This might be the most important skill for goalies to learn...
What's the most important skill for us to learn to become elite goalies? Many have asked.
Almost as if one thing would solve all our problems and make us become the goalies and athletes we dream about.
When we think about all that is required to become the best, many attributes obviously come to mind: Skating ability. Vision. Mental Strength & Mindset. Save selection and technique. The list could go on...
But above all those, stands one skill that you might not associate with playing goalie, nor athletics at all.
It's more commonly seen in academia, science, law, and medicine, not sports.
It's Critical Thinking.
Building Critical Thinking skills within a goalie is critical (see what I did there?) to success. Because critical thinking leads a goalie down the proper paths for themselves.
The fact of the matter is that nobody can stop the puck for you! Therefore, to become the best you can be, you must think critically for yourself and in every facet of your preparation.
How do you think you should prepare if you want to play at the highest levels?
What sort of technique do you think you should use when you face different situations?
What kind of nutrition will you choose to put into your body?
Whose voices are you going to choose to listen to?
What advice will you decide you value?
As the goalie, ultimately you are the decision-maker. Nobody can do it for you.
You get to control how loud other people's voices and opinions get in your head. You can control how much input other people have on your game.
So don't offload your decisions about your game or your body! But it takes courage to do so. It would be much easier to just listen to every expert or idea or voice in your life.
At some point, though, that becomes too much. Maybe in the beginning, it works, when you can easily integrate a few different ideas. But when they start adding up, it gets harder and harder to listen to the voice that matters most: YOURS!
I would encourage you to examine your game for yourself. Put away everyone else's ideas and just listen to yours.
What part(s) of your game is going really well right now?
What part could use some work?
What new learning can you implement to get better today, tomorrow, or in your next game?
Of course, listen to ideas and gain insight from as many sources as you can! But then sift through it all and think critically for yourself. Find the solution you think will bring you the most success.