The rise of private goalie coaches has sent many volunteer team coaches skating away from the crease.
The cost of private goalie coaches is hovering around $100 (USD) per hour. That price tag can be unnerving to some coaches, and downright intimidating to others. We understand that. We get it.
But we have to find a way to incorporate goalies into our plan.
5 Rules for Goaltenders
- Make the save
- Make the save
- Control the rebound
- Position for the next shot (recovery)
- Make the save
It may seem pretty simple (it is) even silly (it’s not). But it is effective. Our goalies love it.
Things can get pretty hairy in the crease, at times. We don’t want too many things rattling around inside our netminder’s nugget! We want him or her focused. 5 Rules for goaltenders reinforces a focused goalie.
By keeping it simple, goalies can execute with confidence. A confident goalie is exponentially better than one questioning him/herself.
Let’s take a closer look at each point.
5 Rules for Goaltenders, explained
- Make the save–That’s what goalies are for!
- Make the save–No, it’s not a misprint. By having it twice, back-to-back, it reminds goalies there is often a quick follow-up rebound. It also reinforces this primary function.
- Control the rebound–Important, yes. But not more so than 1 & 2! Tie it up? Yup. That’s a great way to control the rebound–in fact, it’s often our favorite!
- Position for next shot (recovery)–If 1, 2, & 3 are done well, recovery is less critical. Not unimportant, mind you, but less critical.
- Make the save–Yup. Again. It’s worth repeating. We want this to be the first and last thing we talk about. It all comes down to this. Whichever goalie keeps the puck out of the net the most is the winning goalie.
A deeper look
Everything else is secondary, subordinate to making the save. There are no style points in goaltending. If style was a factor for goalies, a guy named Tim Thomas wouldn’t have his name on Lord Stanley’s Cup.
We go over our list, with our goalies, at the beginning of each season. We take it from the top, whether a goalie is hearing it for the first time or the fourteenth.
It provides a baseline for our goalies to start from each season. It’s also common ground for us to talk with our goalies. It comes up throughout the season. It’s not a one-and-done. We refer back to the list on a regular basis, sometimes formally, but often informally.
As goalies get older, like all players, they become more self-aware. They become more capable of self-evaluation. That is what we want for all our players, sure. But goalies evolve a bit quicker in this area. 5 rules for goaltenders gives them a set criteria in their evaluation. From which they can drill down and dissect their session (game or practice), more constructively and more effectively. It’s a basis for good self-talk, goalie-style!
We began this some years ago. We watched a young Pee Wee (U-12) goalie execute a beautiful butterfly slide, on a dump-in. The slide was nearly flawless. His body was square and quiet. He led with his head. It was textbook.
But he missed the puck. And it went in. The team lost, 1-0. Ugh.
One of our goalies, at the time, worked with the same goalie coach. We asked our goalie about it.
Come to find out, it was the way the goalie was taught. The coach had a wonderful way of teaching the mechanics of the position. But he never tied it into a real game scenario. He never connected the dots. He was teaching style, at the expense of substance. Double ugh.
The gentleman has since stopped coaching, which is too bad. His work with younger goalies was absolutely superb. All the young goalies he worked with were sharp, with silk-like movement. Also, he made his goalies feel elite–like Superman–from the minute they stepped on the ice. The confidence alone accounted for a healthy handful of saves in every game.
But we felt we needed a way to incorporate the goalie into the game plan, regardless of where they did their specialized training. We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel each time we got a new goalie. We also didn’t want to compete or take away from what a private goalie coach was teaching. So, we developed Hockey Dawg’s 5 Rules for Goalies.
Let’s look at some stats!
100% of games are decided in the crease–100%!
With 100 percent of games decided in the crease, it seems we should be spending some time with the player that calls the crease home–the goaltender!
Don’t leave the game to chance. Incorporate goaltending into each and every practice plan and game plan.
- Save selection
- Rebound control
- Decision making
- Commanding the D-Zone
Here are a few pointers to help bring your lost sheep–the goalies–back into the fold. Here is your bonus!
BONUS: Goalie Coaching Checklist
- Adopt a checklist–5 Rules for goalies, or some other common ground.
- Practice–Devote a percentage of every practice to goaltending.
- Reinforce–Don’t try and undue what the goalie coach has taught. Instead build on it.
- Dedicated Coaching–Almost every team has that one assistant coach that wants to do more–let him! Or her! Make that person your goalie coach.
- Communicate–Ask questions of your goalies, after each session (game or practice)–talk to them. Regularly.
We checked with the Hockey Hall of Fame, none of the enshrined goaltenders have a 1.000 (perfect) save percentage–NONE!
Goaltenders will let-up some goals over the course of their careers. It happens. Helping goalies see beyond a tough goal, and the scoreboard in general, is part of our job. It’s small things over the course of a season that will pay huge dividends.
You plant the seed on Day-1, and you care and feed it throughout the season. When harvest time comes–playoffs–that’s when you’ll realize the fruits of your labor.
- Day 1–You plant the seed–Introduce 5 Rules for Goalies.
- Season–Care & feeding–Practice, reinforce positively, continuous communication.
- Playoffs–Harvest Time!!–Often, it’s the team with the best goaltender who wins. That starts now, in the off-season, by planning for our goalies’ training through the season.
As the coach, our job–one of the many–is to have the very best goaltending available each and every game. That can’t be accomplished by skating away from the crease!