Providing Essential Goaltending Information For Coaches and Parents
 
 
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Quotes from Interviews

Following are some incredibly powerful quotes and words of wisdom, taken from the many interviews I have conducted for the book Target Practice 8 Mistakes That Ruin A Love Of The Game.

Please take some time and read through them, there are some real nuggets here.

Michael A. Charbon:
Executive Producer /Live Producer, MAC Productions Inc. Gemini Award, Best Sports Program or Series, Executive Producer/Co-Founder: National Women’s Hockey League, Live Hockey Executive Producer: TSN, Sportsnet, CBC, Hockey Canada, CHL, NWHL.

  • Parents always bitch about the defence, the whole team works together, not one player, they don’t want to make their kid the scapegoat, but they don’t want to make it their problem and look for someone else to blame, which doesn’t help anyone
  • As a coach, I would have loved more programs. I wanted to learn, to take one kernel of information and be able to grow a whole field of results. Tangible tools that could be taken away, imprinted and downloaded to the players and goalies.
  • European players have have a level of respect for their coaches that sometime exceeds what we have here, in North America parents sometimes empower their kids to object more then to listen.
  • Hockey is not a sport that is run democratically, hockey is a sport that is based on a team effort with multiple people, playing multiple positions that are responsible for their own area and to execute what they are taught. Part of this is discipline, part is putting yourself in the hands of people who understand what is going on and see the bigger picture. Sometimes it’s about respect and doing as told.
  • Coaches take so much time showing drills to players on the whiteboard, but you never see a coach showing the goaltender how plays develop, how scoring opportunities are created and the geometry of situations, giving them perspective.
  • You have to always support your goalie. There must be ultimate respect for your goalie, regardless of if you win or lose the game. Your goalie is your team identity, your goalie is your net, your net is your team, he is in front of your net and the team is in front of him. Regardless of if you win, lose or tie, your goalie always needs to get support, your goalie always needs a tap on the pads, your goalie always needs to get water and you vehemently defend your goalie, your goalie is the face of your team, he is defending your goal. He gets the most respect, without exception! It doesn’t matter if you are the captain or the leading scorer, it doesn’t matter because you are scoring against someone else's goalie! That kind of respect makes your goalie puff up and play that much better. It doesn’t matter if they are the best or the worst goalie, you have to puff them up respect them. Your goalie must have the respect of everyone on or associated to the team.

Christy Abel:
ATC, CSCS, Founder 3ActSlide

  • Practicing with bad habits, just reinforces the bad habits.
  • Work on the motion first, develop the muscle memory and get the technique perfected, first, so you put the athlete in a position for success and then keep extending and pushing the limit
  • Having an athlete excited about their training and making it fun is like tricking them into loving their workout and it makes the job so much easier

Chad Cavanaugh:
Hockey Director at Canadian Hockey Enterprises

  • The teaching part of the game is humongous, you can’t really fool anyone anymore, you can’t just take shots, the more you teach, connect and correct, the more positive the result. Negative coaches simply get tuned out.
  • Coaches can’t turn a blind eye to fundamental mistakes, you have to understand and continually correct, they have to understand the core skills and values to make these corrections.
  • Too many coaches are teaching different things, it needs to be more consistent, give the kids the essential core skills and let them develop and progress
  • Coaches at every level from pro to HL should understand those essential core skills and the result will be much improved and consistent coaching. Coaches must know how to teach and understand proper progression
  • When the goalie is having fun, learning comes much easier. When its not fun any more, they lose the heart and sole to work harder. A positive learning environment encourages hard work, makes the coaches job a lot easier and produces the best possible results.

