Tips for the Hockey Goalie Amateur
So you’d like to be a professional hockey player? Besides staying committed to your dream, there are more concrete things you can do to increase your chances of getting there.
At the core, goaltending is about balance and edges. A good skater is usually a good goaltender. Prior to every practice and game, your warmup has to include simple skating drills. For example, use a T-push for long crease movements and shuffles when you need to change your position side to side. None of these two should take long. A single 10-rep set for each, which can be anywhere from two o 10 minutes, is usually good enough. Most professional goalies practice these skating drills as part of their routine. If you do as the pros, you will be one yourself in the future.
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. Get 30 pucks in the slot, and, during your butterfly, have somebody shoot at your hands. Professional goalies usually do this during their regular warm-up.
Prepare yourself mentally.
Most pros would tell you that goal-tending is predominantly mental. So before you come in contact with the ice, be sure your mind is ready. Go to a quiet spot and spend at least ten minutes alone while building 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.
Maintain good physical fitness.
As the goalie, you need to be the hardest worker and fittest player on your team. Mike Richter of the New York Rangers won the fitness award year after year. Once upon a time, Hall of Famer Ed Belfour ran triathlons. St.Louis’ Brian Elliott is known to be one of the hardest-working goalies ever. As a goalie, you serve as the rock that your teammates look up to. Never give them reason to doubt. When you’re always fit and working hard, they take it as an assurance that you will always be behind them.
Finally, know that even the best goalies understand that bad goals and more bad games are all part of the package. That is a natural and thus inevitable part of nature. Like the pros, you should learn about the importance of shrugging it off and not letting it get to you. You will get scored on, but it’s not something that should bother you. Martin Brodeur got scored on almost 3,000 times throughout his career – now did it prevent him from being a world-renowned goalie? Obviously not.