Carlo’s Crease

Article on Game preparation

Failing to Prepare is preparing to fail

To perform to the best of our abilities in a game is a result of good training, dedication and commitment. But on the day of the game, proper preparation is essential for peak performance.

On the morning of a game, goalies must have proper nourishment. Oatmeal, cereals mixed with fresh fruits and honey, egg whites and multigrain bread to name a few. Avoid foods with high saturated fat, fried foods and empty high calorie foods such as white bread. On the morning of a game, hash browns and sausages may not be the best choice!

A few hours before the game, eat a light nutritious meal. This might include pasta or rice with vegetables and a small portion of protein (i.e. fish).
Make sure you arrive at the arena early, this will allow you to have enough time to put on your equipment and warm-up properly. A proper warm- up is critical to good performance and injury avoidance. A proper warm-up includes dynamic movements. A set of movements that are used to simulate the movements on the ice to ensure best performance during the game.

This also avoids shocking the system and prevents injury. Too often goalies and players are in a rush to get on the ice and don't pay enough attention to the needs of their bodies.
Once on the ice, proper goalie movement is important and making sure that the equipment fit is adequate to allow unrestricted movement in comfort. The last thing you want to discover when you are trying to make that critical save is that your pads are loose or your skates are hurting you. At that moment, your focus will shift from the game to your personal discomfort.

Mental Preparation

Just as it is important to prepare your body for a game, it is equally important to have the right mental attitude to win. We have all seen goalies lose the big picture and underperform after letting in that first goal. A winning mindset includes positivity and a can do attitude.
Never looking back on your last mistake and always focusing on the play and the play ahead will always result in the best performance. If you let in a goal or fail to read the play, you must dust it off and focus on the play ahead not on what you may of done wrong. Focusing on past events creates a distraction that diverts your attention and creates a snowball effect of poor performance.

Our System

Our modern approach to training addresses the individual and his ability to learn as a whole. We treat goalie training as we would any other learning. It depends on the ability of the individual to learn and absorb new material. Our training is tailored to the individual's physical ability to carry out the drills. Everyone learns at a different pace.

We start with a briefing that clearly indentifies the session objectives and completion standards. The drills are explained using multiple media techniques to ensure understanding.
Once on the ice, the items briefed are covered and repeated to achieve the completion standards.

After the training session, a comprehensive debrief is conducted using video of the training to show areas of strength and areas that need more work. This technique allows the goalie to see for themselves how they perform and makes sure every training session is both effective and complete. Our trainers use the facilitation technique to allow the goalie to conduct a self critique. This is another way individuals build knowledge and understanding.

Each trainee is provided with a personal folder that tracks progress and allows both trainer and trainee to see the development as it happens. The pace of progress is measured against a benchmark to enable accurate forecasting of required training.

Lead with the head technique

1) Maintain your eyes level at all times

The ability to track the puck decreases when tilting your head either way. Studies have shown that by tilting your head, it is much more difficult to track the puck as it is coming towards you. A side to side movement and an up and down head movement is ok and will not hinder your ability to track the puck.

2) See the puck off the stick

Studies have shown that it is vital to see the puck come off the stick to be able to react accordingly. The first read off the puck is essential. Elite level goalies are able to quickly scan for the puck moments after release.

3) Tracking the puck is all in the head movement

Interestingly enough, the best hockey goalies move their heads more. They not only follow the puck with their eyes but follow with their heads as well. Following the puck with just your eyes will yield limited results. Tracking the puck with your head allows your eyes to move less and precisely trace the route of the puck. Remember to keep your eyes as level as possible when tracking with your head.

4) It is not essential to track the puck along its entire flight path

Studies show that very elite athletes don’t always track the object all the way into them, they reported the object becoming slightly blurry on its way in. Athletes must use prediction. Hockey goalies will use prediction to predict where the puck will be at moment of contact. It is not important if you lose track of the puck during head tracking because the number one element to having the ability to predict where and when the puck will be is the ability to see the puck off the stick.

Psychology of Goaltending

  • Concentration during game
  • Visualization before game
  • Positive Self talk
  • Confidence is very important to performing at one’s best