Charles Fitzsimmonds:
Ph. D, Founder & Mental Coach at Eclipse Performance

  • The success stories I hear after working with a client and better than being paid.
    Hearing them, every piece of you feels good and there is nothing more rewarding
  • About 1/3 of my clients are goaltenders, and I deal with all sports. They face a unique set of challenges and are judged differently than players. It’s a team game, but the first thing you see on the goalies stats are WINS and LOSSES and this isn’t truly how to judge performance.
  • Goaltenders have unique opportunities to deal with greater challenges. The biggest challenge in all of sports is dealing with the unknown or the uncontrollable. They need to focus on the right thing. Which is what they can control and help them perform their best in a proactive sense and to cope in the moment to the challenges. Being able to recover from a goal is the most common challenge and the goalies who are able to recover and refocus best will have the longest careers.
  • There are more unnecessary external pressures placed on a goaltender then there should be. This dramatically affects performance and confidence. These external forces reinforce internal challenges and when coming from a coach or parent can dramatically enhance the internal pressures self imposed by the goalie
  • There is an innate ability required to be a goaltender, almost narcissistic. You have to want to be ‘go to person,’ to want the attention. You want the goalie to have this natural tendency - to want the glory and to understand that of they fail, the answer is to work harder and find the solution.
  • Just because you know what you don’t want to do, doesn’t mean you know what you are trying to do and the more you think about what you don’t want to do, the more you actually do it. We are a lot more productive and effective when we are focused on the things we want to do and the things we do well.
  • To be a successful athlete, you also need to be a successful person outside of sport. What I mean is, the most successful athletes take the positive side of their experiences in sport along with the lessons they've learned from challenges they've overcome to become well rounded people with a grounded sense of self-confidence.Unfortunately, negative experiences in sport can just as easily undermine confidence in life. 
  • When athletes lose their love of the game because of external sources and don’t even want to play for fun anymore, it's sad. The more we can help coaches to understand the minds of young athletes, the lasting impact and lifelong patterns they are imparting, the better we will be at developing people because that should be the true goal of a coach.
  • Goaltenders cannot control if they win or lose. They can only control how they play, how they protect themselves against negativity, and how they respond to challenges. At the end of the day, it is not about what happens to you but about how you respond!
  • Happier Athletes work harder, learn faster and perform better.
  • Coaches are an authority figure and can build confidence, to build it the goalie must draw from past experiences and reinforcements, etc. but if all the goalie hears is negative, it becomes impossible to remain confident. Coaches either instill confidence or erode confidence.
  • Acknowledge progress, build on mastering your craft, it is not about winning, it is about the process. It is possible to find positives even in the worst performances.
  • Building competition into training is good because the game itself is a competition, but learn from every situation.
  • Rewarding performance is acceptable, IF it is an internal reward or reinforces the effort and accomplishment. Monetary rewards send the wrong message.

Larry Feist:
Publisher Hockey Now Magazine

  • Hockey must be fun, this encourages participation, brings new players into the game and encourages them to stay in it
  • Both positively and negatively, the biggest influence and most impactful people withinchildren's lives, aside from parents, is often their coach. 
  • Providing coaches with the skills to properly work with their goaltenders is awesome and perfect. I cannot imagine a single coach not jumping at the chance to take advantage of such an opportunity, especially at the grass roots level.

John Garrett:
Former NHL Goaltender, Hockey Night In Canada Broadcaster

  • The sad part today is that all the elite goalies are all 6’2” and bigger, but not many have that chance to play in the NHL and until you get to that level,, there is still room for the smaller goalie.
  • Goaltending is at the bottom of the list for many coaches, it’s pretty hard to maintain your sanity with some of the practices. Not many coaches have played the position and if you haven’t it’s pretty hard to understand what the goalies need.
  • Most parents are very eager and their expectations are usually a little higher then they should be, but they have to be realistic. If they look at objectively, they can certainly play the game and enjoy it, but they need to be realistic.
  • A lot of organizations now have a goalie coach or dedicated coach who works with the entire organizations goaltenders, and monitor the practice plans and drills and then they are able to progress accordingly with proper direction.
  • A lot of coaches aren't that eager to work with the goalie at all, and if their goalie is decent, they really aren’t eager. Of course when it starts to go South they immediately start looking for help. They should be working to refine the goalies craft throughout the season. 
  • As a kid, you watch and pick goalies similar to your size. Watch their style and learn from what they do. It helps to watch and emulate goalies of similar stature.
  • In pro everybody is really good, it's the mental part that makes the biggest difference. It is the most overlooked area, but it is often the difference. Goaltending is so complex.The technical and physical part are well and good, but as you get older and better the mental part becomes more and more important.

