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HockeyNow Performance: Goalie Parents Need to Foster a Culture of Accountability – NOT Make Excuses

By Chris Dyson on December 16, 2015

Goaltending is the most difficult position in sports, there is no doubt about this. Being the parent of a goalie has to be the most difficult parent position in all of sports too. We want to help make the journey easier on you both by providing some simple guidelines and information.

The goalie is the last line of defence. Live with it, assign no blame and make no excuses. This is the reason you play.

Few things annoy me more than children who accept no responsibility for their actions and want to blame everyone around them for everything that happens. 

In my nearly 30 years of professional coaching and running Puckstoppers Goaltending Development, I've seen and heard this far too many times, so many years ago, I created this article as a handout for our parents. I've added to it and refined it over the years, but it remains pretty much as it when it was first written. 

I have had the misfortune to coach goaltenders as young as 7 or 8 and all the way to pro. Who, in their mind, has never allowed a goal for which they were to blame? 

This is of course absolutely the wrong way of thinking and pure fiction. Let me be clear: As a goalie your job is to protect the net, not to allow goals and to stop all shots that you possibly can stop from going into the net, using whatever means possible.

Regardless of how or why the shot came to be, your job does not change. Of course we have to be realistic and understand that no matter how hard we try, someone will score, at some point. But every goal is your responsibility, not anyone else's.

To blame anyone else is to shun the responsibility you accepted when you became a goalie. So, why is that some goalies cannot accept this fact. In every situation I have seen where the goalie insisted on blaming someone else, or everyone else, the problem was the parents had planted this notion in their child's mind. 

We must teach accountability and responsibility

As a goalie the responsibility is to stop the puck, regardless of the reason it got to you. You signed up for this position knowing that the job is to bail out the team when others make mistakes, to be the difference in games when the other team is stronger and to be the hero when you are able to ‘steal’ a game. 

This is the job, relish the opportunity

As a goalie you must be accountable for every shot and accept that while you may get scored on, the job is to do your best to stop every shot. That’s why you became a goalie, this is what you love to do and this is why you play the game. 

Every shot is the goalies responsibility and they are accountable for stopping them, no one else.

If you cannot accept this responsibility, do not become a goaltender! 

True goalies live for shots, for opportunities to shine

As parents, we must help our children deal wit the frustration of losing, getting scored on, giving up bad goals and dealing with the issues that happen to allow shots on goal.

Regardless of perceived mistakes by my players, coaches or ref’s. These factors do not change the responsibility and accountability of the goalie to stop the puck as the last line of defense.

Therefore we cannot blame anyone, we do not point fingers, we do not assign blame; we simply evaluate our own play, determine what we could have done better and move on to the only thing that matters – THE NEXT SHOT. 

This is how a goalie must view the game and how a parent must view the goaltender’s responsibility and accountability to the team.

Do not feed the blame game and don’t allow your son or daughter to pawn off their responsibility and accountability.

This holds true for life in general and can be a huge life learning experience for any young goalie when handled correctly. 

The goalie is the last line of defense, it is your job to bail everyone else out. ACCEPT & LOVE IT!


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By Chris Dyson| December 16, 2015
Categories:  Performance

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