How Hockey Goalies Get Deeper In Their Edges: GTP TV Episode 51

Welcome to Goalie Training Pro TV, episode 51. This is for you, if you ever get burning in the front of your shin. (Not the other kind of burning). This is for you.


If you want to see the visuals that go along with this post, check it out on YouTube here >>


So, do you ever get, (especially in the first kind of 20 minutes on the ice) the front of your shins, you get like, yeah it feels like they’re cramping or like it’s burning. And I think that has to do with sort of a lack of ankle control.

And I started thinking about this, we train … actually in Revolution, we train a group of down hill ski racers. So they are always in that fixed boot. And they have really terrible ankle dorsiflexion. So what dorsiflexion is, is closing down this angle in the front of your ankle.

And it makes perfect sense.

So then I got thinking about you guys and being in your skates and how that’s a bit of a boot as well. So, what I want to chat with you today is about getting really well acquainted with range of motion in your ankle and control at your ankle, because again it’s almost like a Formula One race car driver who doesn’t pay attention to their steering.

Your skates are kind of your tires, that’s what’s in contact with the ice. But your ankles are kind of the steering, if you will.

So we want to make sure that you’ve got good control and especially good mobility there, so that you can get, I think you guys say, deep in your edges. Because if I can’t get good dorsiflexion, then I get stuck from going deeper in my legs. Which I actually see in the gym pretty often when I do assessments.

Well then if I want to get low, I have to kind of just get there by sticking my bum back and bringing my chest down. So I don’t have that much power in my legs, plus my body’s not in a great position. It’s harder for me to get my glove up, I’m extending at my neck to see what’s going on.

And you’re not aware of it, but even at the Turning Pro training camps, I’ll video and I’ll take pictures of guys. And quite a few guys are really in that kind of stance. And I’m sure in their mind, they’re sort of reactive and they’re low in their legs, but that’s not what they’re doing.

So we need to get that dorsiflexion and it is essential, part of the ingredient. So if you’re having trouble getting in to your good ready stance or really getting deep in your edges, I’d be looking at my ankle dorsiflexion, so you can kind of get there and in a better position.

You can also try, and maybe try if you just go to Stick and Puck or something, not tying your skates all the way up to the top eyelet. Leaving the first eyelet empty. So that you actually get a little more freedom of motion. I wouldn’t do that before a game if you haven’t done it before, but something you could try. Just if you go to Stick and Puck or for a skate.

So let’s practice some control. I’ll give you three really simple exercises you can do.

The first one is just a single leg closed chain, circumduction. So a really complicated name for a super simple exercise.

So I’m going to stand on my one foot and I’m going to trace, kind of as big of a circle as I can, really it almost feels like I’m tracing that circle with my knee. What I’m trying to do is get as much dorsiflexion as possible (the front), as much inversion as possible (the inside) and as much eversion as possible (the outside).

It’s also going to work my balance a bit. And my control at my hip. I want to keep that foot flat, so that I’m just working at my ankle. And you’ll do kind of three slowly one way, three slowly the other way. And then switch legs.

The second one, and some coaches don’t like this because they think, “oh my God, you’re going to sprain your ankle doing that”.

Well you guys are out on ice, with skates and pads and sliding in to posts and you’re kind of at a risky position anyway. It’s really simple. You’re just going to do a little hop on one foot, 90 degrees. Boom, back 90 degrees. Boom 90 degrees. Back 90 degrees.

That’s all.

So again, if you haven’t hopped since high school, okay, maybe leave this one out to start with, but really you shouldn’t be spraining your ankle, just do a nice little hop and stick. And make sure you stick that balance. So don’t hop again until you’ve got that perfect point of balance.

The last one I’m going to show you comes from this FRC, this functional range conditioning that I include in a lot of the programs. And it’s a lift off. This one, you’ll look at and you’ll be like, “Well, that’s stupid.” Or you’ll do it and you’ll be like, “That doesn’t feel like anything.” And you’ll disregard it.

Of all the drills I show you today, this is probably the most important one. To help you sort of get that dorsiflexion and get deep in your ankles.

So what you’re going to do, is you’re going to start by getting as deep in your ankle as you can on one foot and the other knee kneeling beside it.

So I’m going as far forward as I can without my heel lifting up. And then I’m going to push my foot in to the floor. I’m trying to push my foot, almost like I’m trying to hit the gas in the car. So I’ll push my foot in for 15 to 30 seconds. Now what I’m doing is I’m turning on the muscles in the front of my shin like I’m trying to lift my foot up off the floor. I’m going to turn that on as hard as I can and now I’m going to slowly rock back until my forefoot just comes off the floor. And I’m going to hold that, really working these muscles for about 15 seconds, and then I’ll come down.

Oh, and I’m getting a hip cramp even, because I’m trying so hard.

So watch when you’re going to start rocking back. Watch the difference in the angle from the time you start to rock back to when your forefoot actually comes off the floor.

When I do it and I’m rocking back, rocking back, it comes off the floor. So that means, in this range, it was about this much range. I had the range of motion, but I don’t have the muscular control in that initiation. So that’s one of the things that we’re really working on.

Again, it seems like well that’s so ridiculous. But I want to almost be able to pull myself into my edges and be strong in that position.

So also when we improve our dorsiflexion, it can help us be a little more comfortable in RVH sometimes. But, you got to know your steering. You’ve got to get intimate with your ankles. Don’t just tie them up in that boot and leave them there and think the skate’s going to do all the work. You’ve got to teach them how to work.

So there’s an advanced mobility stuff for your ankle. If you want other advanced mobility drills, it’s You can check it out. See you.