Ice hockey is a fast-paced, exciting sport that can be a lot of fun to play, but it can also be difficult to watch if you’re not used to it. Like any other sport, ice hockey has its disadvantages. The biggest one is probably getting injured. The smallest one is probably having your feelings hurt by a bad call. In between, there’s a lot of physical contact and that sometimes leads to injuries. As a hockey goalie, your responsibility is to protect your players and the ice surface. One of the best ways to do that is by learning hockey strategy and improving your techniques, so that when a goal is scored, it’s not because the goalie was being careless or hadn’t practiced enough. In this article, we’ll discuss some useful tips on how to be a better goalie, along with an overview of NHL goaltender equipment so that you can become more familiar with what you need. Let’s get started.
Improve Your Hockey Skills
If you’re serious about being a professional goaltender, then the first thing you should do is work on your hockey skills. Just keeping your glove out there is not going to cut it, you need to learn how to stop shots, especially those hard shots that come from seemingly impossible angles. There are numerous free online goalie training programs that you can sign up for, or if you’re looking for a one-on-one tutor, then there are many hockey coaches that you can hire privately. When you’re improving your hockey skills, it’s also a good idea to buy a used goalie mask and stick from an experienced player, or even a hockey teammate whose mask you’ll be borrowing for the purpose of practice. Borrowing equipment is acceptable as long as you’re not going to sell it afterwards. This way, you’ll be able to work on your aim while having the physical contact of a game rather than just a practice.
Focus On Defense
Another important thing to focus on as a goalie is your defense. This is going to be your biggest area of improvement, especially if you’re a beginner. Once you reach a certain level of ability, then you can start focusing on offense, but until then, you’re going to have to learn to protect the goal. In order to do that, you need to get stronger, especially in your upper body. One of the best ways to achieve that is by practicing with weighted pucks, or sandbags. When a shot is taken, the last thing you want is for the puck to come hurtling towards you, so putting a little extra weight in your arms is going to help you become stronger, faster, and more agile, just like a real goalie would. For the same reason, working on your stick skills is also extremely important. Instead of just sticking out your glove and hoping that the puck bounces into it, you’re going to have to learn how to control the puck and either pass it to a teammate or take it away from a shooter. This is where you develop your game plan and work on your technique. A good hockey goalie needs to be a combination of all of these qualities, speed, strength, and anticipation, just like a real goalie would.
Take Advantage Of Your Teammates
One of the best things about hockey is the fact that it’s a team sport. This means that even though you’re playing by yourself, you still have the ability to help your team win. In order to do that, you need to take advantage of your teammates. The best way to do that is by passing the puck to them and getting on the same page with the rest of your team. One thing that coaches often do is have the goalie take a seat and give the other players the ball, or puck, to work with. This is a good way to get the ball moving and get the practice started before the goalie joins in. Just remember, your teammates also need to be helping you, not holding you back, so make sure that you’re sharing your knowledge as well.
Learn To Be A Better Leader
If you’re a leader on your team, then you need to be a better leader off of it as well. Just because you’re a goalie doesn’t mean that you have to be limited to just defense. Even when you’re not in net, you still need to have the presence of mind to know what your team needs and how you can help them achieve their goals. If you show that you’re able to lead your team, then they’re going to follow you, not just the goalie gear that you’re wearing.
Watch Game Films
Another great way to improve as a goalie is by watching game films. Just like in any other sport, game films are great for identifying bad habits and figuring out where you’re going wrong. One of the best things about game films is that they allow you to watch the game from any angle and identify the mistakes that you, as a goalie, make. Just because you’re not making the same mistake as the person in the film does not mean that you’re not going to make the same mistake. It means that you’re learning, or that the person in the film made a mistake that you don’t need to make. Game films allow you to improve your game, and being a better goalie is all about improving your game. The only difference is that in hockey, it’s going to take longer than in other sports. That’s why you have to be dedicated and work hard in order to succeed.
Being a good goalie is all about being smart and being determined. Once you’re determined to be the best, then it’s just a matter of time before you’re officially inducted into the NHL. All you need is some good advice, from time to time, from your coach and a strong desire to succeed. With that, you’re sure to make the right choice and join the right wing, or backstop club.