GTP TV: Ep 10 – Speed vs. Quickness

Welcome to Goalie Training Pro TV, episode number 10. That’s all your fingers and thumb on one hand, all your fingers and thumb on the other hand. It’s somewhat a big deal, but it’s … can you believe we started from the bottom, now we’re here. That’s all I can say.

This episode is all about speed, agility, and quickness because well, you’ll see because….


If you want to watch the video you can also find it here >>

So, we’re gonna talk about speed, agility, and quickness, and they get used, people interchange them like they’re the same thing. It’s just because you don’t know, and I know even on this, I’m gonna get some comments when someone’s like, “Well, no, but I really use my speed to change direction fast,” or there’s gonna be something weird. But it’s like, so, again, it’s not really my opinion of what they are. It’s like, this is what they are and this is how we train them, and these are the ones that are important for a goalie to have. Some of you will be like, “No, I disagree. I think a goalie needs to be fast,” but it’s just because you’re not using the right term.

So, we’re gonna go over the terms. Then I’m gonna give you a couple little drills that will help you to be whatever it is you’re trying to be on the ice so that you can stop more pucks, and then we’ll all get on with our day.

So, we’ll start by just defining the terms. Speed is how fast you can go. So, that’s top end speed. So, I think a good example is, because you might think, “Oh, speed is what I need.”

But even Usain Bolt, he is the fastest man, but he’s actually slow getting there. So, he’s a wonderful 100 meter sprinter. I’m sure anybody would love to have him on really almost any sport team, but multi directionally, that first step quickness, Usain might not be the best goalie is what I’m saying because his top speed is great, but it takes him a while to get there.

Like if you’ve ever been on a high speed train, like the TGV, if you’re in Paris or France, it is very, very fast, but it doesn’t pull out of the station like “pew” really fast, you know? It’s like, you know, it slowly gets up to that speed and away it goes. So, those are fast things. Fast is just what’s the fastest you can get up to. Not how fast can you get there.

So then, quickness is sort of that reaction impulse, how fast can you get moving. So, Usain Bolt, there are sprinters that are quicker than Bolt. Their immediate impulse in getting out of the blocks is better, but he’s faster, so that’s why he usually sort of overtakes, not from maybe last place, but he overtakes and then dominates.

So, quickness is just how can I get that impulse, and boom, just get moving. Doesn’t mean, if I have the fastest impulse, it doesn’t even necessarily mean that I’m the best. Somebody that had a slower impulse but more power could still beat me to the puck or get into position. If I have a good impulse but not a lot of power, then that’s not ideal either.

Agility is how well can I decelerate and then accelerate again, which may be in the same direction, almost a stutter step or a chop step or a fake, and go, or it could be decelerate and then change direction, cutting or whatever. That’s agility. I think of agility, they all have a skill element, but I think agility is probably the most skill related of all those variables, which is cool because if it’s a skill, it means we can teach it.

We can teach speed as well. There are a lot of places where we lose efficiencies and we can close those down and really, really teach someone to be faster without changing anything that they’re doing technique wise, we can teach them to be faster.

Teaching quickness, yes, to some extent, but also to some extent, you’re either have that twitch or you don’t. We can still improve it, but it’s not gonna be a huge improvement. We can make a huge improvement in agility by making you more powerful, and teaching you proper movement.

Then people talk about quick feet. If you want to see strength coaches go crazy, start talking about quick feet drills. Oh, we’re gonna do some quick feet drills now, and they will lose their mind over someone saying quick feet. (what you really mean is you want to be more agile). I’m gonna give you some drills that.

Sometimes it’s quicker, but usually quick feet drills means more agile. So, it’s like, yes, I know what you mean. Since there’s a skill to it, it’s important to have. But it has to be taught like a skill. So, I think that’s where people lose their mind because they’re like, “Well, quick feet is like the Riverdance, that’s quick feet.” But that’s not necessarily, really gonna help you stop more pucks.

So, that’s what strength coaches will say, “That’s quick feet. That doesn’t help at all.” You’re not talking about just spazzing, quick feet. You’re talking about yeah, “I need to learn to have more coordination, have more vocabulary of movement so that I can move quickly and precisely and be where I want to be.”

So, again, we’re not gonna tell you there’s no such thing as quick feet, because there is. Riverdance is quick feet. Agility training can teach your feet to move quicker, so that’s quick feet. And if we do it within the confines of a skill, that’s transferrable, then does not make you a better hockey goalie?

Like I always talk about comparing it to learning music, and you guys know that I’m a perpetual student of trying to learn how to play the guitar. I don’t even have a teacher anymore. But I can get on the guitar and well, slam on it really fast but not make any good music. I can be pretty fast but it’s just terrible because there’s no skill to it. There’s no precision to it.

So, that’s kind of the difference. So, I need to start and learn the skill of making the chords, of hitting the strings so that it’s right. And then I can link them together, and then I can start going fast, and then I can rock out like The Edge.

