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Goaltending Practice Plans

Goaltender Development Season Plan

American goaltenders should begin the season with a plan to take ownership of their own development. Coaches should aim to create an environment that provides goaltenders that opportunity. The season plan detailed in this section gives coaches at every level two drills that work on two skills for every practice. These drills can be completed in 10 minutes and can be done at the beginning of every practice, while the other players are developing without shooting on the goaltenders.

The first two drills listed in each stage are to be completed during the first practice of each segment. The goaltenders should repeat the same two drills to start practice for the entire week. The following week, the goaltenders move on to the next two drills and so on throughout the season. This plan assumes a 32-week hockey season segmented into four parts that will last eight weeks each:

  1. Foundation Stage – Stance, practice habits, lateral skating, fundamental saves and positioning.
  2. Skills Stage – Recovery, puck handling, tracking, box control and controlling rebounds.
  3. Game Recognition Stage – Lateral plays, handling traffic in front, post integration, breakaways.
  4. Performance Stage – Addressing the goaltenders’ needs by revisiting the key areas of the first three stages. This stage is when the goaltender decides the skill in order to develop the confidence needed to succeed at the pinnacle of the season.

Coach Notes:

With this plan, coaches will never have to say, “Warm-up the goalie!” again during practice. Beginning every practice with these two drills will get your goalies are ready to go. Also by following this plan, we never have to tell shooters that they are not trying to score in any drill.

Coach Grading Scale:

Average Coach: Let’s the goalie go to the other end and have someone shoot on him or her while the other players work on something else.

Good Coach: Follows a season plan and makes sure the goalie is given a chance to develop every skill needed to be successful through making sure that every practice starts with a goaltender-specific skating drill and one purposeful drill with shots on the goalie before the team drills begin.

Great Coach: Follows a season plan for the goaltender, allowing 10 minutes at the start of every practice for goaltender development. Incorporates the week’s goaltender skill into team practice and keeps an open dialogue with the goaltender about it. Finds one NHL video clip showing a goaltender successfully using the skill in a game and shows it to the goaltenders prior to the practices. Great coaches follow up and reflect on each stage with the goalies and their parents to ensure everyone is on the same page.