RVH Dead Angle Post Integration

Hey Guys,

Just a quick one today. I wanted to share with you a simple drill I did at last week’s goalie camp.

Most of the shots a goalie sees in his regular practice are from the slot or the wing. The usual practice drill spots.

The purpose of this drill was to help the goalie develop a game plan for low percentage shots at a severe angle. The goal was to create a strategy to feel confident in not only making the save, but also controlling the potential rebound.

Often in this scenario the initial shot isn’t the most dangerous thing, but rather the rebound created by the odd angle.

I encourage goalies to try whatever post integration technique they feel comfortable with, and discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each.

This goalie in particular is midget age, and recently went through a significant growth spurt. He doesn’t quite have the hip mobility to go toe box on post or blade on post and still create a good seal on the post, so he chooses to go shin on post. We go over, at length, what openings that strategy leaves and how best to deal with them.

The drill is super simple, but the benefits of knowing what to do with these types of shots are crucial.

Andrew

PS. If you’ve never taken the time to develop your own plan to deal with all the crazy scenarios you’ll see in a game, let me know using the contact form and we can figure out a plan that’s going to work best for your game.

The Grass is Always Greener…

Hey Guys,

Last Thursday, one of the AAA teams I work closely with had our first summer skate leading up to training camp. I hadn’t had the opportunity to work with either of my goalies over the summer, so this was our first time on the ice together since tryouts after last season ended.

I had a bit of time alone with them before the team got into flow drills, and we went through a very basic set of drills. Stuff they knew how to do without thinking, with the intention of getting their legs and lungs into hockey shape.

What I actually got was much, much uglier. My guys were making simple mistakes. Lazy post integration. Not hitting their targets with pushes. No visual attachment to their targets in the first place. Things we’d nailed down so early in the season last year that it was an afterthought by mid season.

But that was last year. I know these kids have all these skills, but they hadn’t trained them in almost 3 months. It reminded me of a quote I’ve heard before…

The grass is always greener…where you water it!

It’s not as if they forgot how to play goalie overnight. It was simply that the skills it takes to be the best at your position take consistent reinforcement to stay sharp. The skills didn’t stay “green” (sharp) because they weren’t getting any “water” (practice) all summer!as

Now, I’m a big believer in taking time away from the ice once your season is done. Your body and mind need that break. However, once the time rolls around to start ramping up to the season, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can pick up right where you left off last year. The foundation of your game is going to need some refreshing. There’s not much sense trying to build a new set of skills when those fundamental pieces aren’t fully operational.

The best thing you can do is make sure you’re taking time to work on the skills that will have the most impact during the season.

  • Skating – Not for the sake of making you the most tired possible, but to work on how you’re pushing and stopping, going down and getting up, to make sure you’re working as efficiently as possible. That way you’ll be as sharp in the third period as you were in the first.
  • Tracking – One of the more overused terms in goalie coaching, but we’re working to ensure that your whole body is involved in the save, moving towards the puck and placing the rebound appropriately.
  • Recovery – Deciding how to attack your new angle in the best way, based on the new situation.

As soon as you have the ability to get on the ice, start “watering” all those major areas of your goaltending “yard”, so that when it really counts in the winter, you’ll be in full bloom!

Andrew

PS. If you’re reading this, and you feel like you don’t know where to start, but you know you want to be as prepared as possible use the contact form in the About Me page to get in touch, and I’ll do the best I can to get you going in the right direction.

NetWork Goaltending Symposium 2018: Highlights

Hey Guys,

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.)

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

Yee-Haw! 2018 NetWork Goaltending Symposium LIVE from Nashville!

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Hey Y’all!

Ok so maybe “LIVE” is a bit of a stretch. I just got home from the long drive back, and I’m fired up!

The 2018 NetWork Goaltending Symposium just wrapped up, and this year was better than ever. These 3 days of classroom and on ice presentations are something I really look forward to now, ever since my first time attending last year in Madison, Wisconsin. This year was in Nashville, Tennessee, and the change in venue really added a spark of excitement to the atmosphere. Nashville is absolutely a hockey town now, bolstered by the recent success of the Predators. We were fortunate to be there while minor hockey tryouts were happening, and it was apparent that the state of hockey at the grassroots level in Nashville is very exciting.

The presentations are always fantastic. Having the opportunity to hear from coaches working at the highest level of the game is always a treat. Beyond that, having the chance to connect with them on a human level and form meaningful personal and professional relationships is priceless.

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Something new this year was the addition of on ice presentations. It provided a nice break from the classroom environment and allowed us to see some of the concepts we were being taught in action.

I’ll get into some of the individual concepts I learned in later posts so I’m able to do them justice individually.

