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Developing great practice habits on and off the ice

By Brian Daccord

Games are fun, but the skills that players get out of practice and training give them the ability to have fun in games. Therefore, players will gain the most rewards by maximizing time and effort. Don’t practice or train just to get it done; practice and train to get better. This is done by pushing oneself and never being complacent.

On the ice, do not be satisfied with a mediocre performance in practice. Players should contest every shot. The games will become mentally and physically easier if you push yourself.

One of the hardest-working goaltenders over the last 20 years is by no surprise one of the world’s most successful. Whether it was a regular practice, a morning game-day skate, or a pregame warm-up, Dominik Hasek never gave up on a shot and contested every puck. It was easy to see why he was one of the best goalies of his era.

If players don’t think their coach is pushing them enough in practice, they should take it upon themselves to work harder. There are several things players can do on their own in practice:

  • Line up on every rebound as if a player is going to be there to shoot the puck, even if there isn’t.
  • Work on communicating with teammates throughout practice.
  • Do small crease skating drills individually. Get on the ice early or stay later if possible.
  • Communicate with coaches about how to make practice more beneficial for the goalies. The goaltender is in the easiest position to cruise though practices. Don’t let it happen.

Off-ice training becomes extremely important as players age. They should set goals with respect to training and push themselves to attain those goals. Think about how actions off the ice are going to affect success on the ice. If there is uncertainty on what should be done off the ice, seek assistance and make sure time is being maximized. Players not putting time and effort into the off-ice training component of development can rest assured that there are other goalies working hard at bettering themselves.

This is an excerpt from Hockey Goaltending, edited by Brian Daccord.

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