So, that’s exactly what we’re gonna do with your agility drills. Because again, go to YouTube and type in “hockey camp off ice training,” and you’re gonna see, this is what you’re gonna see. You’re gonna see … craziness going on, and then you’re gonna see a very tired coach, probably, who’s like, “Good job, good job,” because they’re just happy that the kids are working hard and I think they’re thinking, “Okay, if I tire these kids out enough now, then they’re gonna be very docile in the afternoon, and then it’s gonna be easier for me to do my thing.”

We’re gonna do it the other way. We’re gonna start with just refining the very most basic skill. And be patient with it. The thing with the simple skill is that we all know it’s simple. We look at it and we’re like, “That’s simple.”

This is what I did in university. This what led to my demise in first year university, to tell you the truth. I would study, but if something was really hard, and I didn’t understand it at all, I’m looking at you finite math and matrix algebra, I’d be like, “That’s not gonna be on the exam. That’s way too hard.” I’d just move onto the next thing.

Not the best strategy, so that’s what we do. We go, “Even though I suck at it, it’s so easy that I don’t really need to learn that, because I want to be up here. So, I don’t really need to work on these things that are easy that I suck at. I’m just gonna go and do the hardest thing that I can as fast as I possibly can, even though my movement quality is terrible.”

So, we’re gonna look at it, we’re gonna clean it up, I’m gonna give you a progression, and hopefully you’ll understand the difference between speed, quickness, and agility and how agility is like playing a musical instrument. I can make a lot of noise and smash on the guitar, but until I learn the chords, learn to strike the strings, learn to link them together, and then go fast, it’s not gonna, it’s not gonna work.

So, if we asked, what do you a goalie needs? Does a goalie need speed? Do they need quickness? Or do they need agility?

In order I think a goalie probably needs quickness, then agility, then speed. Here’s why.

VERY rarely is a goalie getting to top speed. Skating to the bench on a delay penalty, and yes it’s important. The faster you can get there, the sooner an extra skater can come on and your team has a great chance to score a goal. But again, is it a thing that happens several times a game that has a huge impact on the outcome? No.

Agility, so getting in position, maybe, but then so, getting here and then immediately having to move there. Yes, that’s important, but probably again, not as much a part of it.

More a part of it is initiating, is quickness. Initiating that first quick push. So, let’s say the puck is behind the net. I’m doing a post lean. The puck goes out in front, so I have to quickly push out in front to cut off the angle. So, that is a quickness.

Then, now the puck gets passed back down towards the goal, and boom, I have to quickly move back into that position. I am in my ready position. A low shot comes. I need to drop into my butterfly, I need to initiate that very, very quickly.

Now, I might get into my butterfly and even make a save that puts out a rebound and now I have to half butterfly push to cover my post in a reverse VH or something like that. So, that’s why I would say quickness is the first. Then agility, and then I would say speed is the least important of the three. Not that it’s not important, just if we had to rank them, what’s the most important.

So, if we think in terms of quickness and agility, since they’re the two most important. Think of it as power production plus movement skill. That’s what your quickness and your agility is gonna be, and building strength is our easiest way to improve power. So, even if we don’t clean up your movement patterns, even if your quickness doesn’t improve, if we can add strength to the equation, you will produce more power. So, that’s why strength training is so important, even for goalies.

Somebody will say, “I probably shouldn’t strength train because maybe I’ll gain muscle and then I’ll be slow.” No. If you’re doing proper goalie training, then the type of muscle you’re adding, if you are adding some, is actually the type of muscle that’s gonna help you be quicker and more agile on the ice. So, it’s good. Then teaching proper movement patterns and using the power is gonna, again, translate into even more speed on the ice.

So, here’s some sample drills, and I’m using the agility ladder.


So, this is the one that’s the most basic that you’ll say that you won’t be very good at but you’ll say, “Ah, it doesn’t’ really matter, it’s so simple anyway. Like, I can do that, but for whatever reason, I can’t do it right now.” So, it’s just a lateral hop and stick. So, we’re just gonna get nice and low, so nice knee bend, good torso position. (When I say tall torso, I don’t mean upright. I just mean long. I have to be a little bit forward in my torso), but I’m gonna balance on one leg, and I’m gonna hop over the ladder to the other leg, and stick in my nice low position.

I’m gonna hold that for about three seconds with my good knee alignment, my knee pointing straight ahead, then I’ll come back. When I can do that perfectly landing and not having any little wiggle, then I can go to a two count, over and back. Again, my balance, what are my shoulders doing? When I push this way, do my shoulders lean backwards? So, that’s the first thing. It’s gonna be perfect. You gotta stick your landings every time. Hold for three seconds. That actually makes it harder, then move onto the next thing.

Then, one of the ones we do, and you don’t need a ladder to do this, but I’ll just use it as a framework just to see, “hey, how precise am I with my movements?” I want to try to, yeah, move with purpose and precision. This drill is a quick step lateral hop.

So, quick step through with both feet hitting the inside of the ladder, and then nice lateral hop back over the whole thing.

So, one of the things we talk about is working on quick powerful pushes where they weren’t opening up such big gaps and then having to close big gaps. So, if I can get from here to there quickly and more precise, rather than getting from here to there less sharp or quick. So, this is one of the things that we work on.

