The Search for Great Goalies

     Recently I was asked why in 2010 regular season statistics there was not one goalie who was at or above 60% save percentage.  My answer was in two parts;

     1) There are very few middle school, high school and college goalies who are searching to be excellent and are putting the work too.

     2) There are very few coaches who understand and teach goaltending as a progression of skills and confidence (see Coaches Corner)

I see these as related ethoughts.  Where are the high school and college goalie coaches?  And where are the head coaches and assistant defensive coaches encouraging and encouraging players to "get to camp/clinics" and to "make a big leap in performance each year".   Without recognition by the coaches of the journey that the player is on, the player can't be blamed for slow development.

     But, now that you are reading this you have been alerted.  The journey is yours. I started playing goal at 38 years of age and was taught by one of the great goalies and goaltending teachers ever, Jeff Singer.  Thank goodness he told me something crucial: "It takes 5 to 7 years to be a really good goalie".  I am proof of that.  And he kept encouraging me to do workouts and improve.  What became obvious from working with Jeff and with the other great goaltending teachers that I respect (Mike Pounds, Guy Van Arsdale, Bill Tierney, Billie Day, Brett Queener, Sue Heather and others), is that it takes a lot of controlled repetitions (shots by a competent shooter) and some coaching (feedback either directly or via video review) for a goaltender to continually improve. 

     I still get a lot out of a workout with one of the guys who I respect as goalie coaches.  Why?  Since our natural tendency is to duck or run when someone/ something throws stuff at us, this tendency is not going away.  Concentration on the ball and moving rapidly and efficiently throughout even just one half is very, very hard to maintain -- mostly because there is so much going on and every game is different.  So learning to play at a high level and then continually relearning how to concentrate and make all the saves against all the moves that players have, means working your tail off continuously.

    This is all a way of saying something that great basketball players and coaches know.  If you aren't shooting hoops on your own time, you won't be making shot during game time.  The same thing is true for goalies.  It takes a ton of reps to be good and then it takes a ton more to stay good.  And then along comes some powerful new moves from great opponents and you got to get in there and get more reps to be effective against those moves, plays and strategies.  So all players (youth, high school and college) need to spend time improving their game - preferably with a coach.  Those that do are the cream that rise to the top and become great goalies.  If you don't get enough controlled reps of all types then your lapses during games will be long and tough to live with.  So work overcomes fear and tension - get to work by asking for help from others and your game will improve.

 

                                                  The Goalieman 

 

Great Gift - "I'm a GOALIE" hats in Navy Blue with Gold Lettering or Pink with Purple lettering - get your today.

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