The Art of Mastering Teams

Tips for the Hockey Goalie Amateur

So you’re aiming for a career as 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’s foundation is balance and edges. Better skaters, better goaltenders. Prior to every practice and game, your warmup has to include simple 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. Perhaps aim for a 10-rep set for each, lasting around two to 10 minutes. Most professional goalies practice these skating drills as part of their routine. Following the footsteps of the pros will lead you where they are.

Perfect your hand skills.

As the butterfly save arose in the 1990s, goaltenders start focusing too much on on-ice coverage, to the point that they somehow forgot about their hands. Make sure to catch pucks and block shots to the corner as part of your warm-up routine. Throw 30 pucks into the slot, and, in the middle of your butterfly, get someone to shoot at your hands. The pros do this for their day-to-day warm-up.

Be ready in mind.

Goal-tending is 80% mind game. 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. Picturing yourself in actual play can help you improve 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. Brian Elliott of St.Louis has a reputation for being one of the hardest-working goalies in history. Your teammates regard you as their rock. Never give them reason to doubt. The fitter and more hard-working you are, the more reassured they will feel about you always being there to watch their back.

Develop a bounce-back attitude.

Finally, know that even the best goalies understand that bad goals and more bad games are all part of the package. 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 are going to get scored on, but don’t fuss over it. Martin Brodeur had been scored on close to 3,000 times in his entire carer – now did it stop him on the success path? Obviously not.

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