Ultimately, this weekend always challenges me to revaluate the way I coach. It pushes me to get even better for you guys, my goalies, and make sure I’m taking every opportunity to push you guys to your full potential, and have fun in the process.

I can’t wait to hit the ice again now that I’m back home and put some of these new skills to use!

I’ll be putting my summer schedule out shortly to help you guys stay sharp over the summer months and set the foundation to have the best season of your career!

Yours in Goaltending,

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How Well Do You Deserve to Perform?

It’s kind of an odd question, right? It’s not often we think of our performance as something we’ve earned. The reality is, whatever level you’re at, most of your competition is more or less as talented as you are. You might have an edge in some areas, and they might have an edge in others, but it’s not those slight differences in talent that are going to make the difference over the course of a full season. What’s going to make the difference is your ability to stay consistent in the areas that matter most.

So, what areas matter most? Wins? Your goals against average? That might be what consistency looks like to someone outside the game, but those things are very circumstantial. Winning or losing a game is ultimately not just up to us. The areas where your consistency matters most are the ones that you have complete control over. Are you practicing with good habits and challenging yourself every time you’re on the ice? Are you preparing your body consistently in the gym? Are you sleeping well enough? Are you eating the right things to fuel your body? If we act with purpose in every area we are in control of, consistency will be the result. As always, the inverse is true as well. If we’re only practicing good habits some of the time, only taking care of our body in the gym when we feel like it, or not staying disciplined with our sleep or our diet, then the results we’ll see on the ice will reflect that inconsistency as well.

So, ask yourself the question again: how well do you deserve to perform? Are the daily decisions you make lining up with your desired result?

The Winter Blues

Hey guys,

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are off of the trees and it won’t be long before the only green we’ll be seeing is the bits of pine trees still visible through the snow. From a health and fitness perspective, winter often brings some new issues to deal with. The bleak weather and lack of available fresh produce often leads to us zombie-ing through the holidays, and stumbling into January in dire need of that new year’s resolution.

We’ve all heard that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so instead of using the first part of 2018 to try and make up for the end of 2017, let’s do our best to adopt some habits now that will give us the best chance to stay consistent throughout the winter and start the new year off with a bang.

1. Vegetables and Fruit

In the summer, you can find a produce stand with locally grown fruit and vegetables on just about every corner. When produce is plentiful and cheap, we’re a lot more likely to make them a part of our regular diet. When winter comes around however, we often let that part of our diet slip. We don’t necessarily think of salad as a winter meal, but our body’s need for the nutrients we get from leafy greens and bright vegetables doesn’t go away with the warm weather.

Especially as the holidays approach, when you know you’ll be indulging in a larger meal with loved ones, make sure you’re body is getting everything it needs by starting with a salad that includes dark leafy greens like kale and romaine lettuce, and bright vegetables like bell peppers and carrots. Purple cabbage and grape tomatoes add a great pop of colour and flavour as well.

2. Get active!

As the temperature drops, so does the number of people you see outside running or biking, or at the gym. It’s another case of convenience. When it’s warm outside, that ride through the trails or that trip to the gym is easier. In order to maintain the results we’ve gotten over the summer though, it’s essential that we don’t let the colder weather deter us from continuing to pursue our health and fitness goals. That includes making it a priority to get outside for at least a few hours a week. A significant contributing factor to Seasonal Affective Disorder is our decreased exposure to sunlight, so take the opportunity to go for a winter walk, shovel a neighbour’s driveway, or even take up a winter hobby like skiing or snowboarding.

3. Sleep

Very often the change in daylight hours causes our regular sleep schedule to get thrown off. One of the major causes of increased cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body is lack of sleep. If you’re already not getting 7-8 hours of sleep consistently at night, the winter season can really play havoc with your sleep schedule. Try to limit the things that can affect your ability to fall asleep and get a restful sleep when you do. Limit screen time as bedtime approaches. That means shutting down the phone, iPad, laptop, tv, or any other electronic device, and really letting your body and brain relax to prepare to sleep. This is a great opportunity to take some time to stretch or meditate or whatever your favourite relaxation exercise is. (Mine is a short yoga routine I found on YouTube a while ago). You’ll be amazed at how easy you’ll fall asleep when your head hits the pillow, and how well rested you’ll feel when it’s time to wake up.

 

Implementing as many of these habits as often as possible throughout the winter will go a long way towards avoiding the pitfalls that many people experience during the winter months. This may give you the advantage you need to break through those stubborn barriers in this upcoming year and get you to a new level of health, fitness, and success!

 

A Look Inside: 1 on 1 with a Junior Goalie

Hey Guys,

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!