After the season has come to a close a goaltender now has to prepare for the playoffs. With this said one can go about things in two different ways.
Preparing the same as they did during the season
Finding new ways to get ready and look at the opposition
One thing that I have always said is that the game does not change when it gets to playoffs. The boards are the same width apart... teams will have a similar make-up... the rules will be the same...
What one must understand is that their game must not change!
A goaltender must continue to relate back to their strengths. What has helped them get to the point that they are at currently. With this said here are a couple key reminders (Relating to Keeping Your Game The Same) when moving through the post-season:
- Do not worry about what other people think. There are no style points - everything goes towards if you can get the job done. You are judged upon being able to get the end result for your team.
- Prepare as you normally do. Do not change and try something new. As goaltenders we enjoy routine as it makes us feel at ease and relaxed.
- Being nervous is ok! Know that your routine (Pre-Game, Meal, Stretching, Visualization, etc) will help keep you at ease.
- Use visualization and a pen and paper. Being able to visualize past positive events that have happened against teams not only prepares your mind positively but it is said that it also prepares your muscles/body for situations. Additionally, to keep your mind at ease it is key to write things down. Two things to point out are: 1) Write down the night before what you need to do on game day to be ready... Example) Getting your skates sharpened, rides to arena, meals... etc. 2) Write down confidence builders - There needs to be key words that will trigger positive thoughts... Example) Compete - Ice Awareness - Read & React