Justin Goldman:
Founder, The Goalie Guild, Director of Operations, Network Goaltending, Published Author

  • Few goalies get the opportunity to sit down and talk to someone about the mental and emotional pressures that deal with not only athletic but personal development, when you can open up their eyes and manage these stages, through a thicker skin it makes a world of difference to their overall game
  • Be receptive to different ideas: There are many ways to stop the puck, it’s about finding what works best for you
  • Having 4 or 5 goalie coaches isn’t uncommon in North America. coachability is an attitude that every coach is looking for, it isn’t just about processing information and a willingness to be a good listener, learn and be adaptable.
  • One of the most important traits a goalie can have is accepting failure.You have to fail to learn new techniques. Creativity is becoming a lost art. Often when goalies do something wrong, they feel there is something wrong with themselves.
  • You have to find a way to learn on your own, be creative, find ways, do it on your own, manage your own game.
  • When approaching the governing bodies about initiating change, InitiallyI didn’t run into resistance...I ran into a brick wall due to a lack of resources. The European system seemed to do a much better job of providing young goaltenders with a number of resources on the basics and fundamentals, and that helped them develop properly. From there, they were able to create their own identity on top of that solid foundation, and I believe this is how you breed more successful young goaltenders in North America.
  • One of the most important traits a goalie can have is the ability to accept failure.You have to fail in order to learn and master new techniques, but our fear of failure is a big reason why Creativity is becoming a lost art in goaltending. Unfortunately, when young goalies do something wrong, they feel like there is something wrong with themselves, and that's simply not the case. So it is up to the coaches and parents to create an environment where failure and mistakes are accepted, brushed aside, and used as learning experiences for future success.
  • Few young goalies get the opportunity to sit down and talk to someone about the mental and emotional pressures that they deal with not only athletically, but in their own personal lives. So when you can open up their eyes and help them learn how to self-manage some of these stages, your goalies develop a thicker skin, and makes a world of difference to their overall game and development.
  • There are a lot of goalies who process information like robots, Creativity must be encouraged not only for the purpose of hockey but in life. Create a positive environment, both on and off ice.

Rick Heinz:
Former NHL Goaltender

  • Don’t cheat the goalies! If you are a coach, when you see a kid who gets it and has a big smile, that’s what it’s all about, it’s GOLD. If you are a coach, that should be why you are in it.
  • When kids can’t relate to you, you lose that connection and it doesn’t work.
  • Goalies can’t stop learning, skill isn’t being taught enough, its becoming too much about big guys dropping and blocking, but goalies need to read plays, use intuition, understand spatial requirements, have athleticism and creativity and just do what it takes. They can’t be robots, they need to use all the tools in the toolbox.
  • Goalies can take something from everybody, adopt what works for them and develop their own style, be creative. You can’t be someone else.
  • Speaking of his own minor hockey coach from 40 years ago:
    Many pro’s will tell you their best and most fun years in the game were in minor hockey. This happens when coaches know the game, care and connect. Every kid should have the opportunity to have a coach like this, it stays with players for life.
  • Never tell a kid he can’t do it, don’t destroy their confidence. If they have passion and work ethic, they can achieve anything with the right coaching.
  • You don’t have to do everything you are shown, but try it, learn it, give it a chance, if it works do it, keep it if not, don’t use it.
  • Pseudo goalie coaches can take on roles they understand and be very useful, if they are tempered and focus their eagerness toward activities they understand.
  • If you have passion, you will find ways to improve on your own, you can do it on your own, do the research, do the work, wind ways to become a better athlete, a better goaltender and a better person, go out of your comfort zone to make yourself better.
  • Chris provides what is missing from coaching programs and this is why this book is so important. Much of the information that is out there is too technical and unless you play the position it’s difficult to understand, so misinformation is given to the kids by minor hockey coaches who try to tell the goalies how they think the position should be played.
  • Shooting bullets at a 9 year old is ridiculous, don’t try to score, remember who you are there for, challenge the goalie, work on timing at their level, but build confidence.

