Ask a College Goalie – Answers from Rob Madore
Hey inGoal readers!! Sorry for the delay on this, with an upcoming season, classes, and trying to stay in shape, Rob was a busy guy this summer! Without further delay, here are the answers to the questions YOU our readers sent us in this article – Ask a College Goalie – Questions for Rob Madore
Q: You are playing for a college team. So my question is, how do you bring your education and your sport together, and what is more important for a guy like you. A good graduation or playing as good as possible, even though you wouldn’t be so good at college. I hope you know what I mean…:) – Jonas
A: That’s a tough one, at Vermont, the coaches and athletic department stress the importance of being a well-rounded student athlete. I’d have to say that it is very important to me that I make the most of this opportunity hockey-wise and hopefully will be able to continue my career after I have finished up at school. It is equally important to me that I am able to complete my degree, as those are skills that you can carry with you the rest of your life.
Q: My question is, what was your decision to play college hockey? Did you ever have the choice between College and something like the WHL, or USHL? Thanks PS, your gear is amazing – Colin Stasuik
A: Thanks Colin, I am glad you can appreciate my highlighter pads! I was fortunate enough to play in the USHL before I started playing at Vermont. While I was playing midget hockey I had the opportunity to sign with a few teams in the Ontario Hockey League but I chose to stick with the college route. As an undrafted player, the extra years I am able to play in college gives me the opportunity to develop for a little longer that I would have had playing in the CHL, with hopes of signing a contract in the future.
Q:I played college hockey in Vermont at Lyndon State. Granted we were only a “Club Team” but we had a pretty rigorous schedule none the less. Most days we had morning and night practice with either 1 home game on the weekend or a road trip within New England for 2 to 3 days that could encompass just as many games……For you on a D1, Final Four appearing team, what would your advice be to younger goalies wanting to achieve the level of success you have seen on the ice and how do you balance everything else(i/e school, social, personal) off the ice to maintain that success? – Mike C
A: I was raised to value hard work and that would be the best advice I could give. Always approach the game as if someone is watching! The other would be to stay confident in yourself.
Q:What are some drills that you incorporate in your workout routine that are more unusual/goalie specific rather than regular squats, bench press etc.? – Kevin
A: Our strength coaches have done a great job of putting together a plan that incorporates some goalie specific exercises. We work a good amount on plyometrics for explosiveness and I do a good amount of hand-eye work on my own. Many of our lifts also involve Swiss or Bosu balls to increase the instability involved with each exercise to strengthen the core.
Q: When going on road games, who’s more responsible for your equipment, you or the equipment manager? Do you have to make sure its all ready to go, or does the manager take care of it?- Colin Stasuik
A: Most of the time it is a combination of both. I am a player that likes to do things himself to make sure everything is exactly how I like it but Charlie Mackey, our equipment manager, is always around to take care of things if we ask him. In certain situations though, such as NCAA tournament games, we rarely have to touch our equipment. The gear is unloaded for us and set up in the stalls before we get there for skate in the morning, NHL Treatment!
Q: Do you have a preference over the feel of your pads? Do you like stiffer pads or pads that have more give? And why? – Ben Jones
A: Ben, I prefer my pads to have have a little flex to them. I’ve never gone with the “Turco” style breaks on my pads though because I like my pads to retain their shape.
Q: At what level/age did you start to notice a jump in your skill and development? And how significant was your coaching at this point? – Bill Rogina
A: I’d say that my best season improvement wise was probably my second year of Midget hockey, so when I was sixteen years old. I started working with a goalie coach (Shane Clifford) on a consistent basis which helped me a good amount with my consistency.
Q: As a 38yo beginner goalie, I would like to know what would be the most important things to concentrate on to improve my game and become somewhat competitive. Congrats on your season last year and good luck this year! – Jeff
A: From my perspective the most important thing to work on is your skating. If you can get yourself in position, everything will follow. Obviously it will be important to work on other things technically, but if you aren’t in position, you’ll have a hard time stopping shots no matter how perfect your butterfly is
Q: What is your pre-game ritual as far as eating, drinking, supplements, etc.? – Cdadkins91
A: Pregame meals for us are normally around 2 or 2:30 in the afternoon and I try to stick with the typical hockey meal: pasta and chicken. I try to get a nice hour long nap or so sometime after that and head to the rink a few hours ahead of game time. Pre-game I try to eat a banana to prevent cramping. I am not big into supplements or energy drinks, especially on game days as I feel they can make you jittery. I try to drink as much as I can on game days though to keep myself hydrated throughout the game.
