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!

 

Grow Your Game

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Hey Guys,

I hope everyone is having an awesome summer so far. If you’re in school, summer vacation is just around the corner. Tryouts have wrapped up, and by now you should have a pretty good idea of where you’ll be playing next season. For most of this month, hockey can be the farthest thing from your mind, which is great! I’m a firm believer in taking some time away from the ice, and away from the game, to let your body and your mind reset.

For myself, I usually take the month of June to reset too, but this year I had a great opportunity to develop as a coach, so I can come back to you guys and take your development to the next level as well!

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Myself and former Dallas Stars goalie coach and current Hockey Canada advisor Mike Valley.

I had an amazing chance to learn from some of the top minds in the game at the NetWork Goaltending Symposium. For 3 days at the University of Wisconsin I got to watch presentations from coaches like Pasco Volana (Hockey Canada), Mike Valley (Most recently of the Dallas Stars), Rob Tallas (Florida Panthers), Thomas Magnusson (Director of Goaltending, Swedish Ice Hockey Federation), and many more incredible goalie coaches.

In addition to hearing from those speakers, we also participated in group discussions where I was fortunate to collaborate with goalie coaches from around the world to discuss coaching and development strategies.

Coming back from that, I’m so excited to share what I’ve learned.

From July 10th to 13th I’ll be running a goalie clinic at Tecumseh Arena, where I’ll be able to take all this new knowledge onto the ice.

This Will Be Different Than Any Clinic You Attend This Summer

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Me with Director of Goalie Development for the Swedish Ice Hockey Association Thomas Magnusson.

I’m limiting each group to 8 goalies. Everyone will get tons of attention and coaching.

Best of all, we’re going to be implementing the same concepts and learning strategies that these world class goalie coaches are using to help the best goalies in the world.

These 4 days will lay a new foundation of skill for you to build on the rest of the summer. We’ll teach you to look at the game and the position differently. We’ll use your creativity to find the best solutions for your game.

Ultimately, we’re going to help you to make more saves, and make them easier. That’s really what it’s all about.

I can’t wait to get started.

 

Tryouts: Work Smarter

Hey Guys,

It’s starting to get a bit warmer outside, and for most minor hockey teams, the season is winding down. Hopefully you all created some great memories and had lots of fun this season. I know some of my goalies had greats seasons, and I’m very proud of all their hard work this year. It won’t be long now before the focus will shift to tryouts. It’s amazing how quickly it seems to come once the season finishes. Invariably, every  year I get the same question: “what are coaches looking for when I try out?” The answer is, hopefully several things. Having been on both sides of this question, let me break down how I look at goalies during tryouts.

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  1. Skating – I cannot emphasise enough how important skating is to a goalie’s game. I look for the obvious things like balance and speed, but I also look for the subtle things like precision. Does the goalie hit their spot every time, square and with good depth, in their stance? Are they leading with their head, eyes, and stick blade as they move? Can they stay in a position to react throughout their movements, or does it take them some time to get set? If you focus on developing your skating, your whole game will improve.
  2. Puck Control – If you’re trying out to play on a rep level team, I assume you’re already skilled enough to stop the puck. Most average goalies can get some body part in the way of a shot. What sets elite level goaltenders apart is that they control the game by controlling where the puck goes after they save it. Goalies who are putting rebounds out into scoring areas give coaches fits. Work on deflecting low shots into corners and holding onto anything in the top 2/3 of the net.
  3. Stop the Puck – At the end of the day, just like any other job, results matter. You can be the best looking goalie on the ice, but if you can’t keep the puck out of the net, it’s going to be tough to make a case to keep you. Just focus on being solid. Make the saves you’re supposed to make, and don’t worry about being flashy. Nothing is more frustrating than a goalie who makes the big windmill glove save, only to let in the next easy shot along the ice.

Those are the biggest elements I look for when evaluating goalies. Obviously there are other skills such as puckhandling that are certainly nice to have, but it’s the goalies who are great at the basics who really excel.

With that in mind, make use of all the ice time you have leading up to tryouts to get better at the foundational skills of the game. Be hard on yourself in drills. Don’t let any of the details slide.

When the tryout comes around, be confident and trust your preparation. Only worry about what you can control, and trust that the coaches will see your attention to detail.

Good luck! See you at the rink.

 

Schedule Page

Hey Guys,

In my last post I mentioned I would be publishing a schedule so you could check my availability and keep on top of any clinics or camps we’re doing. That page is now live and can be found here or at the top of the home page.

That’s all for today. I hope everyone had a good weekend. Let’s start the week off with a bang! Whether you planned to or not, get a good workout in today and set the tone for the week. Your body will thank you.

Talk soon