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Ambition Unlimited Winter Session 1, Saturday, October 19th @ East Coast Varsity Arena 800am to 900am


Footwork and Fundamentals Session, Saturday, October 26th,@ East Coast Varsity, 800am to 900am 



Weekly Summer Session, Saturday, June 22nd,@ Cole Harbour Place, 900am to 1000am 


Weekly Summer Session, Saturday, June 29th,@ Cole Harbour Place, 100pm to 200pm 

Ambition Unlimited Spring Session 6, Sunday, May 26th @ East Coast Varsity Arena 800am to 900am

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Goalie Quote of the Week

A warrior is worthless unless he rises above others and stands strong in the midst of a storm." 

-Yamamoto Tsunetomo



Back To Basics II: Keeping Things Simple

UE Motto: Be a Warrior!!I got myself caught in a bit of writer's loop.  I had what I thought was a very easy topic to write about.  So easy in fact, that it was originally planned just as a tweet on my twitter feed.  But a timely conversation with a veteran athlete and long term educator combined with the goaltending travails of Reimer in Toronto has turned my tweet into a three page opinion piece that continues to find threads to cover.  It seems to be at least another week before it'll be completed.

As a result, while working on my end-of-season goalie reports of all my goalies this year, I started to find some common themes running through my analyses.  These were all pretty obvious to me, but may not always be to others.  I have certain biases as a goalie instructor and tend to emphasize things that I find really important to my tenders.  I thought I would take time off of writing my reports and my long stewing blog article to highlight these mantras.

The reason that I want to mention these goaltending elements is I find that goalie instructors (myself definitely included) can overcomplicate the position.  Taking a hard look at these points, I hope we can get back to the basics for both young and old as we approach season's end and start to plan for our summer and autumn programs.  Here they are in their most pared down glory:

1.  Positioning is 90% of a goalie's game

I have always said if a goalie could always be in perfect position all the time on shot release, she would have a minimum of 90% save percentage without even having to react to the release of the shot.  Positioning elements would be (a)ngle, (s)quareness, and (d)epth.Use positioning to fill space!!

2.  Hand and stick discipline/positioning counts way more than hand and reaction speed

I have become a big believer in that human hands and reaction speed have not kept up with the speed of the game and the shot releases most players.  As a result, many goalies have considerable difficulty with handling elevated shots and get beat swinging their hands at pucks when if their hands were in the correct position, they'd have made the save with little or no hand movement.  Hand discipline is maintaining the proper position of the hands during movement, save selection, and recovery to maximize coverage of the upper part of the net.  This is not to say that we can't work on improving our hand speed (although there is a lot of debate whether this can be improved on a muscular level, as it seems to be mostly determined genetically).  What is not questionable is that we can work on shortening our neural pathways in reading, reacting and intelligent anticipation.  So please don't totally neglect active-hands for a pure blocking-hands style, but lets make sure our hands are always in the right spot first!!   

3.  Want to be fast?  Want to be controlled?  Get your pins underneath your core right away

Goalies are famous for having very strong cores.  The balance and stability required to play the position are very demanding.  However, one of the neglected elements of the core and it connects to our first point about positioning is that in order to move, recovery, and reposition quickly, goalies have to try to always regain their edges underneath their core when standing or their knees when down on the ice.  

Keeping your knees under your body will give you lot more options!In executing movements, I often harp that while pushes with a leg needs to be strong, recovering that push leg under the goalie's body is just as, if not more, important.  Recovering that push leg quickly sets the goalie up to make another quick push.  Lateral pushes where the back leg drags behind the body in a long, extended push is like finger nails on chalkboard for a goalie coach.

When goalies hit their butterfly, either in a knee drive or a butterfly slide, they have to make sure that any recovery or down re-positioning requires that both knee be under their hips.  If the knees are way out past the width of their hips due to a desperate save or poor pad discipline, any recovery or backside edge push needs the goalie to snap their knees back under their body.   Dragging a push leg here will slow the goalie's lateral speed and open dangerous holes along the ice.

Having the back legs come back under the goalie's body not only set the goalie up for his next push, it will also build momentum and power in the direction the goalie is trying to push to.  In addition, holes get closed up more efficiently and with the legs providing stability of the upper body, the goalie can use his hands with more control and discipline instead of flailing around for balance.

4.  Create a simplified mindset to the position

Lastly, I have been recently reading several books about coaching youth.  I've distilled what I think is a great mindset that I would like all my goalies hold dear throughout their playing career.

In practice, work, sweat, and cry!!

In games, play, laugh, and have fun!!

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