Q: I’d be interested in hearing about what you do after a game or practice. What is the post-game routine? Do you hit the training table and the whirlpool? Do you “hit the bike”, stretch, etc? And how does this routine change when you are on the road? I’d also be interested in hearing about what you do to keep sharp over the long season. I’m sure the bumps and bruises, muscle strains, slumps, time away from family, and many other factors create both physical and mental wear and tear. I’d like to know how you manage the stresses of the hockey life and still perform at such a high level night in and night out. – Chrono
A: After games or practices, I try to get a nice long stretch and an ice bath. You are correct in saying that it is tough to keep this same routine while on the road, where we do not have access to the same equipment that we do at home. While it is a little more difficult, the trainers always make sure that we can keep up our routines, even if we have to take ice baths or hot tubs when we return to the hotel. While we do not play nearly the amount of games a pro does, or most Junior players, the key to staying sharp over a season has seemed to be mostly mental. I feel it is extremely important to pay attention to what your body is telling you, but the most important thing is to keep your mind healthy. I try to build some breaks into my schedule where I can get away from both hockey and school, keeping my mind fresh.
Q: What tips or tricks did you use as a kid, or teen to help them quickly improve the skills needed to play the position. I’m just wondering if there has ever been a little trick that a coach has shown you to improve reaction time with the blocker or glove or even little simple tricks to remember when and how to cut down angles in the goal crease. Little things that these guys were brought up doing to make them successful that never get talked about. – CommishJonesy
A: Well, I can’t say I’ve ever heard of any “magic” type tricks for these things unfortunately. There really is no substitute for hard work. Try to add some hand eye drills performed with a reaction ball into your routine and for angles, I was always coached to start in the center of the net along the goal line. Set up 6 pucks along the top of the crease and work on squaring up to each one using shuffles/t-pushes, do two sets of this then remove one puck. Continue this all the way down to two pucks, spreading them apart as you go, this is my favorite drill to work on my angle play.
Q: I recently came back to playing net after a long inactivity. There were a lot of nerves involved in the pre-game ritual of the first few games, mainly because I didn’t have one anymore. I tried different physical and diet alternatives but nothing seems to have had more impact than focusing on being mentally relaxed while prepping for a game as opposed to getting ‘pumped up’ during the routine (with energy drinks and so on). I’ve always kind of wondered if the same applies to other goalies, particularly to high-end netminders.- ShellSh0cked
A: I completely agree with you, in my years of playing, I feel like to play consistently at my highest level I need to be relaxed. I try to approach every game the exact same way, regardless of opponent or any of what I call “uncontrollables.” I feel that in games, there are many of these “uncontrollables” and if a goaltender is too “pumped up” their emotions can go up and down far too easily, affecting performance.
Q: 1. How old were you when you started playing hockey?
2. For off season training for a 14 year old goalie, how many times per week should I be working out?
3. What do you do to warm up off ice before a game? – Glovely
A: 1. I was nine years old when I started with organized hockey, though I had been skating significantly longer than that. My Dad was learning how to play around the time I was born, so I was always a convenient excuse to go free-skating. (I think he needed a shooter-tutor also, possibly the motive behind my birth!)
2. At fourteen you should be old enough to start with a little weight training, but before you do consult with a professional to make sure you have the techniques down. I’d say off-season you can be working out 3-4 days a week but in season I feel it is all personal preference and what you are comfortable with.
3. Pre-game, I try to stick to a similar meal and a nice hour long nap before arriving at the rink. When I arrive, I like to tape up a few sticks and make sure my equipment is in working order and joke around with the guys. I try not to have too many superstitions or routines, as they have a way of getting confusing and messing with your head.
Q: What’s it like balancing school, hockey and life? Do you find it tougher to get good grades, or is it just something you buckle down on and know you have to do? Do you have ANY free time?- Kris
A: Well, it was an adjustment at first but the main thing is just time-management. (Unfortunately this does cut down on Facebook time.) We get a small amount of free time, mostly on Sundays after games. It is something you just have to do though, we are very lucky to have the opportunities we have in school as well as on the ice and I feel I owe it to the school and myself to put my best foot forward in both arenas.
And the number one question we have gotten for you (at least 4 times)…..
Q: You have some colorful gear, any influences on why you chose the yellow? (Specifically Marc Andre Fleury?)
A: Well the main reason I chose yellow is that when I was an incoming freshman one of the goalies had green pads, the other white, so in order to be unique I went with yellow…though Marc-Andre Fleury’s yellow look may have played a “small” part in my decision making as a Pens fan.
Special thanks to Phil Maltese of Maltese Hockey for getting me in touch with Rob Madore, and a special thanks to Rob for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. We appreciate it, and wish you the best of luck in the upcoming season!