No Red Lights: Hockey: Mental Toughness: Rosatis Article on Being Successful - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

Mental Toughness: Rosatis Article on Being Successful

I just came across this great article by Rosati (a former Italian National Team goalie). He talks about goalies' reactions after the play has ended, and how it has led to success for Kiprusof and others; a very good topic indeed. Too often young goalies do not consider the implications in their actions after a big save or a tough goal. They will smash their stick across the crossbar, take a quick skate around their net or remain in a resting position (still a reaction even though not moving). These are all emotional reactions to the play, and the goalie must respond in some fashion.  Rosati says that a "bad memory" is the best way to maintain composure:

I try to explain to my younger goalies the easiest way to maintain composure is to have a really bad memory. You need to be able to put that last goal behind you and prepare yourself for the next shot - if you don’t, before long you’ll have two goals to worry about.
A bad memory is a good way to convey to young goalies the concept of focusing on the task at hand, but I prefer mental action and mental toughness instead of a passive approach. After each play, I had a key word - a word that was my trigger to refocus on the next play and only the movement of the puck.  It was actually the word:  "puck." I would chant this in order to remind myself to only focus on what I was doing. I couldn't control how my defense was playing, what the other team was doing or what the refs were going to call; but I could actively tell myself to watch the puck.

In Rosati's article, he does not really talk about the implications of reactive emotions. He only talks about the end goal of having success between the pipes.  But success can also be a subjective goal. What about the goalies who post very good numbers (some of the best in the league even) but are still not considered successful?  You could argue that it's their experience, which denies them from being "successful." You could argue that it's their lack of achievement (i.e. they haven't won the Cup). But it really just comes down to how you define success, and what the general hockey population thinks about you.  Break it down further to youth leagues. What makes a successful or a "good" goalie in the local spotlight?  Winning games, making big saves and gaining the respect of your teammates are important factors; but contributing to these outcomes is how you look in the net, i.e. your reactive emotions.

Goalies who remain calm and bounce back from bad goals instill a confidence in their coaches and their teammates, which can transcend them into a "successful" career. End of story, your emotions matter. They matter for the next play and for how your teammates, coaches and opposition think about you. And this can give you the upper hand and lead to consistent success. Beating your stick on the post may be a stress reliever but controlling your emotions portrays the look of a successful goalie.