It’s Not The Same

How many of you work on your hand-eye coordination?  Hands up!

Okay, put your hands down – for those of you who didn’t put up your hand, what’s the deal?  Go get two tennis balls from the front hall closet (I don’t know why they are there, someone just put them there – probably you) and start working on your single hand juggling now.

The rest of you can keep reading…

Now, how many of you find that you still get beaten glove or blocker side?

Yeah, I thought so. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you are not improving your dexterity.  This is just another example of how complex and challenging being a hockey goalie is.

Let me explain it this way…

I grew up in London, Ontario.  I have lived here for the better part of 45 years.  I have been driving a car here since I was sixteen.

The first Friday night I got to take the ol’ Mountain Family Truckster out with my friends, I made the mistake of turning RIGHT onto Fanshawe Park Road after dropping off my friend Butters (you guessed it – home was LEFT).

So I drove and drove and drove past unfamiliar territory with the tunes cranked (most likely some Milli Vanilli – – ‘blame it on the rain, yeah, yeah….).  I did not recognize that it was unfamiliar because I had never been to that part of the city before.

I only realized I had gone the wrong way when I got to the big sign that said “Road Ends 500m”…gulp!

So for me that meant I was late for curfew – for you that means a puck in the back of your net.

Do you see what I am saying – you can make your brain familiar with certain movements.  I was a competent driver and around my neighbourhood and regular haunts, I knew exactly where I was going.

But to this day if you asked me to pick you up at a house I had never visited, I would have to use some navigation, look at little closer at the street signs and slowly drive up your street to find the right house.

This is what happens on the ice – it relates back to the article on how to play like Jonathan Quick – as a young player you are just trying to get your glove in the right area and you improve every week.

Then you move up a level and the players are quicker, sneakier and have a harder shot.  So you are getting your glove in the area, but having trouble finding the correct street right away – but it gets better.

So when people ask how they can play more like Jonathan Quick one of the answers is ‘learn every street and every house in your city’.

Any pro goalie’s brain is like a road map of shots, situations and outcomes.  So when a shooter deaks right then backhands top shelf a pro has been there hundreds of times.  He can not only find the right street, but screech to a halt in the exact right driveway.

So how do you do this?

Exact same way you get to Carnegie Hall…practice, practice, practice.

Learning to juggle is like learning to drive.  It is a valuable skill, but you need to see shots – lots of them to develop your road maps.

So if you got cut from the top tier team this season (where you would have spent most of your game time on the bench), be happy and grateful for the opportunity to get into games, see lots of rubber and become a better player.



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