Look Before You Push: Too Many Goalies Don’t
It is that time of year again, when tens of thousands of goaltenders of every age and skill level are attending summer camps in an effort to finalize their preparations for the upcoming season. But for all the advancing techniques and tactics that will come from theses position-specific sessions, there is one fundamental that can sometimes get lost: Looking where you are going.
Often it’s simply the result of repetition. Do the same drill over and one again without enough changing, dynamic elements to it, and eventually a goalie will be saying something like “I could do this with my eyes closed.”
That’s not a good thing for a position where tracking is so important.
For goalies that means more than just tracking the puck. It also means tracking the play, and that sometimes means looking off the puck.
Preferably goaltenders have a plan in place for this. For those without one, goalie coach and frequent InGoal contributor Elias Rassi offers up some help from the InGoal Magazine archives. Rassi, who has moved on to instruct and consult with Complete Goaltending Development (CGD) since writing this article for the October 2012 edition of the magazine, addressed the importance of turning your head and looking before you push, and offered up a plan for looking off the puck, along with some simple tips:
“Looking before you move will not only help you make saves, but get your feet set before the puck is shot so that you give yourself the best chance to control rebounds. Here are some helpful tips to get you looking before you move and improving your overall game:
• Keep your positioning within the frame of the net. Don’t lift up and out of your stance while looking off the puck.
• When the play is in a non-threatening area, look for short side and far side threats (count three to five seconds between glances)
• Off rush plays, look for passing options and what hand shooters are.
Rassi expanded on each point in the article, and outlines a series of three drills to help practice this important habit. You can read the entire article in the InGoal Magazine archives here or by clicking on screen shots from the edition above or below:
Eli Rassi was the goaltending coach with the Carleton Place Jr. “A” Canadians in the Central Canada Hockey League last season. He is also an instructor and consultant with Complete Goaltending Development (CGD). CGD offers on-ice group, semi-private and private training programs, and consulting services for minor hockey associations, for goaltenders at all levels in Ottawa at its training facility in the city’s West end, the Complete Hockey Development Centre. For more information, please visit www.chdcentre.com or www.cgdgoalies.com