Mental skills training for ice hockey goalies

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Theodore F. Monnich (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Diane Gill

Abstract: An ice hockey goalie is a unique position, fraught with many mental challenges. All goalies can use mental skills to manage these mental challenges and to improve their performance. In the sport world developing an athlete’s mental skills has become a routine training component (Weinberg & Williams, 2015). However, sport-specific, or position-specific mental skills development does not enjoy wide acceptance in ice hockey or the goalie position. In this study we collected data from ice hockey goalies and goalie coaches from several North American and European amateur, national, university, and professional men’s and women’s teams. The purpose of this study was to determine the mental challenges faced by goalies, and to identify mental skills important to goalies. Goalies and their coaches provided information on the mental challenges and mental skills needs and experiences through online surveys, focus groups, and interviews. While a few participants (n=27) reported some experience working with a mental skills coach or sport psychology consultant, most of the participants had no experience and a lower awareness of mental skills. In the surveys nearly all participants (n=115) rated all mental challenges (e.g., controlling thoughts, performing consistently, maintaining focus) as “a lot” or “always” a challenge. Similarly, nearly all “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that all mental skills are important. The interview and focus group participants (n=35) provided more insight into the challenges and skills. The interview findings confirm that goalies experience most mental challenges, and the most cited challenges require cognitive control skills to manage. However, far fewer interview participants discussed mental skills. Apparently, goalies know the challenges they face but are less aware of the mental skills to manage them. These findings enable the development of MST programs targeted to the specific needs of ice hockey goalies.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2021
Challenges, Goalie, Hockey, Mental Skills, Training
Hockey $x Goalkeeping $x Psychological aspects
Hockey goalkeepers $x Training of

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