5 Ways Coaches Destroy Their Goaltenders – Part 3
This is the third of a five part series by Larry Sadler, the Director of Smartgoalie.com. Check back next Thursday for part four.
After more than 30 years as a goaltending coach I am constantly reminded of how some things just don’t seem to change. Unfortunately, one such thing seems to be very evident – coaches often hurt their goaltenders. In fact, they may slowly destroy them. Now a few coaches do this intentionally, but many do it unintentionally and they do it in many ways. I have categorized some of these mistakes into 5 key points. Check them out to see if you have inadvertently fallen into any of them.
3. Coaches Under Work Them
- Coaches will prevent the backup goaltender from getting any game work or severely reduce them from doing so. No matter how weak their back-up goaltender is a coach risks making them worse and thus potentially weakens the team by not giving the back-up goaltender sufficient game time. They need the in-game work so they can both maintain and improve their self-confidence.
- Coaches refrain from giving the back-up goaltender any significant responsibilities. Coaches who don’t give their back-up goaltender proper responsibilities in games prevent them from developing their analytical skills. Operating a door on the player’s bench will not teach a goaltender how to better play a 2-on-1. Having them take stats or game notes will.
- Coaches don’t provide the game goaltender with the opportunity to review their game performance critically. Coaches who don’t allow their goaltenders the opportunity to assess their performance after they have played prevent their goaltenders from developing their analytical skills. In addition, the coach prevents the goaltenders from correcting their errors and in improving their play.
- Coach refrains from having any goaltender stats taken. Coaches who don’t provide goaltender specific stats severely hamper their goaltenders’ ability to learn from the game effectively, particularly from their mistakes and accomplishments. By goaltender specific stats I mean – shots against, save percentage, shot charts (where each shot directed at the net originated from on the ice) or net charts (where shots hit or entered the net).
- Coaches who don’t allow their goaltender specific off-ice conditioning. Coaches who provide no goaltending specific eye-hand and agility based conditioning prevent their goaltenders from developing their hand and foot speed and thus allow their goaltenders to fail.
- Coaches who don’t develop their goaltender’s ability as a defensive zone QB. Coaches who fail to enhance their goaltenders natural ability to direct play in the defensive zone hurt their team’s ability to develop. Goaltenders have the opportunity to help a team by being more aware of what is going on in the defensive zone. Goaltenders see more of the complete defensive zone and can relay information to their team specifically about offensive openings and defensive coverage needs.
- Coaches who don’t provide specific goalie drills. By giving goaltenders little to do or too little to work on in a practice a coach allows their goaltenders to stagnate and prevents them from improving and growing as a goaltending unit. Coaches must stress drills in which the goaltender’s ability to move quickly and to stop the puck efficiently is enhanced.
- Coaches who don’t provide high intensity drills – Coaches who don’t create drills which properly progress to a higher intensity pace will prevent their goaltenders from learning to excel – to push those limitations that separate them from what they can do now from what they should be able to achieve in the future.
- Coaches who don’t provide balance and agility work. All goaltenders need to improve their balance, footwork, and agility. Coaches who fail to emphasize this in practice will force their goaltenders to fall behind the pace of the game. They will therefore not become faster, instead they will get slower.
- Coaches don’t provide progressive drill work. Coaches who don’t allow their goaltenders to increase their ability to perform a skill at game pace by increasing the difficulty of a drill allow their goaltenders to stagnate.
- Coaches who allow soft non-game-like shots. Coaches who encourage soft or weak shots in practice fail to test their goaltenders and therefore fail to allow them to develop properly.
- Coaches who allow non-game-like drills. Coaches who fail to use game-like drills in practice prevent their goaltender from developing their play-reading ability.
- Coaches who give their goaltenders too much time between shots and the next segment of the drill. Coaches who unrealistically space their shots out in drills prevent their goaltenders from increasing their recovery time in response to the pace of the game.
- Coaches who fail to focus on the sloppy rebounds which occur in practice drills. Coaches who don’t do anything to encourage their goaltenders to direct or to move rebounds away from the danger areas (i.e. in front of the net) send improper messages. They don’t allow their goaltenders the opportunity to develop good habits.
Larry Sadler is the Director of Smartgoalie.com.
For further information on goaltending instruction please contact Larry at [email protected].