The discipline required for goalie training rivals that of any athletic position in any sport. To be a top performer on the ice, you'll need superb physical prowess and consistent readiness for action. Goaltending drills can take shape in various ways.
On-the-Ice Goalie Drills
During games and/or scrimmages, always stay focused and prepared, even when the puck is over the far blue line. Just like for a centerfielder, the play may come your way at any time. Goalies tend to be involved in the action about 50 percent of the playing time. But during games you should be ready for the puck at all times.
Tips for Staying Game Ready:
- Stretch your legs
- Tap the goal posts with your gloves and deflector during extra-wide stretches.
- Keep your stick down firmly to the ice whenever the puck is over the near blue line.
- During a game or organized practice, never turn your head during play. Always wait for the referee's or coach's whistle.
Developing forearm strength is another huge part of goalie training, because a strong grip is necessary to hold your stick tight enough to withstand the force of a slap or wrist shot. Strengthen your forearms with weights. Even helping out your folks by doing yard work or carrying groceries counts—plus you might earn extra money for new equipment! One of the best forearm strengtheners is simply practicing passing the puck with fellow goalies during team practices. And if you can practice on and off the ice with a heavier-than-game stick, you'll be effectively working the muscles needed to excel.
Goalie conditioning training usually only happens with the other skaters, so be prepared to "pull your own weight" during speed drills. But be realistic.. You are not going to beat a forward in a skating drill.
Talk your coach into having lots of shooting drills during practice, so you have some goalie work built in. Slap shot and wrist shot line-up, rapid-fire "gauntlets"—1 on 0, 2 on 0, 2 on 1, and 3 on 1—are all good drills for the goaltender, as they are for his or her skating teammates.
Off-the-Ice Goalie Drills
Cross train with activities like baseball, handball, racquetball and bicycling to the extent possible and permitted. Traditional exercises such as Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, and lifting free weights also work well.
Don't neglect or abandon your scholastic obligations just to play hockey and other sports. Being a "one-trick pony" or a just-sports athlete won't get you very far. The smart athlete is the better athlete.
While watching NHL games on TV, do some physical exercise like floor stretches and calisthenics. Take advantage of the instant replays to analyze the positioning of professional goalies, who even normally have an incredible saves-to-goals ratio.
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