One Day at a Time: Even the world's best goaltenders have
their learning days. Here are five Coaching Objectives, which were developed
to help the coaching process.
Objective No. 1
Help the goaltenders eliminate goals that go through or off of them. Improve
The more I watch the more I am convinced that if goalies can curb the number
of goals that go in off or through them, they will cut down on goals against
dramatically. The first thing is that a goalie has to understand where his or
her holes are! Get a video camera and go onto the ice. Tape the goalie from
various angles standing, doing butterflies, knee drops, half butterflies, etc.,
to see where the holes are. Make sure the video is taken from ice level and
square to the goalie.
Areas to look for are:
1) Is there a big "6 hole," the hole under the stick arm between the
glove and body?
2) Do the goal pads and pants work together to close these holes when the goalie
3) In the stance, are the goalie's "knees locked" thus making it tougher
to "close the 5-hole"?
4) Does the goalie get the pads down tight to the ice on all half and full butterflies?
Is there space for a puck? Is the stick in position?
While we strive to eliminate goals which go in through the goalie, don't think
that all 5-holes are bad. They are not. It is a very tough area to close, especially
from the slot area.
Objective No. 2
Help the goaltenders lessen the number of dangerous rebounds by "seeing
the ice" and improving on placing or controlling the puck.
Rebound control, whether it is deflecting the puck away from danger, or finding
a way to smother the biscuit, is another way of shrinking that goals against
First, we work on skills of stick control. Drills such as "stick cushioning"
where the puck actually stays on the stick, or deflecting pucks through cones
which are set up can help.
Next, we work on catching pucks which ordinarily might bounce off our pads,
and practice trapping pucks on the body, all to eliminate rebounds.
Put it all together with a "rebound drill." One player or coach shoots
the puck to create a rebound. One or two players try to score on the rebound.
The goalie has to trap the puck, or deflect it away from the rebounder by "reading"
his location when the shot is taken.
Objective No. 3
Help each goaltender be productive when moving the puck. Eliminate unnecessary
Goalies handle the puck today more than ever. They must do drills to help them
"read" the forechecking. The defense and forwards have to be schooled
on providing the goaltenders with passing lanes, options and outlets.
Simply, the goaltender has 5 options when handling the puck:
1) Leave it for a teammate with a good exchange.
2) Cover it if there is traffic and you are in the crease.
3) Make a good pass.
4) Clear the zone by "getting glass." Avoid the middle of the ice.
5) Dish the puck to a "safe haven" if options 1-4 are not possible.
Objective No. 4
Develop a positive, open, exchanging relationship with each goaltender.
Trust, that is critical. They must believe in, and trust you. They have to be
able to share their perceptions of a play without you (the goalie coach) always
being a "Monday morning quarterback." Challenge them, make them work,
demand excellence and accept no excuses but also have empathy and compassion.
Know when each goalie needs a "pat on the back" or "hard love."
Everybody is different.
Objective No. 5
Help each goaltender be the best he can be—one day at a time.
As a coach we want things perfect, and we want to teach or correct everything
at once. It cannot be done. Coaches need patience—a game plan. For example,
it's the first day of algebra class. Does the teacher say "Here is the
book (it's 275 pages)—final exam tomorrow!" Of course not. It takes
time to learn the concepts, and through the proper progression, build a foundation.