Safe Stretches For Young Goalies

I have a detailed video for you today showing seven stretches for young hockey goalies and I will give that to you in a second, but first, how did your May 2-4 weekend go if you have such a thing?

It is actually Victoria Day – a celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday which was May 24th – but for most of us it is the unofficial start to summer.  For us this year it meant the celebration of Paul’s best friends wedding.  Chris was the best man at our wedding many, many years ago, so clearly his is a little more picky than my boy Paul 🙂

It was a great wedding at a beautiful spot in Toronto, so we forgive Chris and his new bride Sunny for getting married on a long weekend 🙂

How should a young goalie stretch?

You know that I do not recommend my programs for goalies under the age of 14 for various reasons, which I outlined in this article for In Goal Mag – HERE

I wanted to wear this hat year round.

The hat I wanted to wear year round.

For the most part I want them to develop as good little athletes and then decide whether they are going to be a hockey goalie, soccer player or ballet dancer as they get older.  I think developing a broad athletic base is the most important thing you can do for your child’s athletic career as they develop.

I know it is hard for many of you because your 9-year-old loves playing hockey and wants to do it 24/7 but I have some vague memories of being a kid too and I wanted to eat Cap’n Crunch cereal and wear a winter hat (one of those really long ones) every single day – thankfully my parents did not let me do that.

This is a question I got a few weeks ago…

Quick question on stretching for youth goaltenders.  What would you say are the basic and most important stretches that say, mites through peewees, should be getting into the habit of doing post practice.  I have my own synthetic training facility for goaltenders and would like to promote some basic stretching that younger goaltenders can get into the habit of doing after each of the sessions. Looking to only take up about 10-15 minutes of time post training.

I think it is fine for a young goalie to do some stretching on a daily or every-other-day basis.  In fact, when I worked at the sport med clinic most of the kids who came in to see us with sore knees (usually it was sore knees) were typically much improved with some stretching.

So these are the stretches that I would give to a young goalie…

If you can’t see the video in the player above, just click on the link below…

  • Supine Hip Internal Rotation – hold 5 seconds, do 10
  • 3-way Hamstring with a strap – hold 30-seconds each position
  • 1/2 Kneeling Hip Flexor – hold 30 seconds each side
  • Hip Hlexor w foot on wall – hold 30 seconds each side
  • 1/2 Kneeling Groin with neutral back – hold 30 seconds each side
  • Kneeling Lat Stretch – hold 30 seconds each position
  • Active Ankle Dorsiflexion – do 15 each side

The Most Important Thing…

Do not force the stretches.   For more developed athletes, there are some techniques where we generate max tension in the muscle as we stretch it to improve mobility.  I don’t know that this is unsafe for young goalies, but please do not use this technique.  I think a youngster will have a hard time differentiating between a strong muscle stretch and joint pain.

So there will be no over pressure on these stretches – the child will only move to a position of gentle to medium stretch, it should never be uncomfortable or painful for him or her.

There are seven stretches in the list above, I would cut them into half doing three stretches one day and four stretches the next.  One set is sufficient; they do not need to do more.  Part of what you are doing is just trying to establish a habit of looking after their body on a consistent basis, don’t get carried away with it.

Hope that helps – happy stretching.


PS – I am giving you these stretches for your kid because I trust you not to get carried away with it…don’t let me down – ha ha.  If you have a goalie in the house who is between 10-13 years old and keen to get training then you might want to check out THIS PROGRAM I created for young hockey players (goalies and skaters) – that gives them the right foundation.