Here at Hockey Player, we often get letters from goalies—young and old—asking how they can improve the flexibility I stress is critical for a netminder. This month, I will address those questions by offering some examples of exercises that can help increase and maintain flexibility.
First, let’s define our subject. “Flexibility” refers to the range of motion of a joint or series of joints. Improved flexibility not only can increase speed and reduce the chances and incidents of injury, but the better a goaltender can contort, the better he can “close holes,” get his “pads down,” or “scramble” when necessary, to make that big unbelievable save.
In other words, flexibility is not only good for your body, it’s good for your game. While there are a multitude of reasons why a goaltender has success, very few can excel without quality lower-body flexibility.
With work, anyone’s flexibility can be improved. Below are some examples of flexibility exercises that can be done alone, with a partner, or with a “flexibility band.”
|Flexibility of the hips, groin and back are developed in individual exercises. Flexibility of the hips, groin and back are developed in individual exercises. Flexibility of the hips, groin and back are developed in individual exercises.|
|Here, pressure is applied to help stretch the hamstrings, quads, and lower back.|
|These photos show how a "band" is used to improve flexibility.|
|Elevate the legs to improve hamstring and groin flexibility.|
|In this exercies, the hip is "pulled and rotated" to improve hip flexibility.|
|This two-person exercise allows the goali to stretch "beyond his means." Here, the helper applies slight pressure to assist with the flexibility of the goalie's hips and groin.|