Being a good hockey goalie is not as easy as it sounds. Sure, you can always rely on genetics to help you out, but above all else, you need practice to reach your full potential.
Thankfully, there are simple ways that you can improve your game without having to change too much. With a few tweaks here and there, you will soon see the benefits.
Work On Your Rebound Control
In most cases, the goalie‘s job is to stop the puck. However, as we know, sometimes the puck will sneak past the defense and into the net. In these situations, it is the goalie’s job to move and redirect the puck. This is where many goalies struggle; they are either too relaxed or tight and don’t know how to quickly react when the puck is behind them.
To improve your rebound control, you need to start by performing regular drills. The best tool to do this is an adjustable rebound pad. These tools allow you to gradually increase the tension until you reach the right level of resistance. As you get used to playing with more power, you will find that your reflexes are improving and your saves are getting more accurate.
Play In The Snow
Besides practicing with an adjustable rebound pad, you can also work on your game in the snow. Snow is a great training ground for hockey since it makes it easier to practice your techniques. The best thing about playing in the snow is that you can do it almost anywhere, so you don’t have to worry about missing a drill session because there isn’t a rink nearby.
While it can be fun to play in the snow, it is vital that you stay focused on your training. You need to remember that you are playing a game and not just having fun. Make sure that you are staying balanced and coordinating your movements as you slide around on the ice. The snow can also interfere with your equipment, so make sure that your gear is working properly before you enter the snow.
Watch Film And Receive Feedback
To maximize your potential, it is important to objectively evaluate your game. While film is great because it allows you to see yourself from a different perspective, it can also give you an idea of how you stand compared to other goaltenders. In any case, receiving feedback is also key in improving your game. This way, you can see what aspects of your style need to be changed and what you can do to become the best goalie that you can be.
This is why it is important that you regularly attend goaltending clinics or seminars where you can get feedback from expert coaches and trainers. These individuals can give you a new perspective on your game and help you identify your weaknesses and strengths. When you combine this with proper training, you will soon start to see the benefits.
Try Different Strokes
The key to being a good goalie is versatility. Just because you are a goalie does not mean that you have to look exactly like one. Every goalie is different, and that is a good thing! You should experiment with different styles and see what works best for you. Some goalies prefer to move a lot while playing, while others like to stand still and let the puck come to them.
The best way to become a better goalie is by trying new things and finding the style that works best for you. In case you are wondering, the position of a goalie is known as the “stance”, since they usually stand in front of the net with their feet apart. When a goalie is in their stance, it is usually safe to say that they are behind the net.
Familiarize Yourself With Advanced Stats
To improve your game, it is important to understand what makes a good goalie. One of the best ways of objectively measuring a goalie’s skill is by using advanced statistics. The same way that you would use batting average to determine a hitter’s batting ability, you can use these stats to determine the shooting ability of a goaltender. In fact, using stats to evaluate goalies is a common practice among NHL teams, and it is widely accepted that it is a key element to becoming a successful goalie.
The basic stats that you need to know are goals against average and save percentage. These stats show how many goals you have allowed and how many of them you have saved, respectively. While they can be somewhat predictable – after all, you know what you are getting into when you play hockey – the performance of individual goalies can vary significantly from one game to the next. This is one of the reasons why it can be so hard to project what kind of season a goalie is going to have.
In addition to goals against average and save percentage, other stats that you should become familiar with are: