Two Confidence Boosters

Hockey practice last night was really good. We worked on lots of things – power turns with the puck, shooting after doing a big power-turn weave and bob thing, bringing the puck into the zone with a partner and shooting early so your partner could get the rebound, and about 15 minutes of 3-on-3.

My power turns are getting better, although there’s still a ton of room for improvement. Like Amy, my turns on one side are stronger and on the other side are incredibly uneven. My shooting is okay when I actually think about my form – otherwise I have these dinky little bloopers that all goalies can stop easily (i.e. almost every shot I made last night). My passing is definitely improving. And my puck possession, while still among the weaker of folks on the team, is improving. Niki turned to me at one point last night and summed up what I was thinking: “I’m so much more comfortable wtih all this now than I was at the beginning of the season!” With miles to go before we achieve perfection…

But there were two moments last night that gave me real boosts in confidence.

The first was when we were playing 3-on-3. My team went up against the team with one of the coaches on it – the coach who’s about 6’4″, has a wingspan that goes from here to Montana, and who skates incredibly fast. We played several rounds against them, with a break in-between for the other 2 teams to play. After our last round, he skated over to me and told me I’d done a really good job. While he didn’t point out anything in particular that I’d done well, just the act of noticing and commenting was a real confidence-booster.

The second moment came as we were almost ready to get off the ice. A few of us had been shooting on Renee, and as usual she was stopping pretty much everything. I don’t think I’d put one past her all night long (even when I sat on her during one drill – this is what happens when you ask defenders to act as wings and screen the goalie – we lose our sense of space, get in the crease, and sit on people… anyway!) In fact, I know that I’d put at least 10 shots into her pads, and at least 10 more into her belly. My shooting form just wasn’t on last night. But at the very end of practice, I remembered something that someone told me a couple of years ago: “Don’t look at where the goalie is, look at where the net is and then shoot at the net.” So I came in to the high slot, saw open net above Renee’s left shoulder, and ripped one up there. It’s nice to know that even when I’m having a hard time with something (like shooting), just doing it right once makes all the difference.

Then all went to the locker room and KP made me, Amy, and Libby die laughing with some unintentional humor. That’s always the best kind! Happy Summer Solstice everyone!

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