First thing I need in a goalie is the ability to check their emotion at the door. Every time I get a new goalie I point to the locker room door and say “It doesn’t matter what happened in school today, or if your (insert boyfriend/girlfriend where appropriate) broke up with you today, or you got in a fight with your best friend. When you walk through that door you leave it all behind. For three hours you are a goalie.”
A goalie needs to be able to turn off their emotion. You are put in a position to fail, and fail constantly. Even when you succeed it is rare that anyone besides a goalie will notice the impact you had. Hubris needs to be minimal confidence needs to be high. Emotion will only slow a goalie down. I need them to appear the same whether they are down by ten, up by ten, or in a tie game.
I don’t expect a 14 year old kid to be able to totally shut their emotion down, but I do expect them to mask it. In a game I know the exact moment an opponents goalie cracks just by watching their face and that is when I tell the head coach to unleash shots from anywhere because they will score. What I do expect from a goalie is to be able to not show the emotion. To keep a ‘goalie face’ at all times. That way you never give your opponent an advantage by showing your mental state.
When I get a chance to explain this to goalies post graduation I explain this lesson carries into the real world because you can’t let emotion harm your day to day life. If you had a bad weekend, you still need to show up to class on Monday. You get in a fight with your wife the night before you go to work, you still need to show up to work. And showing up isn’t just enough, you need to be present.
If you aren’t careful a negative emotion can snowball one problem into an avalanche. So to stop this from happening, when you recognize the snowball you set it aside until you can give it your full attention. Until then you are only creating a bigger problem, and life must go on, because it will whether or not you are keeping up.