can subscribe to his newsletter, The Goalie’s Mind, at his Website. This newsletter will provide great tools, techniques, and instruction on Mental Training for Goaltenders. This is also a great way to stay up to date on the new programs that John will be releasing in the near future. ## Please Register and join in on our lively online discussion forum here:
http://www.thegoaliesmind.com/phpbb/

John Haley The Goalie’s Mind http://www.TheGoaliesMind.com john@thegoaliesmind.com Phone: 781-812-1253

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