Simplify your game and focus on the fundamentals.
I recently read Shawn Green’s book The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness at 95 MPH. In it, Green discusses, in great detail, his approach to hitting and how it evolved throughout his career. Through philosophical battles with manager Cito Gaston which eventually led to Green being banned from going to the batting cage without the batting, Green developed a routine of practicing hitting off a tee, which shaped his mental approach, which he describes as wanting “…to approach pitches with stillness, patience, and no thought, just waiting, watching, and seeing.” After a number of swings Green would enter a zen like state, where his mind would clear. This idea of emptying your mind and performing, commonly known as “the zone”, flow or zen, is the mental holy grail that all athletes and performers are searching for, especially in a mentally demanding position like goaltending. Most treat the mental side of the position and the physical side of the position as separate entities, but I have learned in my playing and coaching experience that both sides speak to each other and that it's important to try and create that “stillness” in your physical game, to complement and encourage it in the mental side of the position.
Once in a while, I am going to write some very wonky, technical blogs about trends in the position or breakdowns of save selections. I'll do my best to find videos to help with the explanations, but you may be stuck slogging through my prose on some of these concepts. It’s always good to warn people that a post might be boring in the first paragraph, right? I promise, though, there will be some jokes thrown in.
Today, I'm going to discuss the trend of goalies playing deeper in the crease. Up front, I am going to say that I love this technique and I believe it is right up there with the butterfly in terms of effectiveness and impact on goaltending and how we see the position.
Rob Gherson is a former NHL draft pick of the Washington Capitals. He played 5 years of professional hockey, winning an AHL championship with the Chicago Wolves in 2008. He represented Ontario in the 2000 World Hockey Championship, winning a silver medal. Since finishing his playing career he has worked with hundreds of goalies from age 5-25. Along with running his own goalie school with former NHLer Chris Beckford-Tseu, he is the goalie coach for the prestigious private school Upper Canada College. He also coaches in the GTHL having coached AAA, AA and A, as well as Sterling Hall School’s under-12 and Under-14 team who has won 2 silver medals and a gold in the 3 years he has coached there.