The Art of Mastering Teams

Hockey Goalie Tips for the Newbie

So you want to be a pro hockey player? On top of staying focused on your dream, there are some things you should do to really get there.

Master skating.

Goaltending is mainly based on balance and edges. A good skater is usually a good goaltender. Before each practice and game, your warmup must 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. 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.

Improve 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. Make sure to catch pucks and block shots to the corner as part of your warm-up routine. Put 30 pucks in the slot, and let someone shoot at your hand while you’re in your butterfly. The pros do this for their day-to-day warm-up.

Be ready in mind.

Believe it or not, goal-tending is 80 percent a mental 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. Picturing yourself in actual play can help you improve your game. It can mean the difference between a good and bad decision at the right or wrong time.

Maintain good physical fitness.

If you’re a goalie, being the hardest worker and most physically fit player on a team is a must. Every year, Mike Richter of the New York Rangers’took home the fitness award. Hall of Famer Ed Belfour was once a triathlete. St.Louis’ Brian Elliott is recognized for being among the hardest-working goalies of the sport. Your teammates regard you as their rock. Leave no room for them to have doubts. By staying fit and working hard, they will feel more assured that you will always have their back.

Develop resiliency.

Lastly, be aware that even the best goalies know they will have their share of bad goals and bad games. It’s all natural. 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? We all know the answer.