PRACTICE - BLOCKED VS. RANDOM:
As an athlete there are two different ways of practicing.
Going through a goaltender personal training session you can execute a blocked or random variable context style of practicing. Both of these have benefit.
A Blocked Context will help you execute a simple task - Such as catching a puck or accepting a puck into your core coverage. There is one focus and it is known.
A Random Context will supply you with various situations and force you to mentally adjust without knowing the task at hand.
What Is The Feeling?
When it comes time to performing in a game the feeling that we want is of being able to go through a game without having to think.
Thinking takes time. It takes configuration.
Go back to your days in school. Learning algebra for the first time - your first problem will take a long time to figure out.
Now transferring this to on the ice - If we are able to relate to a situation that is happening in a game, from past experience, we will be able to respond accordingly without panic and without having to think. Author Malcolm Gladwell calls these "white moments". Instances that spark us, where we feel at ease while feeling accomplished with completing the task at hand.
One of the largest differences from one goaltender to the next that many coaches take into consideration is EXPERIENCE.
As one goes through a tough playoff series, a season where there are lots of ups and down, one gains knowledge on how to deal with situations. This is of extreme benefit to ones future as a career goaltender. As we move along we can relate to past experiences and know how to handle ourselves when times get tough or when things seem to be going in the right direction.
KEY #1: Practice The Right Way. Use Blocked Context Drills to Learn Simple Skills. Transfer These Into Random Variable Drills To Be Able To Perform Them In Games!
KEY #2: Write It Down. Put the pen to paper and print out what experience are of your benefit for the upcoming season. What difficult situations have you faced.