Euro Off-Ice Training: Skip for Speed, Agility, Power
Guest article by Dusan Sidor, Goalie Coach SCL Tigers, former coach HC Lugano. Please visit the new Dusan Sidor Goaltending Web Site. If you are interested in guest writing for InGoal, contact info[at]ingoalmag.com
Off-ice preparation for goaltenders is just as important as on ice training. A goalie has to be a good all-around athlete in order to be successful on the ice. This does not mean however, that he has to spend hours at the gym lifting weights and running for hours. In my opinion goaltenders should focus their energy on goalie-specific workouts; everything you do off the ice can be somehow adapted to what a goalie needs to be successful. Someone likes running, for example, if you are a goalie and you’re going for a run, you should run 10-feet forwards, 10 backwards, sideways step, sideways crossed over and repeat this routine during the run. This not only conditions you but also involves some muscle movements that you use in the net. Try always to think what you use in the net when you work out. If you work in a small area: when doing sprints, do short bursts in all directions, to simulate your movement around the crease. Instead of going to the gym lifting heavy weights (which makes no sense for goaltenders in my opinion) you should do bodyweight exercises. How do you get leg-strength without squatting heavy weights? Try slide board, jump rope, squat jumps, balance drills, ladder drills etc. Always keep in mind that you are a goaltender; your job is to be agile and quick, which in turn makes you strong on your legs without the heavy lifting.
Summer Jump Rope Circuit
We start our summer workout with a jump rope workout circuit. This is used to get our legs moving and get our mind thinking. At the start these drills are hard and you might mess up frequently, but keep your head up and keep working on it. Do not get frustrated.
To warm-up we run up and down about 50 feet while skipping. First three times forwards and backwards, then sideways, sideways with crossing your legs over. After this warm-up is complete we do a quick dynamic stretch before going into our main workout:
- Skipping in goalie position We try to stand in a wide stance, with our knees and body bent and hands pushing forward just like in a goalie position. We skip 50 times slow, take some rest and then go at it 50 more times with more speed and in the end 50 times as fast as you can. It doesn’t matter if you mess up in the last sequence, because that means you are pushing yourself to the extreme, where it is normal to do so.
- Left to right skipping We jump from one leg to another focusing on going wide and quick. We just let our one foot touch down and we push the other way right away. We repeat this three times just like the first exercise.
- Forwards/Backwards skipping This simulates a push out towards the shooter and a backside push back into our zone. We jump out with one leg from our zone, land on the other one, which pushes our back into our starting zone; there we switch legs and push out with the other one. This is all done while continuously skipping and three times in the different sequences.
- Inverted V skip This simulates pushing out from the post to the top of the crease and going back to the other post. You start out on your imaginary post, push out, switch legs in the middle, push back to the other imaginary post and push right back to the middle, switch legs again etc. Do this 50 times again in three speeds.
- The triangle skip This sequence simulates movement around your crease; you start out in top of your crease pushing back to the post, over to the other post and back to the middle again where you have to do some mid skips in order to switch legs so you can repeat the whole sequence the other way. Again, go three times 50 with different speeds.
All of these sequences require a high level of leg coordination; it might be very hard at first, but it gets easier with practice. You might want to start out without a skipping rope, so you can get the movement down, before you start with the jump rope.
This sequence of drills works on your leg coordination, stresses the leg muscles you use to move around the crease and emphasizes dynamic movement. Make sure that when you get to an advanced level and you can skip without any interruptions to use your head. When going back take a quick peek back, when you push left, look left. Always remember that you are a goalie and that you are working on for what’s coming on the ice.