Sunday, July 18, 2010

Caffeinated Late Night Brain Spew

Sooo, I drank a bunch of Coke when I got home because I don't play for 4 days, so why not? I'm on vacation, bitches. I can keep ridiculous hours if I wanna.

But that means I'm bored, so I'm sitting around remembering stuff I could have mentioned about my (really great) game tonight or have had on my mind. It's kind of rambling since I don't have anything better to do, and it's, as usual, all me-me-me. I promise my next post will be about the Wild's baby goalies I watched in their scrimmage today (and hopefully again tomorrow). I tweeted a bunch of stuff, but can't wait to expound on that after I get another look at them. I'm pretty excited about them.

Gatorade: Too much of a good thing?

I only drank water during the game tonight. For as long as I can remember, I've been mixing Gatorade in my water bottle (about 3/4-1/2 strength). But tonight I felt really good with just water. So I'm wondering if I'm over-Gatorading myself by drinking only that and not water.

I'd already planned to keep bottles of both on my net at camp so I can choose, but I'm thinking going forward when I'm back home, I should stick with water. I did have a granola bar about 1.5 hours before game time since I knew I wasn't going to have Gatorade.

Anyway, just thinking out loud really. I learned a LOT about my hydration needs when I used to do all that distance walking, so I thought I had this down, but I actually felt better clear to the end tonight. Was I feeling better because I was playing well? Or was I playing well because I was feeling better? Hmmmmmm....


Another thing that was different was, as I mentioned, the other goalie essentially being a non-goalie fill-in. I think the typical phenomenon is for goalies, when they realize their opponent is probably weaker, to maybe let up a bit. But for me, I look at it like, "Holy crap, I have a chance here!" and actually play better.

Intimidation is my biggest mental game killer. I get intimidated by players who beat me regularly and by goalies who I can plainly see are much better than me. And I think being intimidated by the other goalie might even be worse than by the players. *I* control the outcome of my interaction with a player. But the goalie? All I can do is hope my team solves them.

I know it's silly to be intimidated by someone I can do absolutely nothing about, and yet, there it is. Why can't I *always* believe I have a chance, even if the other goalie's some kinda puck eater?

I guess part of it is that I'm not stupid. Repetition is what drills something into your mind, and as a new goalie, I've spent most of my time losing. So it's tough to believably encourage that little seed of confidence when the self-doubt is repeatedly validated with empirical evidence. All I can figure to do about that is keep working to improve and let Success feed that seed.

And I'm not one for whom pithy rah-rah bullshit really has much impact. However, I do get the occasional bit of advice that sinks in and rings true. My favorite of late that I call upon quite frequently to combat intimidation from players came to me from the pro ranks. I don't remember the whole story, but the bottom line is that you have to stop the puck, not the player. So don't worry about who the player is. Worry about the puck on their stick.

Not to say you don't pay attention to tendencies and whatnot, but it's all about the puck at the end of the day.  Stop the puck. "Puck, not player," I say to myself on my drive to the rink.

Sticking it to 'em

Something I'm noticing improving in my game since I started going to goalie clinic is my ability to make stops with my stick. Before, I was keeping my stick in close to my body to the point where, because of my bulky gear, I almost couldn't even see it if I looked down. How the hell can I track a puck to something I can't see?

So, lately I've been keeping it further out in front of me AND I'm doing a much better job keeping it on the ice. Every shot along the ice, my instinct now is to try and get my stick on it first, whether I'm staying up or butterflying, that stick is the moat around my castle.

And not only does this change in behavior just plain make sense, it saves me a few up and downs, and as a goalie who is interested in economy of energy, I really dig that. :)

I think one of the best parts of my game tonight was getting my stick in passing lanes around the net, creating deflections, etc. I'm pretty proud to see a small improvement in some part of my game, especially so unexpectedly. Never know where the little epiphanies will come from.

Camp Plans

One of the great things about camp is that I'll see a brazillion shots from all different kinds of drills. There are two kinds of ice times we're tending: individual skills and team skills. So, one of the things I want to do is have a piece of my game I want to work on for each session.

Nothing too complicated but I'm thinking of things like keeping my glove and blocker out in front of me in my field of vision, keeping my stick on the ice, challenging more aggressively, etc. I probably need to go through my goaltending books to see if I can come up with some more ideas.

Have I mentioned here that I'm going to be on the ice 15 hours over 4 days? As one person said, "Isn't that why you're going?" Well sure, but holy hell! That's a lotta time between the pipes. Most I've ever done is maybe 5 hours over 3 days. Eep! I'm playing 5 hours in ONE day next week. Pray for me! Pray for my feet! Pray for my ass muscles!

Foam Roller

I finally broke down and bought a 36" foam roller. I've been wanting one for months, but after using one as part of my PT, I'm completely sold on the benefits. It will hopefully be here waiting for me when I get back. Boy am I gonna need it. And whatever that can't get, I've got the lovely Ally to rescue me from my ache-related woes.

(BTW, if you're a Houston reader and want a GREAT deal on a massage, go see her at the Memorial Hermann Wellness Center down off 59 and Beechnut. She's doing her internship and it's only $29 for an hour. A steal and she somehow magically finds every angry trigger point and whips it into submission. Though I'm pretty sure she can do one of those feel-good massages, too, but if I'm not crawling off the table and going, "OW OW OW" at some point, then we're not getting anything accomplished.)

