Just like every other position on the ice, the position of hockey goalie is not an easy one to perfect. Having said that, there are still specific movements and skills that can be practiced to improve your games.
In this article, we will talk about some of the things that you need to work on to successfully train as a goalie.
Maintain A Flat Stance
When playing hockey, you must maintain a flat stance to stop the puck. There is no real rule that says you have to be in a crouched position, but maintaining a stable position is key to keeping the puck out of the net.
As a goalie, your job is to stop all shots on goal, so you must learn to stay balanced and stable no matter what the situation is. Whether you’re standing still or moving around, you must keep your head up and your weight evenly distributed on both feet to stop the puck. This is an easy enough task when learning how to play goalie, but if you want to become a good goalie, you’ll need to work at it.
Use Your Puck Handling Skills
Above all else, being a good goalie is all about being able to handle the puck. Like with any other position on the ice, having good puck handling skills will make it much easier for you to protect the goal and keep the puck out of the net.
When you have the puck on your stick, use both of your hands to keep the puck away from the net. While one hand is generally used for controlling the puck, the other is used for blocking shots. Depending on which hand you use to control the puck, you’ll need to change the way you handle it. For example, if you use your strong hand to control the puck, you’ll have to use your weak hand to block shots. This may take some getting used to, but eventually, it will become second nature.
Practice Staying In The Right Position
To play goal, you must be in a good position to stop the puck. Unfortunately, there are many bad habits that have developed over the years from using outdated techniques that make playing goalie more difficult. One of the most basic things that a goalie must learn is how to stay in the right position. Just because there are no players in front of you doesn’t mean that you should stand still and wait for the puck to come to you. Instead, use your entire body to stop the puck with minimum effort.
To achieve this, you must learn to maintain good posture while anticipating the puck’s path. Since you know where the puck is going to be, it’s up to you to decide where you’ll be to stop it. Like with any other position, you must learn to stay in shape and be prepared at all times so that you can keep playing at a high level. In addition to practicing good posture, you should also be working on your mental game so that you can make the right decision quickly and accurately.
Know When To React And When To Stay Calm
While it’s important to practice good posture and balance, it’s also equally as important to learn when to relax and when to get tense. Being able to read the situation and know when to react will make a big difference in how well you can play. For instance, if you’re blocking a high shot and you’re not used to that kind of play, it might be wise to take a quick step to the side in order to avoid getting hit.
However, if the puck is moving slowly toward the net and there are no players in front of you, it’s probably time to jump up and block the shot. One of the major keys to playing the position successfully is being able to recognize when you need to be afraid and when you need to be confident.
Play Quick, Unpremeditated Moves
As a goalie, you need to be able to play quickly and instinctively. Situations change quickly on the ice, and you must be able to read the game and make the right decision quickly. Being in a good position to make a save doesn’t always mean that you’ll be able to stop a puck that’s moving at top speed. In order to stop fast-paced pucks, you must be able to make quick, unimplementated movements. This is easier said than done, but with enough practice, it’s something that can be learned.
Since you read the game so well, you’ll be able to make the right decision quickly and accurately about where to position yourself in relation to the puck. Learning to take quick, deliberate steps will improve your positioning and allow you to make the right move at any time during a game.
Improve Your Leg Strength
It isn’t only about having the right posture and being able to make the right play at the right time. In addition to being in a good position to make the save, you must be able to stop the puck effectively. To do this, you need to have strong legs and work on building up your strength. Just like with any other position on the ice, being strong on the puck is directly proportional to being able to stop the puck effectively.
The best way to improve your leg strength is by doing leg exercises and using a workout program such as the puffer Vests for hockey. The key to this particular product is that it helps you gain muscle control by forcing you to concentrate on your strength while feeling a light weight on your chest. Not only will regular workouts using this product help you gain control of your legs when playing goalie, but it will also help improve your posture and balance.
Play In Front Of A Big, Screened TV
Many players today rely on screens for all of their hockey information. Whether it’s NHL Game day or an away game, the ability to follow the action from anywhere is invaluable. This is particularly helpful for goalies, as they often have to stop pucks that are coming from far away angles or areas behind them. Having a big, screened TV behind you allows for much better viewing of the game and makes the experience more immersive.
Being able to follow the game from any angle is important, so instead of relying on one small screen, get two or three so that you can move them around however you need to in order to get the best view.
Use The Best Possible Equipment
Just because you’re playing a video game doesn’t mean that you can use any joystick or control pad to play. Instead, you need to focus on using the best possible equipment available for the game you’re playing. If you’re playing on a console, make sure that it’s been specifically designed for playing hockey games and has an accurate hockey stick button.
Similarly, wearing glasses while playing goalie can be quite distracting, so make sure to play on an empty stomach or take them off before the game.
Using the best possible equipment will help make a noticeable difference in how well you play, so instead of using your smartphone to play the game, consider getting a wireless puck-tracking device or belt.
Avoid Bad Habits
Just because you’re a hockey player doesn’t mean that you have to drink alcohol or use tobacco products. These are both highly distracting substances that can affect your game negatively. If you want to play at a high level, it’s important to keep your mind focused on the game and not get distracted by outside factors.
Alcohol has many adverse effects on the human body, not the least of which is the fact that it impairs the way your body functions. As a result of this, it can be difficult to keep your head in the game and perform at the level that is necessary to win. In addition to this, alcohol has been known to affect the way your body reacts to pain, so even when you’re not feeling pain, you may still perform poorly due to the distraction of your substance abuse.
Tobacco products use the same receptors in the brain that drugs and alcohol do, so it is no surprise that they can be just as distracting. The major difference is that while alcohol and drugs usually have a noticeable effect on the user, tobacco has a much more subtle effect. Still, it’s this subtle effect that makes it so dangerous. Even when you aren’t feeling distracted by outside factors, it can still catch up to you in the form of serious health issues. Don’t risk it.
Consult With Professionals
Once you’ve started practicing and developed a decent level of skill, it’s time to see how you can best utilize all of this. Whether you’re playing in a recreational league or for the national team, getting feedback from professionals will help you make the right decision and continue improving your games.