I have a special treat for today. I’ve gotten permission from a very talented goalie that I have the pleasure of working with to share the video of one of our private sessions together on a mini rink.
I use a GoPro on the glass to get the whole picture, and I also bring an iPad onto the ice in order to give immediate feedback on certain situations. The GoPro makes clips of about 20 minutes long, so I’ll explain what’s going on in each clip.
We start with a warm-up I like to use. The focus is on reinforcing technique, and just getting comfortable moving, so we go puck to puck with the main movements a goalie would use.
The next drill uses 7 pucks to represent 7 standard spots a goalie would have to push to and get positioned. Each puck has a number and as I call it out, the goalie pushes to the specified puck. There is a very specific position I expect the goalie to be in for each number, so the focus is on speed and precision with each push. I still consider this to be part of the warm-up as the goalie can use this drill to get familiarised with their angles in the crease.
Now we’re going to get into some shots. With Dylan, one of our focuses has been to ensure we’re always releasing into shots, especially as a goaltender on the smaller side. One of my favourite things about Dylan is his stance. He’s constantly loaded and balanced, which means he can move in any direction very quickly. He’s an exceptionally athletic goaltender and this is a big reason why. This drill is as simple as it looks. I’m taking shots aimed at the holes under his arms and his goal is to release the proper skate blade to butterfly into the shot and get hit in the chest.
This drill continues into the second video.
We then progressed into a simulated odd-man rush. This is a great example of a drill that was a result of a discussion with the goalie about the best way to play a certain situation he was presented with recently. We often take advantage of sessions like this to go over different situations to come up with a game plan. I think it’s important to know what we’d like to do ideally in every situation. This is the time to go through some trial and error and see what will work best.
Our next area of focus was transitioning into and out of the RVH. I wanted to make sure we covered a variety of depths to determine the best way to manage each one. On each side we started with giving the goalie time to reach full depth, simulating a pass to a position high in the zone from below the goal line. Then we moved deeper, simulating a pass to the low slot, but still challenging the goalie to keep their feet. Lastly we moved to just above the crease and simulated a one timer from a tight position.
At this point we’re ramping up the tempo to include some game like drills. We start with a 2 puck scramble drill that forces a quick reaction and change of direction. The goalie has to read the direction of the shooter, and quickly shift focus to the 2nd puck and race to get into the best position possible for the 2nd shot.
During this drill, we decided to have some fun to end the hour and work on some of the desperation saves that we don’t often get to work on.
Overall we took the time to address some of the basic skills we always look to sharpen, as well as some specific concerns that are unique to this goalie and his game. The best part about working with goalies of this calibre is that they take ownership of their own development. As goalie coaches, our job is to collaborate with the goalie to find an approach that achieves results and that the goalie is comfortable with. If the goalie doesn’t believe in the approach, they likely won’t do it instinctively in a game. Find a coach who is your partner in finding the right approach to the game, so you can work together to make this your best season yet!