Okay. I think I'm done dumping my brain. Now I need to make lists. I hate making lists because then I need a list to remember my lists, but when it comes to a) moving or b) vacations, I have to break down and do it.

For what it's worth...


Anonymous  July 18, 2010 at 10:32 AM  

On the gatorade issue, a couple of thoughts. First is that athletes, by and large, *do* tend to go a bit heavy on the gatorade when working out. It's a really beneficial drink, but a little can go a long way in terms of electrolyte-balance/salt replenishment (and you can cut your gatorade down to about 1/4-1/3 and still get most of the electrolyte benefits out of it, although it'll taste like crap). However, when it comes to sugars there's a lot more variety in terms of what your body needs - that's something you'll want to try to gauge over time. So with regards to baseline athletic performance, you can cut down how much/often you're drinking it and shouldn't see too much difference.

At the same time, as long as you're drinking *enough*, whether it's gatorade or water shouldn't make too much difference. Sometimes it just comes down to mood, sometimes it comes down to how fast you need it to absorb/in-process (water *will* be a little quicker on the hydration end of things, but it's a fairly small window). If you're craving the sugars, go with the gatorade. If you're not, go with water and plan on having a little gatorade afterwards just for the electrolyte/salt benefits. The longer the planned workout, the more you're probably going to want some gatorade in the active mix, though, just for the quick energy.

You have my sincerest sympathies with regards to the cap workout schedule. I logged 3-4 hours of ice time on Wednesday, and because I'm finally starting to properly use the edge on my right skate (which, of course, threw all of the breaking in/callousing I'd already done out the window), I managed to blister myself so badly that I was bleeding by the end of the last session. It'll probably go bad->worse->better in terms of working through it, with Wednesday being the worst of the soreness and by Friday you'll have started feeling good again and in-control and all-powerful for surviving, but it'll probably be a rough few days. I have complete faith you'll survive it *and* come out feeling awesome, though. That's what prep work is for, eh?

Speaking of the foam roller, while I'm not a goalie, are there any good stretches you can recommend for skating in general? Have you previously done a "This is interesting workout/stretching/ice-prep I've found" post that I missed? (it's totally possible - my memory is occasionally gold-fish like).

Ms. Conduct  July 18, 2010 at 10:54 AM  

Yeah, I think I totally had a "well if a little's good, a lot is better" moment there on the Gatorade. I think you're right... use it when I crave it. I'm pretty good at listening to my body on these things but I think routine and convenience were dictating my decisions rather than my actual needs.

SO sorry about the blisters. I feel your pain. That (and the intense boredom) were why I had to quit doing distance walking. I did two half marathons and a full marathon and just never could win the blister battle. I've been fortunate that my skates have never rubbed blisters. Just a callus where my toe rubs the edge of the toe cap.

As far as stretches, let me introduce you to the great Maria Mountain.

Subscribe to her blog. She focuses a lot on goalies, but also skaters, and she's great about answering questions and takes a very scientific approach to her work. She's fantastic. That link is just to stretches, but there's a ton of great stuff on her site. I can't think of a more complete place to get training information tailored to hockey players.

Anonymous  July 18, 2010 at 11:10 AM  

So, I have no idea why wordpress was being a pain in the ass, but "sportshurtmore" is me (Marienne, if it does it again), by the way.

Ms. Conduct  July 18, 2010 at 11:15 AM  

Yeah, I know. :) When are you gonna post something on that blog?

Anonymous  July 18, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

*Waves hand dismissively* Yeah, yeah, yeah :-P

Just for you, I made an initial post. And now that it's actually up/running, I'll be making regular posts (hopefully). Call it stage fright, maybe? I originally snagged the domain/account as a place to stash athletics-related essays I was considering writing, but I think it's going to end up more actual blog than that. We'll see. But thanks for the kick in the ass, eh?

The weird thing about the blisters is that I made it the first 3 months of skating without having any (isn't heat fitting a wonderful invention?). Then I got the right depth on my blades, and suddenly boom! Blood in the skate, but I'm pulling crossovers out of thin air (probably a valid tradeoff, since the one is temporary and the other a long-term benefit). I'm just about through the blistering, I think, which is almost a shame - I'm off the ice for almost 2 weeks starting Tuesday, and then only back for one before I'm off again for 13 days. I cannot *wait* for fall and a regular/uninterrupted schedule.

I've been poking around MM's site, and it looks wonderful - thanks for the link!

Goody  July 19, 2010 at 7:59 AM  

I'm not psychologist, but I did sleep at a holiday inn express once...

Being intimidated by a better goalie: I hear what your saying, and you CAN do something to help your team. Watch the other goalie and note his/her weaknesses. Then pass those on to your team during a break in play. A word of caution though, don't over do it or they'll be saying to themselves "yeah, yeah, yeah, he's weak glove side, but we can barely get it in their zone much less choose to shoot glove side".

And if it feels like you're betraying your goalie brethren by doing that, they're probably telling their team where to shoot on you - bastards!

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