Colin Hopper:
President Source For Sports London, Past President Sports Distributors of Canada

  • In 40+ years, there is no category in our store that has changed as much as goalie, goaltenders in the past were pathetic compared to today. Nothing in any other sport has progressed like goaltending technique and the gear
  • Parents of goaltenders are on an island, much the way their child is. They have to make sure their goalie is happy, and well protected not just terms of the gear, but their psyche has to be protected too
  • The system may have failed goaltenders because just like anyone else they need confidence to play at a high level and if they are constantly being knocked down, in many cases just because people want to blame someone, it is really tough on them.
  • How a coach brings his point across is so important. Words of a coach, often, stay with players for life, positively and often negatively.
  • A well intentioned coach who knows nothing about goaltending, may doom the child for failure. I feel sorry for those kids who are coached by good players who think they know goaltending because they can play the game.
  • Many parents of non goalies, are pseudo goalie coaches, who think they know why goals are scored and blame the goalie when it is a team game.

Dan Kerluke:
Founder and CEO of Double Blue Sports Analytics

  • Regarding analytics in goaltending, the technology is new and expanding but we simply want to visualize simple things that we know are important and meaningful and allow the coaches them take action on it.
  • Goalies need to watch themselves play, they need to work on technique with a goalie coach, but that needs to be balanced with situational analysis and seeing how they managing the play, goalies generally do not watch themselves play, but to make corrections they need to understand how they make decisions and analyze in game plays. The Double Blue platform, makes this easy for any goaltender to accomplish this.
  • Most of the strategy around the game is towards the forwards and defence, yet goalies are hung out to dry. They are expected to help the team win and while no one says it out loud, if the team wins ‘great’, but if the team loses, its the goalies fault.
  • Lets give them a tool and technology so they can get meaningful analysis after they play and share this information with their coaches, without this they are essentially working blindfolded. With this tool the ability to improve goaltending as a whole will be significant and goaltending can reach a new level.
  • Give the most important person on the ice, who’s always under the most amount of pressure, never gets enough developmental practice during the season, lets give them a tool to help them improve - Double Blue is this tool
  • Goaltending is a unique science, it’s cerebral, a game of millimeters really, every goalie is different and there is no cookie cutter way to teach, without the proper knowledge, it’s dangerous and very easy to be teaching the wrong things. We aren’t doing a good job of helping the minor hockey coaches know what and how to teach. There is enough pressure without giving these young goalies bad advice.
  • As a coach you need to spend at least 1/3 of your practices working around the goalie on drills that simulate the game experience. Not enough coaches think about crafting great drills that benefit the entire team. The instructional component must however be validated and based on knowledge of the fundamentals.
  • Our goal at Double Blue is to make the technology accessible to minor hockey, to make it affordable and meaningful to help goalies at the grass roots level with a tool that is easy to use.

Allen Kool:
Founder Q5X. innovator & manufacturer of wireless technology for the Sports industry. (NHL,NBA, MLB, MLS) etc.

