"This week hasn't really sunk in yet. I haven't had a minute to think about it. And I don't think I will spend a lot of time thinking about it...tomorrow will be nice, I get to sleep in for once." - Mike Condon
What a story for the Massachusetts native. Mike Condon had a stint at Princeton University, where he completed a degree in politics, and is currently serving as the back-up goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens. His goalie coach? Stephane Waite. The other half of the Habs' goaltending duo, and another of Condon's mentors? Carey Price.
That is some pretty great company for an undrafted goaltender, making his NHL debut at 25 years old. And with Price currently sitting out with a lower body injury, Condon has more than proved his abilities, even earning himself the NHL's third star of the week.
When fans got word of Price's lower body injury, most were understandably concerned for the superstar, yet understandably confident in Condon's abilities, and he did not disappoint. In seven games played so far this season, Condon is 6-0-1 with a .940 sv% and 1.57 GAA.
As of November 9, his numbers are better than Price's. How did such a talent remain out of the NHL for so long? And now that he's shown what he can do under the advisement of both Waite and Price, how can Condon ensure he keeps the Montreal brass interested?
Condon is much like Price in many ways: he's just an inch shorter, catches left, has reasonably strong lateral movement in the crease, and plays the puck very well. Each of these things will allow Stephane Waite to be able to use a similar teaching and development style with Condon as he would with Price. Most importantly, Condon is a bit older, and is an extremely confident athlete.
Self-confidence is essentially a belief in oneself that you can perform a desired behaviour, or complete a desired task. However, certain successful athletes possess one very important thing; something we call trait confidence, meaning their confidence is a part of their personality. I would argue that Montreal is fortunate to have two goaltenders who possess this trait. Here are just a few of the main benefits of athletes having self-confidence:
- When an athlete is confident, he is able to remain relaxed in high pressure situations. Goaltenders, especially in Montreal, face immense pressure, both on and off the ice.
- With confidence comes concentration. An athlete is able to focus more readily on the task at hand, something exceptionally important for goaltending.
- Confidence can affect game strategies. Typically, confident athletes play to win, meaning they take chances and tend to find ways to make plays to their advantage.
- Finally, confidence affects performance. Many studies have shown the link between self-confidence and higher performance levels.
The Montreal Canadiens currently possess two not-so-secret weapons. Carey Price; Vezina and Hart Trophy winner, and Mike Condon; NHL rookie on a mission. While I argue that both of these athletes possess trait-based confidence, it's easy to see that the Habs' organization is in very capable hands this season.
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Bending but not Breaking, retrieved from: http://canadiens.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=786830
Weinberg, R.S., & Gould,D. (2011). Foundations for Sport and Exercise Psychology. (5th). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.