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Team Practices: Effective for Goaltenders, Too!

Team practices mark the perfect time … THE PERFECT TIME … for goaltenders to develop elite-level skills, enhance game understanding, and strengthen self-confidence that will lead to team success … and … cheering families & fans in the stands! Doesn’t that seem worth it?

Throughout every team practice, goaltenders do have an important responsibility … they must put forth 100% effort. Potentially, team practices provide goaltenders with several opportunities to work on skating, puck-stopping, puck-handling, etc. skills that are necessities for team success, goaltender success, and … overall … which is the ultimate goal … ENJOYMENT IN THE CREASE!

POTENTIALLY … this word was chosen because so many team practices in rinks all around the hockey world prove to be lost opportunities for Goaltender Education! Too often, goaltenders are asked to stand in the crease for several moments during practices while waiting, watching, and daydreaming … as the coaching staff discusses important team concepts with the “players.”

This needs to change! How about this hockey season?

Whether the coaching staff promotes a conducive learning environment for goaltenders … or not … goaltenders, themselves, must recognize that team practices can be a time for true development.

So … effective ways for goaltenders (at all levels) to remember during team practices include the following:  

  • begin each drill in the Ready (SET) Position while facing the puck at the origin of the drill
  • maintain focus during every drill
  • communicate effectively with teammates/coaches
  • practice individual skills (e.g., puck-handling, skating) when the opportunity presents itself
  • become educated with the coach’s game plans
  • become knowledgeable about all the different offensive attacks that coaches teach
  • maintain game-like precision when it comes to following shooters during ODD- and EVEN-MAN OFFENSIVE ATTACKS
  • don’t allow yourself to become ‘lazy’ by simply standing at the end point of shooting drills
  • work hard … have fun … take responsibility

ATTENTION GOALTENDERS! In addition to working extremely hard during shooting drills, try to find time to work alone, with your goaltender partner, and with your goaltender coach on the most specific, important, and required skills (e.g., sideways shuffles, butterfly slides, angles and positioning, playing pucks behind the net, etc.) during each team practice, so that when it comes time to perform in games, these critical goaltender skills have been developed properly, and have become “dominant, powerful  assets” for you to stop pucks, help win games, and help lead your team to high levels of success!

And … while doing so … ENJOY THE JOURNEY!

1 Comment »

  1. Comment by Vic LeMire

    Very, very gr8 article. These words need to be read AND discussed in an “off ice” setting first, then various points brought forth as needed during the practice.

    Elite Goaltenders become elite once they learn how to TAKE CONTROL of the scoring chance.

    It’s been said for years …”don’t make the 1st move”. Well, that statement has some value in it. However, any goaltender who has learned the skill of making the attacking Player do exactly what the Goaltender wants him/her to do will then find increased successes.

    And, during team practices is the perfect opportunity to work on adding this skill to one’s game!

    This skill becomes 100 times more effective during a game as the Shooter is under pressure and doesn’t have time figure out what the Goaltender is actually doing and thinking about.

    Goaltenders … just don’t make it too obvious!

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