What does it take to turn a regular kid into a great goalie? Well, it takes a lot of time and practice, obviously, but there are certain strategies and tips that can go a long way toward developing some majorly skilled young goalies.
One of the most important skills for a goalie to have is being a good observer. Goalies need to be adept at truly seeing what is going on and at getting so good and used to watching that they can actually make predictions about how gameplay will unfold.
Watching plenty of games and learning to watch for the patterns in the game can make goalies more accurate more often.
Limit those “Puck Firing” Drills
For a long time, coaches have used the “strategy” of firing pucks at their goalies. They think this teaches them to “man up” and to handle any shot thrown their way. The only problem, however, is that youth players aren’t men; they’re children.
Thus, instead of putting them in this high-pressure and potentially dangerous situation, work with them in a slower, gentler way. When a puck is hit, praise them on what they did well. When a puck is missed, talk about what could have been done to save the shot. This is guaranteed to garner better results than the dreaded puck-firing drill.
Focus on Creating Strong Skaters First
If you want someone to be a good goalie, he first has to be a strong skater.
Goalies have to be able to move easily on the ice and must learn to maintain a “ready position” no matter what. Thus, regular skating drills and practices, designed specifically with the goalie in mind, are an absolute necessity.
Let Them Try Different Positions
Finally, remember not to rope children into any one position. Let your goalies play other parts from time to time. This will help them to understand all aspects of the game and will make them better all around players, in addition to training them to be great goalies.