It’s a simple piece of advice, one that we learn as toddlers, when our parents drill it into us to “look both ways before we cross the street.”
So why do so many young goalies move around their crease without first looking where they are going?
There are a lot of possible reasons, including too many predictable drills that end with shots from the exact same spot, making it easy for the goaltender to get lazy with their visual habits because they know exactly where they need to be on every repetition without having to look first. Whatever the reason, it’s a habit goaltenders need to break.
Eli Rassi of PRO Goaltending schools is here to help with a series of drills and instruction in the latest edition of InGoal Magazine designed to improve visual habits, including when and how to look off the puck for other threats.
“The most valuable asset we have when moving is our vision. The more we see and understand what is happening around us, the more we can anticipate and prepare for what may come,” wrote Rassi, who is also a goaltending coach for the Junior A Carleton Place Canadians.
“The same concept applies for goaltending and while it appears obvious, goalies at all levels struggle with consistently looking away from the puck when the play is in a non-threatening area. As a result, they are often caught behind the play and unable to move into position, get set and prepare for the shot or pass.”
Rassi outlines several tips on body position, zones on the ice to focus on, and what to look for in the article. He also outlines a series of drills – many with moving parts and changing variable – that will help young goalies build strong visual habits and ensure they learn how to manage and track their surroundings, and perhaps most importantly, “look before they push.”
You can read the entire article, and three handy drills, in InGoal Magazine. And be sure to check out the website for PRO Goaltending, whose clients include top prospects like Malcolm Subban (Boston Bruins), Mark Visetin (Phoenix Coyotes) and Scott Wedgewood (New Jersey Devils).