Then I may get a contrasting pattern so that it’s not always uniformly, get to combine quick little pushes with a quick bigger push. So it’s just quick step into the ladder, then lateral push. But again, I close things up quickly.

I’m not trying to get in my stance or anything like that. That adds more wear and tear to my hips, knees and ankles. I get tons of that on the ice. And really, it’s not gonna change your footwork pattern being that way, so don’t do it. It’s just, is my torso staying stable? So, as we do get a gloved hand, locker, where should that be? Where should you be looking if I’m going one way, I should be looking and then coming back. So, that’s another one.

You can also do it to a balance, so that’d be sticking that end balance on the inside. You would do that to both directions, to work on pushing side to side.

Oh, and then quick step laterals. So, a lot of our movement on the ice is lateral. It’s side to side. There isn’t as much straight forward, straight back. Yes, you need to come out in your crease to challenge the puck and move back to your post, so there is some. But a lot of the repetitive movement is side to side following the play.

So, if you think about even skaters or think about football players, they spend a lot of time working on their straight line sprints, on becoming better sprinters, on becoming faster moving in their dominate plane of motion.

But goalies don’t spend hardly any time working in their dominant plane of motion to be better lateral sprinters. So, we’ve started working a lot more on just quick step lateral. Just this idea of pushing off a leg, but also pulling on the other leg so that it’s not just a one sided kind of thing. It’s active both ways that you’re pushing and pulling.

And then we can work on it with precision, too. So, we’ll start one foot in each rung. I’m always going to lead with my first foot and the close it up with my second foot. And I want it to be like “Boom, boom, boom, boom”. You’ll see if you try it, and especially if you use a ladder where it challenges you to be uniform with your steps, you’ll see that going one way, you’re pretty good. The other way, your steps are not as uniform or even and you’re stepping on the ladder and you’re losing track of where you are.

So, a nice quickness drill just getting those lateral sprints, staying low in your leg, keeping your body nice and stable.

If we wanted to make it an agility drill, we could do it as a little pyramid. So, I can do one over, one back. Two over, two back. Three over, three back. Four over, four back. So, we get that change of direction which is important to build in, too. It’s a little stamina drill, too. But first I would build in the skill of pushing and pulling.

Again, you don’t need to be in your crouch with your knees pinched in. Don’t add extra wear and tear to your hips like that. Just work on the hip pattern.

So, we’re wrapping it up here. Speed is, top end speed, how fast you can get going. Quickness is your impulse, how quickly you can get started. Agility is how well you can decelerate and then accelerate again, (which could be in the same direction, in the opposite direction, side to side). Agility is the most skill of it, learning to decelerate.

Again, the goalie group that I work with on Tuesday nights here at Revolution, we were just talking about, “What’s the biggest thing you’ve noticed on the ice?” “I’ve noticed I can stay lower in my legs, which gives me more power on the ice.” So, again, a good chance to practice doing those movements while being low in your legs.

Building strength is the easiest way to improve your power. Having more power will improve your speed, your quickness, and your agility. Then cleaning up your movement patterns. Practicing your movement patterns, just like you would if you’re playing an instrument, is gonna then help it translate onto the ice so that it’s not just crazy quick feet that burns up a lot of energy but doesn’t really get you where you want to go. It’s moving with that precision and purpose, which is always what you want to do to help us stop more pucks.

So, this is Maria from with episode 10!, of Goalie Training Pro TV. (Yes, I did have a cup of coffee today so I’m a little excited.)

Hey, I would love it if you would follow me on Instagram at Goalie Training. I post some stuff there, and if you want to get sort of a little bit inside but not really so much into my private group training or online private coaching programs, you can check out The Goalie Training Lab on Facebook. It’s a private Facebook page, but it’s totally free. I jump in there once every couple of days and I post some special stuff there. Again, it’s not in the, for my paid groups where I’m in there every day and, but I still jump on there and hang out. It’s an awesome group of goalies.

It’s a really supportive group, so there isn’t any, and I think some of the chirping on other sites is hilarious, but this isn’t one of those sites where we try to make each other feel bad and cry and stuff. It’s just like, yeah. You ask about off ice training, you can talk about equipment, you can post videos of you playing. We’ve had some of those, which I really, really love. So, that’s just Goalie Training Lab. You just have to ask to be added, and then my assistant Sarah goes in kind of once or twice a day and looks it up, and if it’s pretty clear that you’re a goalie from your profile, then you’re in and it’s free.

So, that’s it, gang. I hope you have a great day. Don’t forget that Friday’s I go Facebook Live. I do this on a Thursday, so Friday Facebook Live is where I answer any questions that you email me, so I don’t have time to type answers back to everybody. If you email me a question or message me a question on the Goalie Training Pro Facebook page, on this page, I answer them on Fridays on a Live Q&A. Then Sarah, my assistant, she posts them to the blog a couple days, a couple days later.

If you send questions to my personal Facebook page where I just hang out with my high school friends and my family, I probably won’t see it. So, if you’ve put a question there and I don’t answer it, that’s why. I don’t see it. That’s sort of a recreation thing for me. Goalie Training Pro TV is where I interact with all of the goalies, all of you guys.

So, see you!