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12U Q-and-A: Roaming Goalies

12/21/2016, 12:15pm MST
By Phil Osaer

Q: I want my goalies to start handling the puck more. Are they too young for that? What should they work on?
A: No, they aren’t too young, in fact, goalies should be handling the puck outside of the crease in games and practice even at 8U and certainly at 10U, 12U and beyond.
It’s important for coaches to create an environment that allows youth goalies to get comfortable playing the puck in addition to simply stopping it. They should focus on making flat passes to their teammates at a range of 10-to-15 feet. And the goalies’ teammates should practice and develop their own ability to make themselves available to receive a pass from the goalie as well.
Goalies can work on their shot off the ice using standard hockey gloves to develop good shooting mechanics. Three keys to teaching a goalie to handle the puck are:

  1. The top hand (blocker) holds the stick at the top of the shaft and this hand controls the puck and dictates the height of a pass or shot.
  2. The bottom hand (catching glove) is used for leverage just above the stick’s wide paddle. Each goalie glove will fit slightly different on the stick; goalies must try different ways to use their glove hand for leverage to pass and shoot.
  3. Like defenders and forwards, goalies must scan the ice just prior to getting the puck to see their options and prepare to make a quick play to an open teammate.

We know young goalies are going to make mistakes sometimes while playing the puck, but that’s OK. It’s all part of the learning process. That’s why it’s important for coaches to create an environment where goalies can feel free to try (and sometimes fail) so they can learn, develop and improve.

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Watch this video to see more tips and drills for developing goaltenders' puck-handling and skating skills.

Tag(s): Q&A Articles