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14U/16U Q-and-A: Offseason recommendations for goaltenders

08/06/2023, 2:30pm MDT
By Phil Osaer

Q: I am a 15-year-old goalie who loves to play hockey and wants to keep playing after high school. What can I do during the offseason to get better and make that dream become a reality?

A: At your age, goaltenders must work on athleticism, strength and flexibility during the offseason. This is best accomplished by playing multiple sports, obtaining and committing to a training program from a professional strength coach, and reflecting on the previous season and making a plan to improve every aspect of your game.

Consider the following:

  • The best goaltenders are the best athletes. Goalies should be extremely active in the offseason. Swimming, yoga, Pilates, lacrosse, soccer and tennis are great supplementary activities for goaltenders. These can provide benefits and skills that transfer especially well to goaltending.
  • At this age, athletes typically begin to seek out strength and conditioning coaches, but remember, it’s very important to seek out certified coaches who understand where you are in your development and who tailor the program to you and your specific goals. 
  • The offseason is the perfect time to create a season plan for next year. In order to create an effective season plan, write down your big-picture goals, your goals for the season and your immediate goals. Identify attributes in your own game that need to improve and document how you plan to improve each aspect. Once you have your season plan, discuss it with your coach. Ask your coach to help guide you as you work toward your goals.

In the 14U and 16U age classifications, goaltenders need to be accountable for their development. During games, our position is reactive. During the offseason, it's a proactive position.

Take responsibility for your development and make it a great offseason!

Phil Osaer, former USA Hockey ADM goaltending manager, played 12 pro seasons after earning All-CCHA honors at Ferris State. In 2014-15, he was Michigan State's hockey operations director. Prior to that, he was a USHL assistant coach and goaltending coach.

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