A Goaltenders Guide for Quarantine
In these times where everyone is spending all of their time at home for the better, all we can do as goalies is work on little things at home. This is the perfect time to work on your skills every single day and come out as a better goalie once we all are allowed to return to the ice. I wanted to leave some easy ideas, routines, drills, and links to things everyone could easily do with minimal to no resources at all!
These tips are not limited to your time in quarantine! These are all helpful tools to add to your daily/weekly routines once everything is back to normal and are all personal recommendations that I have done myself.
Hand-eye Coordination Training
Items needed: Ball of choice (Lacrosse Ball, Racquet Ball, or Tennis Ball) and a wall.
Starting off, I recommend learning how to juggle. Anyone can learn how to juggle in a week if you work on it every day for maybe an hour at a time. Once you can juggle, you can get into much more advanced hand-eye drills like juggling off of a wall, sitting down and standing up while juggling, and many more variations.
Personally, I find a Racquet Ball to be the most beneficial when working on hand-eye because of the small size that requires precise movements and the high-velocity potential of bounces off of the wall. You can easily improve your hand-eye just by spitballing drills and getting creative with as little as a ball.
The most simple drill would be standing in a ready position with your knees slightly bent and simply through the ball with your blocker hand, track completely from your hand, off the wall, and into your glove hand.
Yoga / Stretching
Items needed: Nothing at all!
This can be as simple as doing a quick dynamic warm-up to get the blood pumping and then going into a pregame type stretch routine. Doing these types of warm-ups will keep you flexible and ready to help prevent injury once you’re back playing games and or practicing. Easy stretches such as Yoga poses are great to keep your muscles moving and in healthy condition.
Listed below is a link to some easy poses you could do first thing when you wake up every single day or whenever you find the time!
Items needed: Lacrosse Ball and your phone!
This routine is brought to you by Maria Mountain and if you have ever looked up fitness tips for goaltending, you probably will be familiar with her work! This has always been my top recommendation for anyone looking to get a wider butterfly flare and looser hips. After just 2 weeks you will see really great results if you stick with this program!
In my time doing this program, I found that before, during, and after my time on the ice, I almost never felt tense in my hips. Usually, I would have tightness going into an RVH or after constant down low plays that were stressful on my hips. After doing this program, getting a wider butterfly spread was natural and took was less out of me at the end of the day.
You can simply get this program by looking up “Butterfly Challenge” on the App Store or by clicking this link! Either way, you will have an email sent to you with the full program that you can do in your free time!
It is completely FREE and comes with instructional videos attached, helping explain what you need to do each day to complete this program! (This is not an ad and I am personally recommending this program)
Study Highlights and Practice Videos
Items needed: YouTube
Many people such as myself are visual learners. I find that when I study other goalies with a style similar to mine or that I would like to model myself after, I can improve highly just by watching them. Finding in-game videos, or even better, practice clips of your favorite goalie is a great start but also watching other goalies that are a completely different style from you is a great way to pick up techniques and ideas you might not have had before.
Watching Top 10 highlight reel save videos isn’t exactly the best way to pick up technique although they get you very hyped up before a game. What I recommend is to study clips such as the ones listed below. You would be surprised how many there actually are on YouTube if you have never looked!
Sports444 has a ton of Carey Price practice videos that you could spend all day watching!
KHL goalies in action, are another great one to follow. Watching in-game movements that you would otherwise miss unless you were really watching is a great way of picking up good habits.
There are plenty of Development Camp videos of upcoming goaltenders working with NHL goalie coaches.
3E goaltending is another great follow for his archive. Our podcast guest Nicole Hensley makes quite a few appearances on the channel and is a joy to watch from a technical standpoint. Luke at 3E has many videos breaking down tiny skate moves and techniques that can change your game completely.
My recommendation when watching any of these videos is to really pay attention to specific areas of each goaltender. Really watch how each part of their body is moving. Pay close attention to the way their head snaps to the puck, the way their hips rotate and center their body, the small skate movements the goaltender pulls to position themselves correctly. Slow down every clip an analyze what makes them move as well as they do.
Items needed: Absolutely nothing… or a deck of cards!
Finally, just working on your overall fitness by doing simple bodyweight exercises is a great way to improve. A lot of “fitness experts” around Instagram and YouTube have been posting “simple” exercises but tend to be somewhat complicated are not as easy as advertised. For sure, there are good programs out there from highly trusted experts in fitness but, if you’re not looking for a full routine and just want to do some basic exercises, see below.
Simply doing things like Push Ups, Sit Ups, Jumping Jacks, Burpees, and Crunches are super easy ways to improve your overall fitness if you spend even as little as 30 minutes a day doing them. Setting goals such as doing 50 push-ups in sets of 10s or similar goals is a good way to track progress.
A fun exercise involving only a deck of cards, Push-Ups, and Sit-Ups can serve as a great workout! How this works is, you shuffle a deck of cards and draw them 1 at a time. Black cards indicate Push-Ups, while the Red Cards indicate Sit-Ups. Kings, Queens, and Jacks are each 11 reps of the exercise while the numbered cards indicate how many reps of the exercise you will do. Slowly work through the deck with minimal rest between cards is recommended or, try and get through as many cards as you can! Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself!
If you’re feeling really good and the entire deck was too easy, shuffle and try going through the deck a second time! You can mix this workout up in many ways by doing different workouts for each suite so you’ll have 4 total.
Example: 7 of Hearts/Diamonds would indicate 7 Sit-Ups. King of Spades/Clubs would indicate 11 Push-Ups.
There are many many things that you could do during these times in the safety of your own room and with little to no resources. Nothing I have listed above requires a second person to be done so you can stay the safest and healthiest you possibly can. Just have fun with the activities and get in a bit of a sweat every day for even just 30 minutes to maintain your health and get your heart healthy.
This article was originally published on April 27, 2020, and has been updated with new information.