In June, I posted a blog offering three tips to help goalies prepare for summer camp. Now, just because the hot summer days are almost over, it doesn’t mean that your game has to cool off. Keep the momentum going strong from your summer training into the new hockey season with these tips!
Start with where you left off: the exit interview
The exit interview held with your instructors and camp director is a great starting point. They spend a lot of time creating your evaluation so that you can continue working on certain parts of your game during the season. Before try outs, take into consideration some of the minor adjustments they discussed with you that will have a major impact on your performance. Things like:
-being more aggressive on 1-on-1 rush plays;
-keeping your hands in front when you’re in your stance and set for a shot; or
-communicate more with teammates during game situations.
These examples don’t involve making too many technical adjustments to your game, but can certainly make a difference where it counts. Trying to make major technical improvements in a short period of time may actually work against you because you will be trying too hard to work on them rather than focus on the strengths you have that make you successful.
Once the season begins, take 3-5 keys points that were mentioned during your exit interview and develop a plan on how you can work on them during team practices or individual training sessions with your goalie coach.
Watch yourself – literally!
One of the best training tools for goalies is to watch yourself perform during goalie training sessions, practices or games. Often times, goalies think they are improving their game, but in reality have no way to telling. The great thing about video is that it is inexpensive and doesn’t take much time. Simply ask a family member or friend to record you using a handheld camcorder or tablet device (there are others, but these are the devices that I personally have experience using.) All they have to do is press record when the play is entering your zone. At the end, you will have roughly 10-20 minutes of footage to watch. Pay attention to the areas of your game that you are trying to improve, especially during games, and take notes (you have a journal to keep track of your progress, right?)
Remind yourself of what you need to do to be successful
As much as it’s important to focus on improving in certain areas of your game, don’t forget about the parts that have made you successful. Summer training isn’t just about working on your weaknesses. It’s about making your strong points even stronger. Before every practice or game, remind yourself of what you need to do to be successful. Every goalie has their strong points and it’s important to remind yourself of what they are each time you step on the ice.
If you follow these three tips, you will be able to build on what you worked on during summer camps and actually see your skill level improve during the year.
Good luck this season!