Goalie specific off-ice training

Hi everyone! I wanted to talk about goalie specific training today. Goalie specific off-ice training and what it is because I think there’s some misconceptions. We’re talking about what off-ice goalie specific training is. Two things brought this up.

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The first thing is last weekend when I was at NBC at the Carey Price thing and David Hutchison was there from InGoal Mag and we were chatting and he said that a goalie coach he knows, I can’t remember what their name was. It was like an interesting name like Rafael or something, said, “Oh, when you see Maria tell her to cool it on the goalie specific stuff  ’cause goalies get enough of that already and it’s bad for their hips” kind of thing was the jist of it.

This made my heart sink a little bit because I think that it’s somebody who probably just sees the snippets on Instagram and maybe doesn’t even watch them all the way through. Certainly doesn’t read Goalie Training Pro, the articles here and has definitely never seen one of my programs because I’m a huge preacher that goalie specific is sort of a 20 to 30% seasoning. It’s what makes it different.

It’s kind of like … my grandmother was Greek so I always go back to food, but it’s like the difference between Greek cooking and Italian cooking. There are quite a few threads of similarity, and there are so don’t get made at me, but there’s a seasoning and some of the things that make it really different and distinct and delicious. But that’s what goalie specific off-ice training is.

We still need to be explosive and learn to accelerate and decelerate and be strong and powerful and do cleans and front squats and hex bar deadlift and pushes and chins and everything like that, but we need to sprinkle in that 20 to 30% that makes it specific for you. A little more frontal plane movement, a little more up, down.

What it is not, and this is where I take exception, someone new says, “Oh, that’s too hard on their hips.” Because if you watch the videos and have seen any of the programs, even when we’re down on our knees, I mean we have to work this what I call vertical agility. We have to work that so we have to start from our knees, but it’s never in the butterfly position.

There are some specific things that we will work on where we’ll have that hip internally rotated, usually it’s a static thing, but that’s because goalies come and tell me, “Hey, when I’m pushing across the ice with my one pad down, I can’t keep my butterfly. My hip isn’t strong enough and my pad will tuck underneath me. It’ll fold back in. I can’t keep it wide as I push.” So we will do some specific things like that, but it’s, again, just specific to target those muscles.

We will not be smashing down repeatedly into the butterfly or onto our knees with our hips in internal rotation. If we are transitioning to our knees or from our knees, usually it is with our hips in neutral position. We’re always wearing our knee pads and it’s never a high volume thing. So that is really, really important.

So goalie specific training is not standing on a stability ball juggling or lifting weights, although I know it looks really exciting and you see some goalies do that and it’s like, wow. That doesn’t really help because it’s such a … Number one when you juggle it’s hand-eye. If you’re standing on a ball you’re not actually throwing the balls as fast as you can, you’re throwing the balls so that it kind of comes right back to you so that you don’t fall off the ball.

Somebody will say it’s good for core stability.

Not really. There’s about a million ways we can work your core stability better than that. Somebody’ll be like, “Oh, but it’s really good for balance.” Yes, it’s kind of good for balance, but the thing to think about when you’re on the ice is that you’re … again, it’s trying to not move and trying to keep that sweet spot. It’s not like a explosive dynamic balance the way goalies need it. So again, just don’t stand on the ball, please.

Pretty please, with sugar on top.

And then the second thing that made me want to put this out there is I saw a video on one of the social media outlets and I can’t remember who posted it, and again, I know they’re not on purpose trying to post something that’s gonna be harmful for athletes. There’s no trainer, no strength coach in the world, or that I’ve met, that’s trying to, “Oh, this’ll really screw kids up or hurt their hips or cause long term damage.” It’s always just a case like they didn’t know. And sometimes when you don’t understand the anatomy and the physiology and the biomechanics of how the body works, it’s like this makes perfect sense.

We’ll do this, it’ll be great. And it’s enthusiasm, which is what I love about trainers and goalie coaches, it’s awesome, it’s infectious, but it’s just misguided.

So what I saw, and I’m doing this because I didn’t comment because I didn’t want to sound like an ass, but I wish I had. And again, now I can’t remember who posted it, and obviously I can’t find it again, but it was a couple goalies wearing their pads doing really goalie specific movements. Coming out to the top of the crease, dropping in their butterfly, backside recovery, Reverse-VH, out again and wearing their pads. And that was put out there as goalie specific off-ice training.

If those goalies lived somewhere, and I’m not being facetious, if those goalies lived somewhere where they have no access to ice at all, then maybe that would be the way you’d have to go because they just… otherwise they’ll never get a chance to move with their pads on and things like that.

It didn’t say anything about that so again, maybe I only got part of the story and maybe I misunderstood and these are athletes that have no access to ice and that’s the only way they can practice some of those movement patterns, but I have a sense that wasn’t the case.

You wear your pads when you’re on the ice. The pads actually add more mass even though they’re light. They add more mass to your legs. They put more torque on the hips and it is repeating patterns that are so … that add wear and tear to the hips over time. It’s like showing a guy wearing all his football equipment just getting smashed around in the gym by a machine that just smashes him or having him just run into stuff over and over and be like, “Oh football specific training.” That’s what practice is for, that’s what on ice is for.”

So that’s the thing. Goalie specific off ice training is not putting on your pads and doing movements you do on the ice. That’s actually on ice, goalie specific training that you do with your coach or practice.

Save it for that.

Savour it for that.

The off-ice stuff is building the strength, the speed, the stamina, the vertical agility, the frontal plane agility you need, managing your hips, treating your hips like gold the way a pitcher treats his shoulder. You know you don’t see a pitcher, or I hope you don’t see a pitcher, in the gym with the heavy cable just ripping the daylights out of their shoulder. You know, they’re doing things that are controlled, that are gonna build up the shoulder joint, not break it down.

That’s my little rant on what goalie specific training is. But again, nobody’s trying to hurt an athlete. It’s just my opinion. It’s just a lot of times it makes sense in our head, but when you add in the anatomy and the physiology and the biomechanics and the injury risks, it’s like, ew, yeah, that’s not such a good idea. I love the enthusiasm, but let’s just do the stuff that helps and leave all the rest out. So pads for on the ice unless you live somewhere there is no ice and then you’ll have to make it up as you go along.

I hope you guys are having a awesome today. See you!