Getting ready to have some hand-eye fun today in the goalie training lab. I’ve got another toy for you, this one is called the Lava Ball. Maria here from goalietrainingpro.com. I’m an exercise physiologist and I specialize in off-ice training for hockey goalies.
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I was at my local Sport Chek and I saw this Lava Ball at the checkout hat kind of got my attention. It says right on the box that it bounces sky-high, which also sounds pretty cool.
But I’m always looking for ways that we can work on your hand-eye training, maybe add an element of unpredictability to it, make it so it’s more portable.
I think tennis balls are fine but I think they can be a little bit slow. I like lacrosse balls for the weight and speed, but again, sometimes you can’t really throw that, or you probably shouldn’t throw that against the drywall in your house, because it does have a pretty good mass and it could damage the wall, or just whoever lives above or below or beside you or in the house with you, might not want to hear it hitting the wall, over and over again.
This one kind of got my attention because it was pretty light, and of course the fact that it bounces sky-high and has some kind of lava coming out of it was pretty appealing. I think, don’t get mad at me if I’m wrong, but I think the lava might change colours out in the sunlight, but we’ll see.
But anyway, it was $10.99, I got it at the Sport Chek. Well, it bounces ceiling high anyway. It sounds about the same as a tennis ball, but it definitely bounces a little quicker. So what do you say we take it for a test drive?
Bear with me for a second if you’ve been following me for a year or two (but some of you may be new here) so… you’re going to notice that I’m going to wear my glove when I do my hand-eye training. Well, why? You see, even the NHL goalies on TV, you see them just in there just using their bare hand and they’re juggling and they’re catching and they’re doing all that stuff. T
he reason we’re going to use our glove when we do your hand-eye training is because we’re trying to train a motor pattern, not just learn sort of an automated pattern that we can execute. Juggling is super hard, I’m terrible at juggling, but if you practice enough then you just get to do it habitually. You don’t have to think about it, you’re not learning anything.
What we’re trying to do is learn how to interpret what we see with our eyes, where to get the glove positioned so that the puck ends up in the pocket, not bouncing off the heel or the cuff or anything else.
If we look at where the pocket is in the glove compared to where our hand sits, or the palm of our hand. So if I’m practicing catching, even some people say well, you catch it just between your thumb and your index finger. That still isn’t anywhere near where it is in the glove. I understand the skill, but your hand isn’t in the right position to where your pocket is in your glove.
So if I put on my glove, the centre of my palm is way low. And again if you’re relatively new around here, the way that I got this glove was because my glove was not very good, pucks were always bouncing out of it, for goodness sake. So I was practicing my hand-eye just out here in the driveway, driving the neighbours crazy, and bare-handed I was – like I was not perfect, but I was pretty good.
I was like, “Oh, you know what, I’m going to try doing it with my glove.” I put my glove on, and I was brutal.
The ball was popping out, just like it did on the ice. Then I had an epiphany while I was there.
I was like wait a second, if that’s where my hand is, this is where I need to train myself to catch that puck. That’s why we’re always going to wear our glove when we do these drills.
Now, someone says, well, could I use a baseball glove? I think that would be better than nothing, but I think really just getting used to where the pocket on your glove is, is the best. There’s good, better, best. Good is doing something bare-hand, learning how to catch the ball. Better is maybe using a baseball glove or something else. Best is using the actual glove you’re going to use on the ice, plus you’ll get to work your glove in a little bit.
So now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the Lava Ball.
So it’s pretty lively, for sure. And I wasn’t throwing it that hard to start with, because when I whipped it, it comes off the wall really, really hot. I even had to move back a little bit because it was just too fast for me.
Also take into consideration that when I threw the ball, I was throwing it to hit the wall first, then bounce, so then it’s coming up on a rising shot, as opposed to throwing it on the floor first. Because then it pops up in the air and now you’re sort of catching a ball that’s coming down into your glove.
You always want to throw so that it hits the wall, then the floor, then is coming up on an upward trajectory for you.
In terms of my thoughts on the old Lava Ball (well, I’ll like it even more if it changes colours out in the sun) but I like it. It’s light, it didn’t make any marks on the floor or on the wall, it doesn’t really make that big thump sound like a lacrosse ball does. It’s pretty unforgiving, so it’ll bounce off your glove pretty easily, but I think that’s not a bad thing, so that you really have to learn to get it right in the pocket so it doesn’t just quickly bounce back out again.
Yeah, I really like it. I think it’s worthwhile. It was $10.99, I got it at Sport Chek, I don’t where else you can get it. This isn’t sponsored, obviously Lava Ball and Sport Chek didn’t ask me to do a video on it, but yeah, I like it. I think it’s a worthwhile tool to consider adding to your toolbox.
I also like a racquetball, I think a racquetball is pretty good. This actually feels a little bit like a racquetball, but racquetballs will also sometimes leave those blue smudge marks, and sometimes are a little hard to find around here.
So, if you like this post, give it a comment, subscribe, share, do whatever you’re supposed to do. If you have any other questions about hand-eye training or any other type of off-ice goalie training, make sure you leave it in the comments below. I answer each and every one of them, even if you have an off-ice hand-eye drill that you really, really love, feel free to share it, and I will catch you next time.