Everyone is hard at work preparing for the upcoming season and we have already seen tryouts pushed back by a few months in California. How can we stay focused and motivated when we barely know when tryouts or even a season will happen?
The first thing you have to do is remember everyone is in the same boat. Although some have had time to get out on the ice and train. Overall, no goalie will show up to tryouts at their 100% best that they could have been at, if not for the effect of Covid. With that in mind we need to get back to the basics when you step back on the ice.
WHAT ARE THE BASICS:
ANGLES and Depth
What makes these things so much more important? These are the keys to stepping back into your old form. We all know the first one is essential for any goalie. Skating will be the foundation of getting back on the ice, but what type of skating do you need. Start simple if you ever think you have done to many shuffles, t-pushes or butterfly slides you are WRONG. If you don't believe me watch the countless clips of NHL caliber goaltenders working on the basics every time they step on the ice. If you have having a hard time thinking of skating drills to use. Please contact me and I will send many clips you can use to continue working on skating even when a goalie coach is not available on the ice. Once you start to get your feet moving again the next thing is tracking the puck. You have probably spent hours during the break throwing a ball off of a wall and improving your hand eye. Now you need to take it back to the ice by spending 10-15 minutes taking repetitive shots. Once again this should be routine for all goalies from mite to NHL. Find a shooter you trust and step aside to a wall (goalies do not need a net for this drill). Have the shooter put repetitive shots to your glove and blocker seeing the puck all the way from the release to the glove can be great repetition to rebuild actual habits while wearing full gear. Increase the difficulty by adding move movement before catching the shot. Always remembering to focus on seeing the release of the puck while tracking the puck to your hands in front of the body. Finally, you feel like your almost ready to get back in the game, but cannot forget about angles and depth. Being away from the ice can take away our previous good habits. By going over the markers on the ice that you identify to check out angle you can start to get a good feel for the ice again. For this you need to take the skating to a crease and work on more advanced movements such as post integration and top of the crease skating. Slowly it will all come back where you are in the crease and your ABCD's of depth.
It all seems like a lot, but it is the baby steps to being prepared for the upcoming tryouts. Please feel free to contact me for any drills that you can use in your next ice session.