  • My experience is that goalies receive little to no training or support on most teams. They are basically targets out there who get yelled at when they don’t stop the puck.
  • If your child wants to be a goalie you have to do it all yourself, do’t expect help from the coaches or associations. Unlike a player who receives coaching in basic skills such as skating, passing, zone coverage, etc., goalies are given little, or no goalie specific coaching at the team level.
  • Often teams will have a so called ‘goalie coach’ who is almost always the dad of one goalie on the team, or a friend of the family. One child receives far more attention, and both receive instruction that contradicts that of true goalie coaching and does nothing but cause confusion and confidence issues.
  • Old school ‘sink or swim’ methods don’t work anymore for young goalies. Coaches need to develop confidence and respect their goaltenders by, at the very least, providing basic fundamental goalie specific skills and drills.
  • The sport needs more coaches who care about the kids and show an interest in them as people. I found it difficult to find a good coach who wasn’t just looking to make a quick buck. We wanted someone who was caring, nurturing, respectful, but who would also be honest with us.
  • For goalies, it’s like trying to attend university before grade school... Coaches expect them to play well, develop skills and learn the game, but they don’t even provide the basic goaltending skills that are the vital foundation they need to build upon.

Vicki Lanka
Owner of SNB Solutions, Sportsense Odor Eliminator

  • I have seen bacteria in the equipment cause a staff infection that ultimately put a child in the hospital and eventually out of the game forever. Proper gear maintenance and disinfecting is so much more important that people realize. Most products work to eliminate just the smell, Sport Sense actually kills the bacteria that causes infections AND eliminates the smell.
  • I feel sorry for the goalies, they have so much pressure on them, be in external or internal placed on themselves.
  • Coaches need to help the team and parents understand, it’s not all on the goalies shoulders. Goalies don’t get the credit they deserve, their job is so complicated and difficult and they have to work so hard.
  • Goalies need their space and time, they on their own island and sometimes the players and coaches don’t understand.
  • Associations often don’t want to spend the money on a goalie coach when they can bring in a parent or let the coach to do all of it, so the goalies don’t get the right instruction, but shooting a 100 pucks isn’t training.
  • Goalies have to learn the fundamentals first if they don’t they pick up bad habits and then you have to start trying to break them. It seems like this is when some parents look for a goalie coach, but it is so much harder to retrain, it would make so much more sense to have the coaches training properly from the beginning.
  • We lose good goalies because it isn’t as much fun when they aren’t learning properly.
  • Coaches need to encourage goalies and help them achieve, firstly by being able to see a child's potential and then by helping these kids through correct advice and proper direction. An untrained coach will miss these opportunities to help a child.
  • Goalies need to work on the head part of the game, it is very important. Coaches need to work and understand this.

Marco Marciano:
Goalie Coach, Gold Medal Women’s Olympic Hockey, AHL, Creator Goalie Sleeve

  • Sometimes kids are afraid when catching and some even close their eyes, so off ice training is very important to help learn proper technique
  • Its not an excuse when you don’t have a goalie coach, find a way to help your goalies, read books, watch video’s, do some research. We don’t ask you to be perfect, just put in some effort. Coaches instructions are sometimes “just stop pucks”, this is sad.
  • Doing more schools or training, isn’t always the answer. There is pressure, so you can say you did more then the other guy. At the end of the day, it’s pretty sad for the kid. The parent and kids have too much pressure and they need to take some time away from the game to have fun and relax. Its a long and difficult season.
  • Too much time on the ice leads to less motivation and loss of excitement at just being there, plan better, do less, but make it more efficient, with a purpose and a plan.
  • Be responsible and respectful, its not all about being the best goalie, it’s about being the best person. Sometimes the parents make it too easy. The kids need to be ready and accountable for their own preparation. Some parents do too much and make excuses, then the kids don’t appreciate it.
  • Mentally stronger goalies with a good work ethic who make no excuses, just want it more. They are better students and over time will become better goalies then those who might have more talent.
  • Don’t focus only on the ice, make a plan. Parents need to look at the bigger picture and train off ice, look at nutrition and strength too. As goalie get older, this is very important.
  • Painting the helmet when you have a limited budget, is just stupid. Spend your money on training and good development. The mask will not help you play better.
  • If I tell the student 5 or 6 times and they don’t want to listen, it then becomes their problem. As a coach I want to have a positive impact on the kids, but so many kids today have the “fuck you” attitude, you have to find a way to relate to them and communicate honestly, but sometimes they simply don’t want to hear it and it’s time to move on.
  • Often parents don’t understand why things are done. Sometimes there are reasons not obvious to those outside and lessons are being taught. Life isn’t always easy but if the reasons decisions are made, then communicated and accountability explained, the goalies are usually ok with receiving shit. These are learning experiences and lessons for life.
  • Bring passion, bring energy, but remember they are kids and will make mistakes, we all make mistakes. Communicate and explain your expectations to the kids and the parents Sometimes as coaches, we forget this.
  • Minor hockey coaches and parents need to work together, not against each other. Communication is so important. Parents need to know why you do things, they need to know it is to help their children get better, be better prepared and be better people.

