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Best Practice "Practices

Sammie-Goguen

 

Well, here we are again.  Back to practice only & games cancelled because of the virus.  Understanding this is incredibly disappointing for everyone in hockey, we

goaltenders need to turn this negative into a positive & look at this “hiccup” as an opportunity to really build the technical part of our game. This will all start with a  

commitment to “get better at getting better” & an understanding that even a 5% improvement in skills over this down time will translate into a substantial uptake in

your game play when the season resumes.

​​Before I move on to the best practice "practices", I want to emphasize that the saying "you play like you practice" is exactly true.... if you give your best effort in

practice, you'll do the same in the game; if you pay attention to details in practice, you will in a game.  For the goaltender, this so much more important because your

play, good or bad, can determine the outcome of a game.  Every goaltender needs to take responsibility for their development & engage in a certain amount of self-

coaching. Practice is the only opportunity a goaltender gets to really work on skill development.

 
So, here are best practice practices for goaltenders:

prepare for the ice time: make sure your body is warmed up and stretched before you get on the ice.  Time on ice is meant for developing skills, not for warming

up and stretching


drill explanations: potentially you DO NOT need to be at the board for every drill explanation (unless head coach insists) unless it involves breakouts, power play or

penalty kill.  So, ask head coach to signal you when these are up next, so you can jump in.  During these times, think about the role you could play in drill (don’t

hesitate to ask your coach how you could be a part of the drill, particularly in the case of a transition or zone exit). Use the times when drill explanations don’t

involve any of the above to work on some technical details... movements into & out of RVH, tracking pucks behind the net, using rink markings to find angle & depth,

etc. 

have a plan for each practice: you need to go on the ice with a goal or an objective.  Otherwise, you will tend to just “float” through practice & come off ice without

really producing any positive result except for a bit of perspiration (maybe). Discuss this with your position/goaltending coach, if you have one, before going on the

ice.  Perhaps he/she has something in mind.  Or, if not, suggest something you want to improve on from your last game such as keeping your hands ahead of your

body in stance, keeping your stick on the ice and in your 5-hole.  Basically, anything you want to become better at


get your skating in first: as soon as you step on the ice, take two HARD, QUICK LAPS AROUND THE ICE & head for a crease to work on footwork drills.  You need to

work on skating/footwork every practice.  Ask head coach first so he can keep one net clear from player shooting at the beginning of each practice


puck tracking: from the time it leaves the shooter’s stick, as it comes into your body, and you smother it or catch it or direct the rebound away with your blocker,

pad or stick keep your eyes focused on & your nose pointed to the puck.  Remember puck tracking includes plays which cross behind the net below the goal line

 
physically reposition on rebounds: if you cannot, (sometimes the spacing between shots does not permit time to physically reposition on rebounds) at least

continue to visually track pucks after you make the save 

 
work on your in-game communication skills: vocalize information to your team-mates when the team is working power play or penalty kill or breakouts.  It will be

easier to transfer this skill to games if you have already practiced it.

  
battle hard to stop every shot: even those you know you don't have a chance to stop.  Your team-mates will appreciate your effort when you challenge them (plus

it helps them improve their puck skills) & it will show your commitment to improving.  Secondly, your “battle mentality” will transfer to your game play & help you

make that "game saving" stop from time to time


handle pucks every practice: make it a point to get out & stop, set, or play any rims or pucks that come near the net to get a feel of how you want to react in

different situations.  Better to make a mistake in practice, than in a game. (ask your coach to put a plan together with your teammates on how you should handle

rimmed pucks or dump-in situations to help your team make zone exits easier)

The "Most Important" Season
 

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