Sunday Q&A- 1st Installment
Each week we will give honest answers to 2-3 questions regarding goaltending and the development of young goaltenders. Please submit your questions on our home page!
Q: What do you recommend for my 10 year old goalie to focus on throughout the spring? He loves to play baseball competitively, but with so many options for hockey, we don’t want to feel he is being left behind.
A: The problem we see today is that many minor hockey coaches also assemble spring teams, and the attraction there for families is that they want to stay in said coaches ‘good books’ by following suit and playing for his/her spring program.
My advice is simple. If your son or daughter has an interest in another sport, let them play it!
If any coach has an issue with that, and you are unable to make a commitment to play for a spring hockey team due to another sport, so be it. Burn out is certainly real and I have seen it all too often. If you are feeling pressured to pay big dollars for a spring team, do some research. Ask around. Any coach with integrity would agree with my above statement.
I do believe that although you may introduce another sport, and if your son or daughter is serious about becoming an elite goalie, you need to be on the ice year round. That isn’t to say they need to be on 5 days a week, however staying on the ice 1-2 times a week or every other week, and keeping sharp will make the transition easier as your summer training begins and tryouts are around the corner.
We have to keep the game fun for our youth, and by slowing the frequency down in the spring and early summer months will help make hockey more enjoyable as the season approaches. I am seeing less and less ‘athletes’ as I work with young goalies. Having a strong foundation of coordination, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance and core strength all help with becoming a great goaltender. Giving your children the ability to work on all these aspects through other sports is a great way to hone these skills.
Q: We don’t get any formal goalie coaching during the minor hockey season, based on our location. What is the best advice you can give us for trying to find some goalie specific work throughout the season to help our son improve?
A: My first response is to search out and make sure there is no one in the area that could help out.
If you are having a tough time finding anyone, look at a near-by junior or midget program and try to get in contact with a goaltender that would like to help out. Goalies love helping other goalies, and for myself, I have older minor hockey goalies mentor my younger ones often, which turns into great relationships that are beneficial for both parties.
Still out of options? YouTube and social media are your friend. There is so much material out there now that goalie coaches are publishing content wise, absolutely free. www.goaliecoaches.com is a fantastic resource.
Send links to your team coach and throw some ideas their way. Not having a goalie coach isn’t an excuse for your goalie not to improve. Don’t accept your young goalie being left behind. Push your coaches to gain a little knowledge of the position. It will go a long way.
If you are ever needing drills or practice plans, never hesitate to reach out and I will help provide some good guidance. Send e-mails to: