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14U/16U Q-and-A: How can my goalies get the most out of every practice?

09/10/2015, 11:45am MDT
By Phil Osaer, ADM Manager of Youth Goaltending Programs

Q: How can my goalies get the most out of every practice?
A: At this age level, it’s important for goalies to understand that it’s time to take ownership of their development. Creating good practice habits is a great way to start. Goaltenders can focus on these three simple techniques to get the most out of each practice:

  1. The goaltender needs to prepare off the ice before practice with some kind of 10-to 15-minute activity that includes hand-eye coordination work and a total-body warm-up. Jumping rope, playing catch with a tennis ball and juggling a soccer ball are all great activities that help an athlete warm-up. Don’t expect your team to warm you up, be ready to go as soon as practice starts.
  2. Great goaltenders at all levels compete to stop every shot. In order for that to happen, the goalie must work to get into position prior to the shot, watch the puck all the way into their equipment, and finally, track every rebound until it’s out of the range of play. Every practice, compete to stop every shot.
  3. Goaltenders need to understand that every practice situation provides an opportunity to develop. If your team is doing a drill that doesn’t include a lot of shots, take that opportunity to work on movement and follow the play as if the players could shoot at any time. All goalies can work on simulated crease movements if the play is in the other end of the ice. Remember, the play isn’t constantly around the goalie in a game, so developing the ability to stay focused is an important skill that can be honed in practice.

The author, Phil Osaer, played 12 seasons of pro hockey after earning All-CCHA honors at Ferris State. In 2014-15, he was Michigan State's director of hockey operations. Prior to that, Osaer served as an assistant coach and goaltending coach in the USHL.

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