Practice as you will play

Over the years I’ve seen & worked with many good goaltenders who have a problem that doesn’t seem to be going away with the latest generation. Too many goalies practice using a different style to their actual game style. Standing up for warm-up or tight angle shots when their style in games would be to play reactive fly.

In hockey & other sports we have the mantra of ‘you play like you practice’ which is largely aimed at getting teams to skate faster, pass harder, work to their maximum like they would in games etc… The goaltender however must also have this mantra with a slightly more technical twist to it. YOU MUST PRACTICE IN THE SAME STYLE YOU PLAY IN!

Can you imagine a golfer going to the range & striking 1000 balls a day with a slightly different swing for each one, golf balls would be going in all directions without a doubt. Saving pucks is no different, quality repetition is key.

Now imagine the fly technique goalie who reaches for low glove saves while extending the lead leg in games (one of the most technically important save technique areas for the modern goaltender) practicing by standing up on practice for low glove shots & hopefully you’re getting the picture that at the critical moment in games, when timing the leg, body & arm extension is key to making the save it would certainly have helped to have practiced it more often instead of standing there in practice!

Goalies, in this difficult & technical sport we play, be sure to practice how you want to play the game, then when the situation arises & the big save is needed your response will be as automatic as it can be. Your hard work on correct technique in practice will pay off.

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