Whilst it may come across like a turncoat of the GK Union bitching about elite players, this does stand out on a technical level of analysis with the 'mental game' in mind. Especially considering that Cowling has had the luxury of playing behind a strong team (little work to do not relative to a goalkeeper's performance). Cowling's confidence 'in between the sticks' has always stood out in the national league. His puffed out chest, his air of self confidence and oozing self belief. He is a lot like Max Weinhold (German Olympian) in this respect.
And belief is crucial to a goalkeeper playing well - crucial for the team in front of them. And their consistency over a season; whether a bad loss effects them or not going into the next game etc. Peter Shilton for instance swears by the need for the goalkeeper to be 'full of it', with a lot of goalkeeper coaches encouraging a real intensity to the goalkeeper's mental approach to playing, with the need for goalkeepers to be confident in their shot stopping; the two linked intrinsically.
Compare all this to Simon Mason and his performances which pretty much ensured the survival of the Surrey side. Just so in a surprise win over Havant playing away (in which the photo above was actually taken). Whereas Mason kept struggling on and battling away no matter what, Cowling sometimes seemed to lose the thread of consistency as his confidence crumbled.
It's easy to forget the team role of goalkeeping in hockey, a team sport! If the goalkeeper gets too cocky, they can believe themselves to be above the team and their team mates, even if the defence is arguably a reason for their success. And similarly, if they stop believing in themselves, their defence can end up going the same way. As they say in ice hockey, a goalie should 'carry his team'. Goalkeeper is a self sacrificial sort of mentality and position. Goalkeepers need to bleed for their team mates, to go all out, to do whatever it takes. And have that competitive edge. Without this, you can guarantee that the season won't go well.
In an objective world of analysis, goalkeepers would be critiqued on this and also coached on this incredibly important aspect of the game. Of course, athletes are still human, but for this level of sport, the goalkeeper has to take on the responsibility for their own game and their confidence levels. If these drop, they need to restock, refresh and start believing in themselves again to get out of a 'slump'.