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Adding props to your training
The use of “props” in goalie training is not a new concept, however in recent years innovative goalie coaches have developed a number of great tools to help goaltenders of all ages train for the complexity and chaos of defending the goal. The necessity of these props have even produced a number of cottage industries dedicated to designing products to help further challenge and meet the needs of goalies and goalie coaches. Before we dive into some examples of commonly used props lets quickly cover why you may want to consider using them in your training:
- Allow coaches to place focus on a specific situation or skill
- Make the drill more difficult than the game
- Allows single shooters or coaches to be more dynamic
- Allows goaltenders to either feel or see the feedback vs hear it from a coach
One of the companies producing great goalie specific props that are both functional and durable is Goaltender’s BFF. Our two favorites are the retractable angle device they call “the Pro-Angle” and the redirecting board they call the “deflector”.
The Pro-Angle is a beneficial device that shows the goaltender their angle from the net to the stick blade of the shooter. The four stings easily attach to the four corners of the net and retract or expand as you move giving the goalie instant feedback on their angle.
Check out this video on how helpful it was for Aaron Dell of the San Jose Sharks to see his coverage in tight while using the Pro-Angle by clicking here.
The Deflector is a fold-able rectangular box that varies in vertical angles to create a variety of deflection trajectories. You can add a tip option to any drill or work specifically on deflection technique using this device. Goalies who need to work on body and box control can really benefit from a couple simple drills using the deflector.
Medicine balls are a fantastic way to teach goaltenders balance, flexibility and moving while staying connected. If you have a goalie whose hands flop or swing while going to their butterfly or moving in it, try taking their stick away and having them hold a medicine ball while performing movement drills. Be sure the ball is heavy enough that it requires both hands and cannot be swung easily. We have found this helpful while working on pivots, butterfly slides and reinforcing a tight seal to the ice on scramble plays. If your goalies struggle in these areas then medicine balls are very helpful.
These props made famous by Mitch Korn are a way of challenging the eyes and their ability to find a white object over a white surface. These props significantly raise the difficulty in tracking the puck and help spice up traditional drills. You can start with simply placing tape around the ring of the puck, spray paint the pucks or purchase these items on sites like xhockeyproducts.com.
In closing utilizing props can challenge the goaltender in ways they may only experience in games situations. Add some of these items to your development plan you will not only see the improvement, but have some fun while using them!
To purchase any of the Goaltender’s BFF product please click here
Article by Justin Johnson, Founder of MEGA Goaltending and University of Minnesota Men’s Goalie Coach