Shot by Shot: Importance of a Growth Mindset during team practices

By Dan Moressa
Each practice, each drill, and even each shot should be viewed as an opportunity to cultivate a ‘growth’ mindset that will keep a goalie focused on the Personal Growth Process towards improving skills.

Far to often I hear goaltenders complain they are not relevant during a team practice and they are just a “target” for their teammates. They feel that the drills are not designed to focus on their skills and that team coaches believe their practices are “great” because their team drills provide an opportunity for their goalies to “see a lot of pucks”.

Ideally, a team practice would have a lesson plan evenly divided with goalie specific drills and team drills. For a variety of reason this is not always available, so goalie’s must take advantage of the training environment that is available and maximize its value.

If a goalie focuses on ‘fixed’ mindsets such as, ‘this is not a good training environment’ or ‘these drills wont help me improve’, they will significantly limit their ability to maximize the value of the ‘team’ drills during practice. What a goalie wants to do is make the value of ‘team’ drills an opportunity to challenge the Personal Growth Process that will bring consistency of personal discipline and in turn fuel the improvement of skills.

When golfers go to the driving range to work on their swing mechanics, they don’t only measure the success of that session by how many balls they hit or the type of drills they executed; but also measure success in the consistency of personal discipline they brought to each and every swing. Therefore, each ball they hit becomes an opportunity to strengthen the golfer’s personal growth that will fuel the improvement of their mental strength and specific mechanics. A goaltender’s mindset and approach should be the same when they are attending their team practice. Every shot, within every drill should be approached with the core objective to challenge the Growth Focus Habits that will improve skills.

An important Growth Focus Habit is to ‘Stay focused on the Process’. Here are some insight on how to use this growth habit during your team drills and make the most of the practice:

1) ‘Make consistency of discipline the purpose of your training’. Stay committed to remain focused on the discipline necessary throughout the entire practice.

2) ‘Focus on the process not the results’ Don’t measure the success of your practices based on results. The success of a practice is not based on the quantity of saves you make, but instead on making the personal growth process the purpose of your training.

3) ‘Make ‘skill correction’ a priority before practice compete’. There is a time and place to compete. To improve you have to be aware of the ‘specific’ skill correction you have to make and make the appropriate adjustments. Remaining disciplined and consistent on skill correction and not just competing to stop shots during practice is crucial for In-Game improvement.

4) ‘Remain committed to attention to detail’. A successful practice is one that focuses on attention to detail to each shot in each drill. As long as you are aware of the skill standards, your discipline to attention to detail will result in improvement.

‘Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.’ -Dwayne Johnson-

CLICK THIS LINK for more insight into Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset research

For further information on this or any other questions you may have please feel free to contact Dan Moressa, Development Coach & Program Coordinator at Scotiabank Pond, by email  at [email protected]