Fast Off-Ice, But Slow On-Ice? Here’s The Cure.

It can be frustrating for a slow goalie.  You know exactly where you should be, but it is like your brain won’t tell your feet fast enough.

It most likely isn’t your brain’s fault at all if you have been working on your off-ice agility drills.  If you haven’t even been doing that, then that’s where you need to start, but if you have been working on your speed and agility off the ice, here is the next step.

Vertical Overload

Let’s say you are lightning off the ice, but feel like your legs are made of wet sponge when you get on the ice, especially after the first 20-minutes.

Don’t forget you are carting around 30+lbs of gear on your body and you need to move that around too.  So let’s look at some ways we can add vertical overload to your off-ice training without getting carried away and either losing the power you do have or getting injured.

Why The Med Ball

The Med Ball (or weight plate) is a good tool to start with because it magnifies what your upper body and torso are doing – it can help you stay quiet in the upper body.

It adds a nice overload and requires stabilization.

So let’s look at five off-ice goalie agility drills where we can use the medicine ball to add overload and increase the demand for stabilization.

For each exercise start with a 5lbs med ball and gradually work up to as much as 20lbs as long as your speed and power does not suffer.

How To Use The Med Ball With Your Off-Ice Agility Drills (VIDEO)

If you cannot see the video above, just click here

Knee Recovery + Lateral Hop

Watch your hands and torso on this one – where do they go?  Do they lead the movement as you look in the direction you are going or do they trail the movement as your torso fails to keep up with your lower body?

Do 3 sets of 4 reps each

Pigeon Flow

You probably recognize this mobility drill and wonder why we would overload it – again, you have 10-15lbs strapped to your legs, adding load on your big muscles and your stabilizers, so let’s train with some load to help the hips and torso adapt.

Remember, the goal is to go as slowly as possible.  Do 2-3 reps on each side.

Vertical Jump + Lateral Hop

I love this drill because it links power movements in two different planes of motion – vertical and lateral.  I’m not suggesting that there are many occasions during a hockey game when the goalie is leaping into the air to make a save, but it is the deceleration to a quick lateral acceleration that we are looking for here.

Ensure the speed, power and stability all stay in tack when you add a medicine ball to the drill – if you lose one of those elements, then it is time to either reduce the number of reps or the weight of the med ball.

Do 3 sets of 3-4 reps each side.

Lateral Hop & Stick

The acceleration from a stand still is what we are after here.  Picture yourself covering the left post, and then quickly driving to the right post as the puck is passed behind your net.

So stay low and loaded in your legs throughout the set.  Resist the temptation to ‘dip and go’ (you will see what I mean in the video) prior to each push – this is a time waster and means you will be forced to play with desperation more often than you can play with patience.

Do 3 sets of 3-4 reps each – hold the deceleration position for 3 seconds.

MH Around, Through & Over

This one moves at a quicker pace and makes a nice stamina drill if you increase the duration a little.  As your body is focused on different movement patterns, you will find that you let the med ball drop lower than chest level, you will find that it starts to drift around in front of your body rather than staying square and stable.

That is the value of this drill, in addition to the overload.

Other Ways To Overload

The med ball isn’t the only way to overload your movement drills of course, but I like that it is somewhat ‘self limiting’.  By that I mean, if you lack the strength or stability to execute the drills properly, with efficient mechanics, the ball will let you know.

It will drop or drift or trail as you progress with the drill.  You can see (if you are paying attention) how you either physically fatigue or mentally lose your focus on the task.

Weight vests are another great way to overload your speed drills, but you need to be very selective when choosing the drills so you don’t add useless wear and tear to your back, hips and ankles.  That will make a great article down the road – stay tuned.


PS – keep an eye on your email inbox on Thursday for a big announcement