Whether a floorball penalty shot situation was a result of a foul or a tie-breaker at the end of the match, it can be a nerve-wracking experience for a goalie, as pressures from their own team and spectators mount.
Blog post by: Ryan S Neo
In this article, I will be sharing 3 simple tips on how you can improve your goaltending abilities during penalty shots.
There are a million and one ways to take a penalty and save one – so we need to deliberately spend time training for such scenarios. A great start would be watching videos of successful shots and saves. This can teach us a lot of what works and what doesn’t.
Next, we will want to practice it on our own and develop personalised strategies on how to tackle various situations. Both mental imagery and actual practice is vital to developing that instinct to react to multiple scenarios.
2. BE COMPOSED
When it comes to a critical time like this, symptoms of anxiousness will likely arise. Racing heartbeats, shallow breathing, sweaty palms, dry mouth, or even feeling butterflies in the stomach- these are all symptoms we associate with performance anxiety.
The key to maintaining composure in times like this, is to practice taking slow and deep breaths and focus your mind on the present moment. Deep breaths assists your body to calm down and allow more oxygen to reach your brain- this helps you think better.
3. DECIDE ON THE STRATEGIES
This is the point where your all your training is tested.
Just like how the player taking the penalty is thinking of ways to outsmart the goalie, we need to think of how we can do the same and regain control of the situation.
Start to decide on the most probable situation and how you are going to regain control of the situation.
Do we just want to cover as much of the goal and wait for a direct shot? Or do we want to force a player to their backhand? Or maybe even go for the killer move to stop the player from advancing?
Try to come up with a few micro strategies as well in case things don’t go your way.
An example could be:
– For the first 10m – Be ready for the direct shot and cover the goal as much as possible
– Next 6.5m – Try to pull the player to their backhand and go for the kill to stop the shot
Contingencies: if you slip up, recover quickly and make your last attempt to block/stop the shot
PRO TIP: knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent could give you an advantage in knowing what to expect.
While penalty shots are never something that someone would hope for, consistently practicing, being composed and deciding on the strategy would put any goalie in a better and more prepared state to save any shot that comes.