Goalies Need To Be The Right Kind Of Strong


NOTE: I posted this originally last week and then I got a comment from one of my mentors Coach Mike Boyle (he just won a World Series championship as strength coach of the Red Sox by the way) and it made my jaw drop.

Mike gave me a spank (in the very nicest way), but did say that my article would set goalie training back 30-years – um OUCH!  Well, that hurt, since helping goalies is my passion.

I re-read the post and also realized that some of you do not read the articles, you read the headlines and that could give you the wrong message.

If you read the article I tell you that once you can single leg squat your body + your bodyweight then you can shift your focus more to speed and less to strength.  That does not mean you stop strength training.

But I can see how the message may have been lost and that as Mike said some people may just read ‘Maria say I don’t need to be strong’.  So here is a slightly revised version…thanks Mike 🙂


Hope you had a great weekend!  I spent 18-hours this weekend doing the Postural Restoration Institute’s Myokinematic Restoration course in Windsor, ON.  It was awesome, but my head still feels like it may explode from all of the info I learned.  This course will dramatically change the way I train athletes and in particular the way I deal with hockey goalies, so stay tuned for some earth-shattering stuff.

Right now I need to digest it a little more, but once I get it boiled down a little, I promise to share it.  On to today’s musings on all the goalie injuries in the NHL so far…

Tough Week For Goalies?

Anyone else noticed how many NHL goalies are out with injuries so far this season?  Ward, Khudobin, Rinne (infection really), Thomas, Harding, Lehtonen, Lundqvist – – and I am sure I am missing a few others – feels like I am missing a big one, but you get the idea.

There can be lots of reasons why any player gets injured and I do believe that some injuries are unavoidable and a part of the game (unfortunately).  BUT, I also would love to learn more about the off-ice training that these guys do.  It could have nothing to do with their injuries, but I bet you in at least 30-40% of the cases, it does.

So, let’s see how you can reduce your risk by avoiding one of the two most common causes.  Once cause is that you are not strong enough in your end range of motion, so as a goalie you have lots of flexibility, in fact you pride yourself on it, but you do not spend time doing any specific strengthening in that end range.

Too Flexible…

What this means is that when you have to pull out that extreme range of motion to make the dramatic (out of position) kicksave – T’OING is the sound coming from your adductors (groins) at the other end of that movement!  Ouch.

Too Strong In The Wrong Way…

But this is what I really want to talk about today.  As strength and conditioning coaches, we have more tools than ever before at our disposal.  We have techniques that really work, so we can make athletes strong, really strong.

And we get excited when we make people strong – ‘Wow! Look how strong I can make this person! I must be awesome!  Let’s see how much stronger we can make him or her!’

A Porsche With A Semi-Engine?

I see goalies as half sprinter (like 200m sprinters) and half dancers – You need to be explosive, you need to be able to hold that explosiveness for an extended period of time (during a PK), but you need to be supple and mobile.

You cannot train like a strong man who is perfectly equipped to pick up and put down heavy stuff.  You need to be a strongman ballerina – wow what a visual 🙂

That is not to say you don’t need to be strong, you absolutely need to strong, strong, strong, BUT you need to be strong like a hockey goalie.

You are a nimble Porsche – with the right amount of torque and horsepower under the hood.

So What To Do…

Do not just build strength for the sake of building strength (and don’t let your trainer have you do that either).  Get strong enough, preferably using single leg and split stance work more than neutral stance exercises.

If you are getting strong in your legs by using the leg press, STOP RIGHT NOW and never, ever use it again.

Once you have developed a good foundation of strength – if you can single leg squat your bodyweight (using DBs and a weight vest if necessary), then in my opinion, you have all the strength you need (by the way, that is extremely tough – most of you are no where near that) – then the focus needs to shift to your speed and power production.

Please do not go out after reading this article and try to single leg squat your bodyweight.  Work up to it.  Also to clarify, I don’t mean a bodyweight single leg squat, I mean you can single leg squat holding a weight equivalent to your bodyweight.  So, I weigh 130lbs, so if I can do 3-4 reps on each leg holding a 65lbs DB in each hand that is single leg squatting my bodyweight.  Make sense.

If you are not sure how to do a single leg squat then check out the video below, or click on this link >> http://youtu.be/T6v337iFKPE

Wishing you much awesomeness today!

Get the right dose of strength, speed and flexibility HERE.