Hockey Goalie Tips for the Newbie
So you’re aiming for a career as a pro hockey player? Aside from never losing sight of your dream, there are some things you can do to actually get there.
Goaltending is mainly based on balance and edges. Better skaters, better goaltenders. Pre-game and pre-practice warm-up should always include basic skating drills. For instance, a T-push is great for long crease movement;shuffles are for smaller side-to-side movements. None of these two should take long. Maybe go for one set of 10 reps each, which is about two to 10 minutes. Most professional goalies practice these skating drills as part of their routine. Do as the pros and you will one day be in their place.
Work on your hand skills.
When the butterfly save advanced in the 1990s, goaltenders began to work on-ice coverage, to an extent overlooking their hands in the process. During warm-up, do simple puck-catching and corner shot block drills. Throw 30 pucks into the slot, and, in the middle of your butterfly, get someone to shoot at your hands. This is often part of professional goalies’daily warm-up.
Prepare your mind.
Goal-tending is 80% mind game. Be prepared then before hitting the ice. Look for a quiet spot where you can be alone for at least ten minutes, building up focus. Imagining yourself playing and playing it right can be a great help to your game. It may spell the difference between a smart decision and a total blunder at any given time.
Goalies have to be the hardest working and fittest players on any team. Every year, Mike Richter of the New York Rangers’took home the fitness award. Hall of Famer Ed Belfour used to be a triathlete . Brian Elliott of St.Louis has a reputation for being one of the hardest-working goalies in history. As a goalie, you should expect your teammates look to you as their rock. Don’t give them reason to have doubts. The fitter and more hard-working you are, the more reassured they will feel about you always being there to watch their back.
Lastly, be aware that even the best goalies know they will have their share of bad goals and bad games. It’s simply part of nature. Do it like the pros – learn about the ways to dismiss those bad days and to not be affected by them. You can get scored on, but there’s no reason to let it bother you. Martin Brodeur was scored on a total of nearly 3,000 time – now was that enough to keep him from being a world-famous goalie? You very well know the answer.