Wayne Maxner:
Former NHL Head Coach & Player

  • Goalies have to be the best skaters on your team in terms of balance and specific goaltender skating technique
  • People say goalies are loners, they have a mind of their own, but thats not true, they are human beings too, they want to be acknowledged and spoken to like anybody else
  • if you have 20 goalies in camp, thats 20 different personalities and 20 different styles all to be considered
  • I’ve seen it for years, goalies are left alone, nobody talks to them, they are ignored, I’ve felt sorry for them. Goalies just don’t get the attention they need
  • All coaches should be able to properly handle their goaltenders and communicate with them, they are really, the most important people in the rink
  • We have to pick them up, the coaches need to support their goaltender. If a shot is tipped or he can’t see it, I want let my players know we gave them one, I want them to go back give him a tap on the pads and pick him up.
  • Eddie shore used to strap his goalies to the net in practice, that was old time coaching. You have to understand how to properly train them and communicate on their level.

Greg Matthison
Owner London SportsXpress Magazine & Big Game Road Trips

  • Coaches need to focus on realistic developmental expectations.
  • Coaches tend to try and do too much, they often say too much and they don’t really know how to focus on key development avenues
  • Its hard enough trying to develop the fundamentals as a positional player, I cannot imagine trying to develop a goaltender without specific knowledge of the position.
  • Goalies are on a island and they always will be, coaches at least need to develop an understanding of the basics and fundamentals to give them the help they need.

Warren Nye:
Owner Mind Over Sport, Peak Performance Coach, Former GM Jr. B OHA

  • Kids want to touch the puck, be with their friends and 16 to 20 year olds, they loved coming playing and to the rink and enjoyed themselves like they ere when 7 & 8 year old players You get winning teams when they have that look and feel and enthusiasm about coming to the rink
  • I simply don’t see enough coaching of the goalies in minor hockey. There are control freaks who make it up... then you have coaches who delegate and help the goalies, but they are few and far between. It isn’t fair to the goaltenders.
  • I have seen both sides, often pseudo goalie coaches do more damage then good, their heart is in the right place, but the knowledge is lacking and bad habits are developed. This is not going to help. If they just stick to the basics they can be very beneficial.
  • I have seen goalies who didn’t get the proper encouragement and positive reinforcement and as they get older, confidence goes down and it affects their overall play and enjoyment of the game
  • As a non goalie who coaches, I didn’t know what goalies needed, but I was eager to learn, so I asked my goalies what they needed. We don’t see a lot of coaches who do this today. So the goalies become targets in practice. They might not admit it, but this is the thinking of a lot of coaches. Lets give them the help they need.
  • The challenge is the coaches mentality is now all about winning, they feel this is how they are being judged, it needs to be about learning, having fun and enjoyment of the game. If we change this we’ll see a lot more kids stay in the game and enjoy it more. Not everyone is going to be a superstar, its about enjoying the game
  • The message to give goalies is ‘trust yourself, your instincts and your ability, challenge yourself and your abilities’.
  • Car rides home should be fun, too much instruction and analysis takes the fun out of it, its sad.

