Goaltender-Specific Skating Series: Drill 1 of 20
Drill #1 (Goalpost – T-push- Centre Crease)
Over the course of the hockey season 30 goaltender-specific skating drills will be described with accompanying video demonstrations. These drills are very simple and are not meant to represent anything to advanced coaches and goaltenders per say; however, parents and volunteers are constantly searching for something to do with limited time and space to help goaltenders get better. I hope they will be of benefit to those who want to provide children with good training!
Being a strong skater remains at the foundation of the current Hockey Canada goaltender development pyramid. These drills can be done at any time during a practice. They represent some of the basic skating drills I have used to help goaltenders over the last decade as a private consultant. This includes former Calgary Flames, and current Farjestad BK – Swedish Elite League goaltender, Danny Taylor with whom I worked for a few weeks during this past summer.
The entire series of drills can be performed in an uninterrupted one hour session. They provide both skating and conditioning elements to a training session or team practice.
The first drill simply involves the goaltender pushing of the goalpost towards the top of the crease. Proper goalpost integration is required and a T-push is employed. When performed correctly, the goaltender should be turning his head towards the top of the crease prior to movement. This mimics a pass-out situation.
The goaltender should lead with the hands and stick and also leans into the T-push. Do not remain stiff and vertically upright during the T-push. Keep the stick blade on the ice! At the top of the blue paint square up to a puck or small cone, and come to a complete stop.
Returning to the post requires a pivot (reverse C-cut) to open up your body for a straight point B to A return to the post.
Some instructors teach their students to lift the pivoting skate off the ice just after the pivot and then drive into the second T-push. It is the author’s opinion this is an unnecessary move that waste time. Just keep the skate on the ice, pivot and push!
The timing must be correct so the goaltender neither falls short of the goalpost nor bangs into it in a clumsy uncoordinated fashion.
The number of repetitions per set, and the number of sets depends on the ability of the student, age, and need for skating development and conditioning.
For team practices where I received essentially minimal goaltender-specific time, I nevertheless had an agreement with the coach that when the rest of the team went to the chalkboard I could have the goaltenders for myself. For very young goalies, we would quickly meet at centre ice and work on a movement pattern for two minutes. For older goaltenders who knew me, I would just stay against the boards and shout out the crease-specific movement pattern and the number of repetitions I wanted.
As I wrote a couple of years ago, this made practice tougher for the goalies but they were better from a conditioning perspective and got something for themselves from practice even though skating can be boring!