Here's a thing I can't figure out: I've got this one player who gives me the serious yips when he shows up for my Monday drop-ins. It's happened enough now where I'll have such good games without him there, and such horrible games with him there, that the pattern is crystal clear to me. Dude is in my head.
The issue for me is that he's really tall and beefy, very good at hockey, basically outplays everybody on the ice every week. We have smaller guys who are really good, but they can be bumped off the puck. People basically move out of this guy's way because he's just huge and they know he's going to beat them anyway. (so, let's just say, we don't get the best defensive play when it comes to shutting him down).
He gets what feels like 10 breakaways a game and can put the puck pretty much wherever he wants (and HARD, too) and makes it look like he's just taking out the trash, it's so easy and he so bored with it. But also, he's a nice guy, and doesn't deserve the animosity I feel toward him.
Anyway, lately, he comes at me and the rink starts spinning and my brain starts zapping and I tense up because the instinctive threat level is just off the charts after being beaten by him so many times. I'm like Pavlov's Dog... it's just an uncontrollable response at this point.
I've tried being rational with myself and acknowledging the problem and saying, "Hey, it's just for fun. Don't take it personally" and "If he's that good, you shouldn't be THAT bothered by getting scored on by him" and the ol' "look at it as an opportunity to improve! Think positive!"
But I'm unable to put that wisdom to action. I just have this uncontrollable swell of GAHHHHHHHH about him and it wrecks my whole night. I honestly just get anxious just seeing him, even off the ice.
So, help me out. How do I get a grip on this? How do I circumvent the panic response so I can play his shots with a little sanity like I do everyone else's?
I think that's the part that bothers me the most about it and what sets the whole negative chain of emotions off. If I felt like I could give him my best save attempt, I wouldn't feel so bad about getting beat. But my brain just short circuits at the sight of him. I feel like nothing I do will be successful against him and that helpless feeling is super sucky and counterproductive.
I've had this problem with other players before but I always ended up finding some weakness in them that made them less intimidating to me. I've been playing with this guy for years and I've done nothing but get more intimidated.
Maybe I should do like in the Waterboy and put a crying baby face on him. Not sure that would work, since I'm not so fond of babies either.
Impart your wisdom upon me, goalies and sports psychologists!