Fear. Whether it’s concern about physical harm or emotional distress, fear is one of the great obstacles facing any goaltender trying to reach his or her full potential. The topic is so big, in fact, that I’m going to take the next two columns to address it.
This month’s column will focus on the fear of physical harm, which I think is actually the easier of the two aspects of fear to deal with. That’s because, for the most part, it can be remedied with better equipment. Of course, it’s also the responsibility of coaches and, to a lesser degree, the players to make sure goalies — especially really young goalies — don’t get beat up in practice. Almost every goalie parent I’ve met has a horror story of a knucklehead coach and/or older player ringing a shot off their kid’s melon.