Part 1 – Goalie Schools
All coaching is good coaching – that said, it is extremely hard to get coaching for goalies. From the high school player who stays late to work with your goalie to the parent who played in college 20 years ago to the person the organization has hired to give weekly clinics and come to practice once a week. Nothing should be looked down on and in fact should be welcomed by all goalie parents. The more the better.
That does not mean that all Goalie schools are equal, especially because they can cost a lot of money. Here are just a few things you should consider.
A few questions should come to mind right away. What is the ratio of coaches to goalies? The standard that I have seen which I think is good is 3:1.
The next question should be who are the other coaches? The person whose name is on the camp cannot watch and instruct everyone, so who are the other coaches and what are their credentials? Is my kid going to get put in a group with a local high school kid that I normally do not have to pay for? Find out who the other coaches are and if they are competent to teach young goalies. Has the person coaching played the game or are they “certified” which means they sat in a classroom and got a certificate to coach.
After finding out about the coaches, ask about shooters. Why are shooters important? When working on drills, it is important for shooters to be able to simulate the drill. Shooters should be 2 shooters for every group. Think about it this way, for a pass shot drill, you need two people. Even if one person Is shooting, you need another person to retrieve pucks. If you have a bunch of kids who can’t hit let’s say the bottom right portion of the net with the correct velocity shot needed to simulate the drill, are you really getting anything out of the drill?
Find out if they specialize in age groups. Depending on the drill and the size of the goalie things may need to be taught differently. For example, younger goalies need a lot more time perfecting basic stance, structure, and movement drills while older goalies may need more instruction reading plays and situations.
So where would I start – figure skating. No joke. For anyone who wants to play hockey, you need to be able to move on skates and the best teachers of edge work are figure skating coaches. Yes, even as a goalie you need to learn how to use your edges.
Once that is mastered, I would move on to power skating in pads. Find a good coach who understands how important generating power with the pads on is important. Again, this has nothing to do with stopping pucks, it focuses on movement around the crease.
Finding the right camp is important. Your child’s early development should be around movement, structure, stance, edge work, depth, and angles. You can find camps that specifically offer that skill development. A lot of them will say do not expect to see a lot of shots. Meaning in the 8 hours on the ice you may only see shots for an hour. Why because before you can stop pucks you must have that foundation of goaltending down and it has nothing to do with stopping pucks. Once those are mastered stopping pucks will come easier.
Seek out many options from different coaches. I have heard from parents that my child only works with one person. When I hear that I think to myself wow what could that person be missing. Every coach does things a little different and for goalies it is important for them to figure out what works best for them. By not seeking other opinions you may miss something that will work better for your goalie.
One on one instruction. If you can find it at an affordable rate is great way to go especially if you can get it on a weekly or monthly basis. Quality of coaching matters so be careful when selecting a coach. One on one is great for goalies to have someone to speak with day after a tough week and say let us work on this. Depending on the area because of the cost of ice this can be hard to find. I know of one place in NY that has teamed up with the local YMCA and they offer 30 minutes for $30 45 minutes for $45 and 60 minutes for $60. This is not typical and extremely hard to find. I have seen people pay as much as $150 for an hour of private instruction and say they loved it but when asked about the drills they did they say we did the exact same drills as everyone else.
Written by: Peter Jervis