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The G Word – a Four Letter Word for Goaltenders

Words form images in your head. Make sure you use words that are empowering for you.

In my last article here I mentioned this briefly. I said, “A tiny little lapse in concentration on your part can result in a BIG GOAL by the opposing team. I usually don’t say GOAL and I dislike saying what I call the G word. Of course the G word stands for GOAL. By saying the word GOAL it forms a negative picture in your head and I want you to only form positive pictures. 

Your brain is the most powerful computer on the planet. It thinks in pictures. Whatever you say, hear or read will form some type of picture in your head. It doesn’t recognize the word DON’T. “If I say DON’T think of a PINK POLKA DOTTED ELEPHANT” what do you think of?” If I say the word CAR. What do you picture? You don’t picture the letters C A R. You will picture a type of car. If I say the word SAVE. What do you picture? You don’t pictures the letters S A V E. You will picture some type of save, maybe a save by you or another goalie. 

As a goalie it is very important for you to recognize this and use this to your advantage. A lot of goalies are fighting it because they are thinking, “I can’t get scored on, I can’t get scored on.”  Of course we know that’s a negative thing to say, but why? Simply put, if you say that, the image that forms in your head will be of you getting scored on because the mind will not recognize can’t. It also doesn’t recognize don’t

I was working with a goaltender in the Western Hockey League recently. He had about 12-seconds left in a game, a game that was in overtime. His team was shorthanded, 4-on-3. After the game as we were debriefing his performance he said, “Pete, I was totally confident and I thought to myself, ‘there is no way they will score on me.'” Sounds positive, right? Actually, no. His choice of words was a mistake on his part.

Do you think his subconscious mind heard ““no way they will?” Not at all. All his subconscious would have heard is score on me.

Guess what happened next?


The words you use form pictures in your mind and those pictures will influence your performance.
Which picture do you want in your mind?

Now I’m not saying if he had simply picked a different phrase that he would have won the game – but he would have given himself a much better opportunity to come up with the save!

So what would a better choice of words have been? I’ll bet you can imagine a few. Choose a phrase that includes some goalie-positive words like save.

Next time, I advised him, keep that confidence by saying something like, “I know I’m going to make this save” or “I feel I’m going to make this save.”

This is where in the last article here at InGoal I said the “G” word and you don’t want to use it. Think or speak only in terms of what you want. 

Do not say “I got scored on”  – say “I didn’t come up with the save.”

Do not Say “I let in a goal” – say “I didn’t stop the puck.”

Do not say “I got lit up” – say “I didn’t have my best game.”

Words are powerful and they will form pictures that are imprinted on your subconscious. Make sure those pictures are powerful ones that will drive your success.

Remember, you have greatness and power within you

— Pete Fry “The Goalie Mindset Guy”

Learn more with Pete Fry, The Goalie Mindset Guy

Pete works with goaltenders from pee wee to pro and offers a wide variety of programs to help you have a stronger mindset and become a better goaltender.


About The Author

Pete Fry

Author, Speaker and Professional Goalie Mindset Consultant, Pete Fry takes goalies to the next level by working with their Mindset. Using proprietary mental training techniques developed from over 30 years of research and goaltender development, Fry shows goalies exactly how to do to visualize success and be mentally prepared, when to do it, and why it works using a ground breaking 30-day program, Goalie Mindset Power.