So Colin and I attended our first goalie clinic together on Sunday (yesterday). We went into it a little unsure what to expect because we know that our coach works with a lot of kids and upper level goalies. Turns out, we were the oldest participants and most of the goalies who attended were between 8-15 years old.
The clinic started with some leg-killing skating work. We did blue line-blue line skating sprints, c-cuts, t-pushes, shuffles, and superman-poke-checks. We were gassed after this warm up to say the least (also my legs were already shaking by this point). Next we were broken up into groups based on age, so naturally Colin and I were together which worked out because we needed some extra time in between each drill. The first drill we worked was starting on post, coming to a cone, and then taking a shot at the top the crease. The next 2 were variations on this involving slides and shuffling. The clinic really emphasized recovery drills.
That’s all well and good, but we had some issues with how it was set up. First, the conditioning is always a good thing, but it was so intense at the beginning that by the time we got to taking shots, our legs were so shaky that our form suffered and it didn’t feel like as good a practice as I would’ve liked. I can’t speak for Colin, but for me, I’d much rather concentrate on correcting the bad habits I’ve developed from years of learning goalie without a proper coach, than work an extra 10 c-cut drills. I could sense myself reverting back to some bad form and improper save choices because I was just so dead halfway through the drills. The other issue Colin and I both had was with our shooter. Each station had it’s own coach, and many of the kids also had high level goalies helping them through the drills. Our coach was a forward who’s shot was so weak I couldn’t feel the impact of it all. His shot placement was terrible, and I never got a good feeling for the puck. This aspect also hurt my save choices because I felt like I had to fumble around the crease to have any semblance of a chance of even making contact with the puck, let alone saving it.
So all-in-all, it was eye-opening in that I did realize that I’m not as in shape as I thought and really need to work on my skating conditioning for the future.
Everything Liz said is pretty much spot on. My only caveat is that this is more of a conditioning thing for adult skaters than it would be for younger goalies. I would say that since our “shooter/coach” wasn’t a goalie and didn’t really communicate well it just felt like doing the drills for the sake of doing them. Also I’ll 120% vouch for the fact that his shots were weak. He definitely could’ve increased the power on the shots, and, as Liz said the bad shooting actually hurt my save selection and performance. Just me hypothesizing here, but I think the guy wasn’t sure what to expect at the clinic himself either as the other coaches were shooting much harder so I think it may have been a miscommunication on all fronts.
Since this was our coach’s first full-ice clinic I will say it was pretty good, but could use some refinement. When I first started working with our coach he mentioned that since he works with mostly younger goalies that they learn through pure repetition, but when working with myself and later Liz he said he had to adjust his methods when working with adults, focusing more on technique and quality practice than quantity. So that said this clinic was definitely more geared towards his younger goalies (makes sense as that’s the majority of this clientele) and it was an ass kicker. I would be willing to try again once my heart rate returns to normal.
Side note: the new pads continue to be awesome, I was hoping to get more of a chance to use them at this clinic, but it was still good. Still need to play around with the strapping a bit but so far they are turning out be amazing.