So you’d like to be a professional hockey player? Besides staying committed to your dream, there are more concrete things you can do to increase your chances of getting there.
Be a good skater.
Goaltending is mainly based on balance and edges. The better you skate, the better you can tend your goal. Pre-game and pre-practice warm-up should always include basic skating drills. For example, use a T-push for long crease movements and shuffles when you need to change your position side to side. Both don’t need to take long. A single 10-rep set for each, which can be anywhere from two o 10 minutes, is usually good enough. These skating drills are part of most pro goalies’ routines. Do as the pros and you will one day be in their place.
Perfect your hand skills.
When the butterfly save came about in the 1990s, goaltenders were too focused on on-ice coverage that they ended up overlooking their hands somehow. Make sure to catch pucks and block shots to the corner as part of your warm-up routine. Put 30 pucks in the slot, and let someone shoot at your hand while you’re in your butterfly. This is often part of professional goalies’daily warm-up.
Prepare yourself mentally.
Believe it or not, goal-tending is 80 percent a mental game. Be prepared then before hitting the ice. Find a quiet corner where you can be alone and build focus for about 10 minutes. Picturing yourself in actual play can help you improve your game. It can mean the difference between a good and bad decision at the right or wrong time.
As the goalie, you need to be the hardest worker and fittest player on your team. Every year, Mike Richter of the New York Rangers’took home the fitness award. Hall of Famer Ed Belfour was once a triathlete. St.Louis’ Brian Elliott is recognized for being among the hardest-working goalies of the sport. Your teammates regard you as their rock. Never give them reason to doubt. When you’re always fit and working hard, they take it as an assurance that you will always be behind them.
Lastly, be aware that even the best goalies know they will have their share of bad goals and bad games. It’s simply part of nature. Do it like the pros – learn about the ways to dismiss those bad days and to not be affected by them. You will get scored on, but it’s not something that should bother you. Martin Brodeur was scored on a total of nearly 3,000 time – now was that enough to keep him from being a world-famous goalie? You very well know the answer.