Book Review: The Hockey Goalie’s Complete Guide by Francois Allaire
The Hockey Goalie’s Complete Guide
An Indespensible Development Plan by Francois Allaire
Firefly Books, 2009
soft cover, 175 pages – available on Amazon.com (not an affiliate link)
Firefly Books recently sent me a copy of Francois Allaire’s latest book, The Hockey Goalie’s Complete Guide: An Indispensable Development Plan to review for inGoal Magazine readers. They have also offered to give copies to two lucky readers – more on that below.
My first reaction on getting the book was one of excitement. Here is an up to date guide by the most famous goalie coach in the world. The man who popularized the butterfly with protege Patrick Roy put together a “complete guide” and it arrived in a very professionally designed package. The book is well laid out, with great visuals, on high quality stock with a title that seems to suggest it has everything you would ever want to see in a book on goaltending.
Unfortunately, the book did not at all live up to first impressions. Yet, I would still recommend it for your goaltending library. How’s that? Simply put, I think that Allaire has delivered a useful manual and the publisher has brought it out at a very affordable price (less than $14.00 on Amazon) but it is packaged it for the wrong audience.
The title of the book suggests all things for everyone – a “complete guide” – and then implies it will take a goalie through their whole career – “Indespensible Development Plan.” Very early in the first chapter the author then lays out the three distinct phases in a goalie’s development – Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Throw in a few periodization charts and the book was looking like something an advanced coach, or someone who has studied sport science, could really sink their teeth into.
When you are set up like that, the rest of the book can only seem incomplete at best, and a real disappointment at worst. The problem is that this book is quite clearly a beginners guide to goaltending, or a guide for coaches of beginners. Allaire goes no further than teaching a beginners skill set. This book is not a complete guide.
So, what makes it good? Well, as a beginners guide, if the title were more appropriate and the first chapter clearly laid it out expectations then I believe anyone who bought the book would walk away impressed. That it can be purchased for under $15, there isn’t much to lose by picking it up and having a look.
Basic positions are clearly described, basic skills are given with a significant number of drills to help a goalie, or their coach, to work on those skills. There is also an extensive section on dry-land training.
One piece that I believe sets this book a part is the work on on-ice and off-ice evaluations. These fit perfectly with the concept of development plans. Simply introducing them and putting them in context is fantastic. Allaire could have gone much further though. The testing sections could provide some standards – what would a begginer, intermediate, advanced or pro achieve? He could also relate training suggestions to these evaluations – if you score X then you should be doing these drills or this many repetitions.
I was also very impressed by the chapters on coaching a young goalie – guidance that coaches (and parents) don’t get enough of. How to progress teaching a skill, how to communicate, how often to correct and more.
The good material in this book leaves you wanting more and the resource Allaire has compiled is a useful tool in anyone’s kit. It’s just too bad it is laid out to be something so different. You really can’t judge this book by its cover.
How to get your free copy
Firefly has offered to give one copy to each of two inGoal readers. To be eligible all you have to do is follow me on Twitter (@dhutchis – so I’ll be able to DM you if you win) and then send a Tweet about this review or any other inGoal story. Be sure to include @dhutchis with your tweet so I’ll see it. I’ll randomly select two winners and DM them – you have until 11:59 PM PST on Wednesday March 3. Only one tweet per reader is eligible.