Goaltending Attitudes

There are two very basic attitudes that make great goaltenders.  The first is embodied in "Don't let WHATEVER happened on the last shot affect your performance on the next one".  We call this the "GET THE NEXT ONE" attitude. I've seen goalies get down on themselves for missing a save -- a goalie has to come back from that miss right away or he/she is letting the team down - and will probably miss the next shot because they can't get past the last one.

But, more often, the goalie gets mad at the defense for a defensive lapse.  Let's think about this second attitude. This anger leads to poor play by the goalie and more goals are scored (besides it probably alienates the defense.)  So I ask keepers to look at two statistics.  One is a good goalie only saves 65-70-75% of the opponent's shots.  That means that either the goalie had no chance on 25-35% (unlikely) or he/she made some mistakes. Usually, if the keeper makes 20 saves out of 30 shots on goal his/her team wins.  If there are fewer saves, they lose.  If there are fewer shots, they might win. Fewer shots usually means the whole team, including the defense, is playing well. 

But one can look at this another way.  If the other team gets the ball 100 times, comes down the field and gets 50 shots and 30 are on goal and the keeper gets 20 saves and you win, WHO was responsible for the 20 shots not on goal and the other 50 times that no shot resulted.  You're right, the defense.  And if they hold the other team to 70 touches and 35 shots and 18 on goal and the keeper gets just 10 saves, your team probably wins (BECAUSE 52 times the defense kept the ball off the keeper).  So I say that a goaltender should CHEER any ground ball or other action that keeps him from having to make a save and should understand that defensive lapses are up to the coach to correct.  Just tell your defense, "GET THE NEXT ONE" and cheer their good play and they will play well for you forever. They will even play harder just to get your praise when they do well.

Weston Lacrosse 10-29-08