As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to briefly sum up what I learned over the weekend in Nashville with all the brilliant goaltending minds I got to be around.
There was so much amazing content, I would never be able to do justice to the presentations or the presenters by trying to recap all of them here.
However, the great thing about the goalie community is that usually, most of us are on the same page.
What I can do is tell you about the most important concepts I learned and how that’s going to make me a better coach for all you guys headed into next season. (I’m really excited!)
A few of the presentations dealt with vision. Whether it was the ability to track objects with our eyes most efficiently, or the best possible way to find pucks through traffic, and even the head and body position to find and track pucks most easily (on that note: it was interesting to hear the differences in opinion on that aspect of things from country to country.)Embed from Getty Images
The main takeaway: if you can’t see it, you can’t stop it. The biggest priority as a goalie is to do everything we can to gain sight of the puck, and as much information about the shot as we can.
Another interesting thing I gathered from listening to these coaches was that much of their time with their goalies is spent developing a game plan. As goalies, our game plan will look much different than the plan an offensive player will use. We are on the reactive side of the game. Players are looking to create chances and opportunities. We can only play in response to what they do. Knowing ahead of time how we want to handle our most commonly faced situations gives us an advantage.Embed from Getty Images
The main takeaway: if you haven’t taken the time with your coach to discuss a game plan with your coach/goalie, you’re not preparing at the highest level.
Note for coaches: the older or more mature your goalie, the more involved they should be in this discussion. They will learn themselves and be able to tell you “in this situation I feel most comfortable doing this” or “I’m comfortable being patient on my feet to about this point but then I have to make a decision.” Work with your goalie to come up with solutions together so they feel invested in their own development process.
The last, but most important takeaway is a philosophy that’s been part of my foundation since I started coaching; to develop the person first, then the athlete, then finally the goalie. Long term success requires more than just refining the technical side of things with a goalie. It requires a person who has the determination to execute high level habits consistently. It takes character. It’s more important for me to develop good people than good goalies.Embed from Getty Images
The habits you develop working to become a great goalie are the same habits that will make you a great student, great at your job, and great in your personal life as well.
My hope is that those are the areas you’ll take the biggest strides in this summer and into next season.
I’m very excited to implement all of this awesome knowledge with you guys getting ready for next season!