As a grade 9 school teacher I'll often introduce a new topic by finding out what the students already know about the topic. For example, students will be asked to write down everything they know about the topic 'X' for two minutes. Then they pair up and discuss their thoughts with a partner, possibly adding to their list. After a couple of minutes pass we turn to the front of the class and the students can share their discoveries with the teacher and classmates.
I'd love to lead this activity with coaches when it comes to "What fundamentals should coaches look to instill in their goalies?" Sure a class clown will say, "Know how to stop the puck" but what I'd like all coach-students to say by the end of the unit is at least the following...
#1 GOALIES SHOULD BE THE BEST SKATERS ON THE TEAM - If goalies practice shuffles, t-pushes and slides every practice they will progress. If the goalie isn't independent enough to do it on her own she should skate regular skating drills with the defence and forwards. One thing goalies have in common with skaters is they both have edges and need basics like agility and coordination.
#2 BE SURE THE EQUIPMENT FITS PROPERLY - If the gear is too big and bulky it will get in the way and your goalie may become frustrated. If it's too small the players is risking injury. If the paddle of the stick is too big or too small her posture will be all wrong and her balance will be off. Be sure to have a goalie coach help fit equipment properly.
#3 KEEP THE STICK ON THE ICE - Now that she has a properly sized stick keep it on the ice. As the goalie moves side to side and post to post the stick should lead all movements. Coaches keep an eye on the goalie's stick making sure it's on the ice.
#4 KEEP THE GLOVE HAND OPEN - Goalies should hold their trapper / glove out and open to stop shooters from even attempting to shoot there. If the shooter doesn't see net she won't shoot. Too often young goalies don't practice all drills with their glove hand open. This will lead to slow reactions as well as time is wasted opening the glove only to get it in position where it should have been all along.
#5 RECOVER QUICKLY - Goalies need to be able to get back to their skates after a save. Would you want your defenceman on his knees after blocking a shot and killing a penalty? No, of course not. Goalies need their skates to move efficiently around the crease as well. Each practice she should work on conditioning herself to recover quickly and with skill so she's set for the next shot.
Some students exceed expectations and some coaches know far beyond the basics. If a coach watches for these 5 fundamentals of goaltending he will be doing all of his players a favor.
The points made in this blog are found in a wonderful resource for goalies called The Pro Stock Hockey Goalie E-Book. In it the reader will find many tips and guides to help coach goalies from beginner to elite.
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