Warren Strelow Mentor Camp Part 3: Good Habits
Part 2: GOOD HABITS LEAD TO GOOD FORTUNE
This is the final instalment of a three-part series from Justin Goldman, who is a regional scout and mentor with the US National Team Development Program, and took part in this year’s Warren Strelow Camp. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
In a camp like the Warren Strelow National Goaltending Mentor Program, there are a number of good habits goalies must display when competing and participating in such a high-profile atmosphere.
That aspect of the camp was reinforced through this year’s theme, “Preparation is Everything.”
Each coach on staff had different tasks and roles. My main task was to capture and edit video of every single goalie in the camp. This allowed me to pick up on numerous habits and mannerisms that each goalie displayed throughout the camp, many of which I had not seen before. But more important than learning their on-ice habits, I picked up on some of their off-ice habits as well.
In order to emphasize some of the positive tendencies that all 36 goalies displayed during the camp, I’ve briefly described them below. No matter how old or how talented you are, you must continue to work on these habits so that you can make the most of any opportunities you may receive to be seen in front of high-level scouts and goalie coaches. As a goalie scout and mentor for the NTDP, I place a strong emphasis on all of these traits below, because they can speak volumes about your personality and work ethic.
First and foremost comes discipline.
Every goalie in this year’s camp showed excellent discipline, both on and off the ice.
They were all physically prepared by doing plenty of static and dynamic warm-ups before putting on their gear, and they were extremely disciplined on the ice, moving to and from each station. They were all attentive; they understood which drill they were doing.
Second of all: positive body language.
As any coach or scout will tell you, having good body language proves that you have a good attitude. If you react negatively, are unable to take constructive criticism or wander around aimlessly, your body language will reflect someone who doesn’t want to be there.
Thirdly, pay attention to details.
Paying attention to details, no matter how small, are all part of the Strelow program’s culture.
Each coach believes that the small details add up and contribute to the culture and ultimate level of success relative to the goalie’s talent level. The more you pay attention to detail, the more you are going to be successful. All goalies are expected to approach every session with a sense of professionalism, where each little detail contributes to the bigger picture.
If there’s one final thing I noticed that made me realize just how much every goalie valued their opportunity, it was the amount of questions they asked. Almost every goalie had some sort of question for me regarding The Power Within, the videos I logged, or about certain NHL goaltenders I had been tracking over the past few years. In that regard, as a mentor, it was a little slice of goalie heaven.
The more questions you ask, whether you mean to or not, the more you’re going to learn. In an environment similar to Strelow Camp, where every coach was willing to talk and easily accessible, you can learn more than you ever thought possible.
STRELOW DRILL EXAMPLE: OSU JAM W/ CORNER OPTION
The OSU Jam w/ Corner Option was one of the key drill progressions during the fourth on-ice session that focused exclusively on the principles of post integrations:
(Editor’s note: the Coach’s Eye software used to display these videos does not appear to work in FireFox, so please try viewing it in another browser and we will attempt another method in future stories).
This drill is designed to help the goaltender become more comfortable integrating into their posts on both sides of the net, while also giving them an opportunity to move dynamically out of their post seals to gain space and make reaction-based saves in the slot area.
By allowing the shooters to play out any rebounds, the goalie is forced to not only seal the ice as they integrate into their posts, but also incorporate active feet in order to gain depth. They also must display active hands to gain proximity on any aerial shots in tight with the blocker or glove, and also try to get their stick on as many low shots as possible.
In terms of post integrations, the OSU Jam w/ Corner Option was excellent for reinforcing some key teaching points.
For example, while integrated into the nearside post, a goalie must learn to read the situation and recognize when the shooter decides to bail on a “jam” and carry the puck across the goalie’s midline. When this happens, the goalie must know exactly when to drop the anchor knee down to the ice in order to seal the far-side pad to the ice, or extend it to the far-side post.
As explained earlier, goalies had a chance to “feel out” which integration method (skate-on-post or scoop-in) they felt more comfortable using.
REINFORCING THE STRELOW MISSION
Since I was fortunate enough to be a part of this year’s coaching staff, my opinion regarding the quality of the Warren Strelow camp is clearly biased. But beyond the camp’s tremendous success over the past seven years, I walked away realizing just how essential the whole program is to the identity and development of American goaltenders.
By hosting the country’s top young talent on an annual basis, the program’s camp acts as the virtual epicenter of the American goalie identity. Everyone interacting in a positive learning environment – one where goalies and coaches spend four days working directly with one another – creates valuable friendships that will last a lifetime. It’s simply the one place all American-born goalies should want to be.
The Strelow Camp is a crucial stepping-stone in the development of world-class goalies, many of whom will one day wear the red, white, and blue in Olympic and international competition. Under the reverence of the great Warren Strelow, the coaching staff will always reinforce his legend as a great mentor by enhancing the technical, mental, and emotional growth of every goalie in the program.
While I take great pride in being a small part of this year’s Warren Strelow National Goaltending Mentor Program and camp, I also appreciate that other countries have the same goal. Numerous other countries have seen the success that the USA has had with this program and are implementing new ideas into their own programs.
It is through these types of programs that goaltending as a whole continues to evolve at unforeseen rates. That makes all of us, regardless of where we were born, that much better at stopping the puck.