Playing Your Best When it Matters Most
As the season continues for many youth, high school, and college teams, many will soon find themselves competing in games where a loss means the end of the season for the team and the end of some player’s competitive playing days. It is what sport is about, not everyone can be a crowned champion at the end of the year. Everything is heightened in May-June.
Obstacles have been put in every team’s path up to this point. Now is no time to give in. Every groundball, goal, save, hustle play, turnover, caused turnover, and more can be the difference between moving onto the next game or the season ending.
Goalies, this is your time to take your game to the next level when your team needs it most. One outstanding performance can help your team advance while a poor performance can mark the end. Your body, probably bruised already, and your mind can handle the post season run. Here are some tips to stay sharp during the late season stretch:
· Be consistent – continue to do what has gotten you to this point. Do the same warm up daily with the same coach or teammate that has warmed you up all year. Get to the field at the same time you have all year.
· Prepare – prepare the way you have all year. From the night before the game to your pre game routine, proper preparation will give you the best chance at success.
· Understand – you may be playing an opponent you played earlier in the year. Watch the film to look for shooting tendencies of opposing players. See what their offense did last time and along with your coaches and defensive unit form a game plan to stop it.
· Relax – yes, these are big games. Yes, the stage is bigger. Focus on making the first save. If that doesn’t happen, forget it and get the next one.
· Enjoy it – Playing in May and June is special. Enjoy every step of the process. Enjoy the time spent with your teammates, coaches, trainers, family, and friends. Great memories will be created during this stretch.
Coaches, here are some tips to use to help your goalies:
· Maintain a consistent warm up – the warm up you have given the goalie all year
· Ask – ask them if there is anything in particular they want to work on. Find 10-15 minutes to work on it.
· Understand – you know your goalie better than most. If they like to talk with you before the game talk with them. If they prefer to be by themselves, keep your distance. Every goalie has a different routine, let them do what they feel gives them the best chance for success.
May-June is the culmination of years of work for many players and teams. Enjoy it and stay in the moment. Good luck to all as you begin this journey!