Attitude before technique
Posted by Dean Holden at February 13th, 2013
By Peter Samargia, 7 February 2013
As a goalie we are constantly tested both mentally and physically. It is a great challenge that brings even greater reward. Great goalies have the opportunity to take all the opponent’s negative chatter (and sometimes their own teammates) and process it in a way that motivates them in a positive way and gives them an attitude that is courageous and unassuming.
Each year about this time (for 26 years), I have turned my Column over to a GUEST WRITER to provide you with a different view from an exceptional coach. It’s like having great assistant coaches on the team! This year it’s Peter Samargia, head goalie instruction at Attitude Goaltending LLC of Minnesota.
Peter was a second team All-State goaltender on the 1998 Eveleth/Gilbert Minnesota State High School Champion, before playing with the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Augsburg College. He also had a short stint in the minor pro league before settling into goaltender coaching in the Cooper/Armstrong youth association. He was back with the Gophers coaching the Women in 2007 and at Augsburg coaching the men since 2009. He has also been the goalie coach for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders (USHL Jr. A) for several years. He currently spends most of his long days coaching young goalies with his own company, Attitude Goaltending LLC.
This is the second week (of three) that I’m turning over to Peter Samargia. — John Russo, Let’s Play Hockey Columnist
Attitude and Effort
“Sieve! Sieve! Sieve! Come on goalie, mix in a save!”
If you’re a goalie, the statements you just read might have evoked some memories! As a goalie we are constantly tested both mentally and physically. It is a great challenge that brings even greater reward. Great goalies have the opportunity to take all the opponent’s negative chatter (and sometimes their own teammates) and process it in a way that motivates them in a positive way and gives them an attitude that is courageous and unassuming.
A positive attitude is contagious. It is a staple of winners in any sport. When I started teaching, there were several good names that came into play. I owe a great deal of gratitude to both Robb Stauber and Paul Ostby when coming up with the company name of Attitude Goaltending. Paul and Robb allowed me to work for them when I was playing at the University of Minnesota.
I watched them carefully and noted one day when they spoke of the two things that we can always control. “Attitude and Effort.”. It’s not always easy to be in charge of these two attributes, but I will assure you that the price of not paying attention to them is disastrous.
It appears to me that too often we focus on only the results, no matter the cost. This can most certainly bring short term gain. I have seen firsthand very good coaches become blind with ambition and selfish in their goals. This win at any cost attitude can lead students down a dark and lonely path, a path that is filled with fear and blame.
Goalies that are part of all or nothing teams feel that everyone is out to get them. They try to explain why no goal is ever their fault and feel that they need to be perfect. As a result, their attitude suffers. They spend more time defending themselves then in pursuing ideas on how to get better.
When goalies feel safe to make a mistake, their attitudes shift into learning and growing modes. As Marcus Aurelius said, “A defensive mind is nether creative nor receptive.” If goaltenders feel they’re going to be hung out to dry if a single mistake is made, it will be hard to push out of their current boundaries so as to find their true potential. We all can admit that it is easy for us to see when a goalie makes a mistake, so it is not necessary to skate up to him and say, “Stop the puck.” WE GET THAT!
Ideas for goalies and teammates to use to better their attitude towards difficult situations
If a goalie let in a bad goal they should: 1. Stop, take a breath and realize where you went wrong; 2.Consider how to correct it next time; and 3. Let it go by committing fully to the next shot. What’s done is done, and being a goalie means needing to have an attitude that is forgiving when a mistake is made.
Goalies should be careful when trying to block it out . Simply let it go until space and time exists to actually where they can actually do something about bettering your skills so the next time it won’t happen. During a game is not the place to improve! Game time is party time; if goalies have not put forth the effort beforehand in practice, worrying about it during the game will not improve your effort!
On the other hand, there are also coaches that empower and challenge their players to do their best and hold them accountable at the same time. These coaches want to win as well, but they inspire an attitude of team-first thinkers and show them that they are capable of more than what they previously thought possible. A goalie that is happy during practice reflects a very good coach!
I have been lucky to have seen firsthand some of these coaches. Goalies on their teams are resilient to taunts, quick to tell a teammate “my bad” and never willing to pass on accountability. They have pride in doing the right thing no matter what the circumstance. The goalies on this team have an attitude that allows them to see the benefit of not yelling at defensemen when they make mistakes but rather tell them, “I am here for you.” This goalie is willing to sit the bench if the coach asked him to, not because he would want to but because his attitude is, “I do what the team needs me to do.”
Great attitudes thrive around passionate people who want to see others succeed! Goalies who want to have a great attitude start by finding things that they are passionate about within the game and find that this makes getting better much easier. They then take it a step further and apply that passion to things they don’t enjoy but know will help them be better goalies. When they realize that this is something that they have the ability to control, all things start to seem possible and their outlook will remain bright!
So how can a goalie better their attitude?
Players or coaches can provide positive feedback when a goal is scored by actions such as: No worries, we will get the next one. Or a simple slap on the pads before the faceoff.
These actions help a goalie stay in a positive mindset and that is critical to one’s attitude. Coaches should be careful to not to shake their head and look defeated when a goal is scored. They should be quick to realize that their attitudes are contagious as well! Goalies pick up on players’ and coaches’ body language more then what goalies would like to admit.
A goalie is the barometer of the team’s attitude. Coaches must be diligent at working on helping their goalies stay positive and it will pay dividends back to their team’s success.
Coaches can be mindful that goalie corrections are necessary, but they need to pick the proper time to apply the message. Goalies will then be eager to understand how to get better and willing to listen.
Goalies should see themselves in a positive light!
Picture in your mind your two favorite goalies. Those goalies would likely look calm and ready to act. They would be scanning the ice to better their awareness to the play. They would rarely show frustration and always be ready to get back in the game. Their eyes would show confident goalies that are willing to take on any challenge that is presented on the ice.
It’s important to understand that your goaltender’s attitudes have the biggest potential to improve your team’s performance and their own performance.
So how does a goalie know if he has the right attitude?
Here is a scenario that happens frequently and has the potential to be a great test of attitude for a goalie are as follows. Goaltenders should ask themselves what they would do in this situation and gauge it against the suggested responses. The goal of the scenario is to gain perspective on hard realities that offer positive change in your game. Note that these are examples and there are many acceptable answers.
• Your team is battling hard and the game is tied 1-1 late in the second period. Five seconds are left on the clock and the opposing team shoots from the blue line. That shot is deflected by your own player and goes into the net. As you’re going into the locker room, what do you do as a goalie that possess a positive attitude?
a. Bang your stick against the door and yell at the defenseman to get out of your way.
b. Promptly tell your coach that the goal was tipped by our defense and it wasn’t your fault.
c. Find the defenseman tell him “tough break” and then let the team know that you will be ready for anything next time.
If your attitude allows you to not place blame and know that getting angry does nothing to helping you make good decisions, then you probably chose c. This option allows you to stay positive and focus on the things you can control. It also shows your teammates that you are ready for the next period by being calm and team centric. By exercising your ability to stay calm and collected when the unknown happens, your team will see strength in your resolve and want to play hard for you in the next period.
Attitude is a combination of how goalies see themselves and how they influence environment around you.