Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Drill the Basics in the Summer

The summer is a great time to drill the basics. The summer is a time when you are not caught in the hectic schedule of a regular season and when the majority of your practice time is not dedicated to the team.

Take the opportunity to really get back to the basics. The beginning of your summer should be dedicated to refining your fundamentals so you have a good base to build on later. Take your time and go a little slower to make sure your footwork is not sloppy, your recoveries are correct, puck tracking and rebound control need to be worked on everyday. This is the way most pro goalies attack their summer schedules.

When I sent a framework for the summer it is basically as follows:
Phase 1
T-pushes, Shuffles, Stops, C-Cuts, Edge Work, Butterfly Slides, Back Side Recoveries, and Balance.

I will drill Phase 1 as long as it takes until I feel totally comfortable with all of my movements. I want everything to be powerful yet economical, no excess movements and no loss of balance. I do not even begin with pucks until I can make sure I will not be incorporating any bad habits into the rest of my training.

Phase 2
Tracking & Rebound Control
Eye Tracking, 1st Foot off the stick, 1st Foot into the body, 1st Foot off the body, Rebound Tracking (follow with eyes and proper recovery), Stick Involvement, and Visual Attachment

I will do drills slowly with lots of room to track the puck I will make sure I get a read the 1st foot off the stick staying patient to not move until I get a read on the puck. At this point I would rather be beat by a shot then have a hitch in my save reaction. I want to make sure my eyes are tracking the puck and allowing my body to make the proper, and efficient save selection.

Next I will begin to add small movements into shooting drills be sure to visually attach before I start my movement. I will then get a good a read on the shot; track it into and off my body and then make the correct recovery (freeze rebound, place it, track it, recovery properly). I will make sure I follow one puck until it stops moving. If I make a mistake I will stop where I am and correct it. If I get up on the wrong leg I will put the leg back down and recovery to the good one. If a puck is within 5 feet of me I will recover down. If it is further I will recover up to my basic stance.

Phase 3
Now I begin to add battling drills. By doing this I can make sure that I am already in the habit of tracking pucks and recovering properly. After I have confidence in my base it makes it easier to choose better save selections in my recoveries while still battling and never giving up a on puck.

Phase 4
Phase 4 is added on top of the other phases. Phase 4 is generally initiated at the end of practices after all phases have been integrated. Phase 4 consists of goalie specific conditioning drills designed keep eyes, hands, feet, movement intact during exhausting cardio.

This is the same type of frame I employ with all of my goaltenders. Of course the program should be tailored to each individual goalie and what they need. Some phases may take longer for some goalies then others. This is the way I train myself as well as training my pro goalies and my other elite goalies that I spend a lot of time with.

Remember the Summer is a time when Elite goalies do not need to worry about what the team needs to work on and can be selective of the shots they are taking.

(In no way I am suggesting a goalie skips on a summer practice, I am suggesting that when practice schedules are not as hectic goalies should be finding ice time to work on their specific needs instead of team needs. Find time on your own or with a goalie coach. During practices let your coach know you will be spending extra time tracking pucks)

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