Eric Niskanen
Inventor Goaltenders BFF (Angle Training Device)

  • Often the goalie parents will sit alone during the games, the goalies are all by themselves as well and both parent and child often don’t even feel like part of the team
  • Every kids psyche is a little different, but if you have a young goaltender that is a little bit vulnerable in their self confidence and you don’t handle it right, you are going to really hurt that child
  • I use what I call a ‘negative sandwich.’ If you are talking to a child, you better talk about 2 positives for every negative comment, then the kids are accepting and they know this is a process and you never reach the end of it.
  • Coaches, often are quite good building up only the very young goalie's psyche.  However, we need to understand and respond by continuing to build up the mature goaltender's psyche, who’s psyche can be more fragile than the very young's.
  • A goaltender coach walks a fine line in terms of regimentation (demanding mechanical compliance)and letting the natural goaltender and unique style of each enter into the equation.

John O’Sullivan
Founder, CEO, Changing The Game Project, Speaker, Author, Coach

  • There are coaches who are so insecure about them self, they surround themselves with other bad coaches and it just makes a bad situation worse. Whereas great leaders are very secure and surround themselves with people who compliment the areas they are weak in and make themselves better.
  • The root of all parent, coach conflict, is communication. I see a lot of coaches failing to communicate their philosophy, their expectations, playing time, etc. There are far too many coaches who say “I’m the coach and I don’t want to hear from you.” By the same token, many parents never communicate with their children and ask; are you having fun, do you agree with your role on the team, etc. Many time the child is fine with their role, but mom or dad is not... and they have never spoken to the child to know their feelings.
  • When players are asked: ‘what is the quality of a great coach?’ The most common response is” ‘They believe in me and respect me.’ So many coaches don’t do this, they disrespect the players and don’t show them, they don’t act like, or say things that show they believe in them. So players don’t perform.
  • 100% of adult coaches, when asked if they still discuss coaches from their youth when they get together with old teammates, reply “Yes” So they should think - what are my players going to say about me when they get together, years from now?
  • Coaching is very hard, its emotional, very public, everything that comes out of our mouth, every action sticks with a kid, or a lifetime. We don’t get to pick and choose what sticks with them and what goes doesn’t. We have to be very professional and very careful about everything that comes out of our mouth.
  • Every team has culture, be it good or bad, yet so many coaches leave their team culture to chance, but if you aren’t intentional about creating and building it, just like you would be in creating a power play or breakout, then
  • You can’t have a good culture with force and fear - trust, love and respect will foster a positive culture where players want to work hard and be part of the group.

Jim Ralph:
Longtime Toronto Maple Leaf broadcaster, entertainer & media personality

  • The game has dramatically changed, but one thing that hasn’t is the core fundamentals of goaltending, they are still balance, edge transfers and squaring up. Coaches at every level must be able to understand and teach this.
  • There are two type of goalies. The one who plays percentages and squares up, playing a blocking game, or the one who want to stop everything and battles for every puck, the goalie who is determined and does anything to stop it. Combine these two and you have a great goalie.
  • The mental side is the most underrated component of the game for goalies. Coaches and parents need to take the time to get to know their goalie and understand when they need to be coddled, left alone or kicked in the ass.
  • The smart thing to do, if you don’t know anything about something, is don’t pretend you do! A lot of coaches don’t understand the position and don’t care to, but try to pretend they do. I don’t understand it.
  • The fear shouldn’t come from your own bench...you can’t have kids looking at the bench (or their parent) after every shot, thinking if this goes in, I’m gone!
  • Communication is do important and as mad as the parent or coach might get at the goalie for letting in a bad goal or having an off night, you have to recognize they might be struggling mentally that night and be careful not to ruin him (or her).

Bob Russell:
Former Edmonton Oiler, WHA, President GMHL

  • Training and proper attention to skills development is one of the biggest concerns for parents and players, quite often in minor hockey this is lacking particularly for the goaltenders
  • Sometimes it’s a little bit political, there might be well liked or popular parent, whose son or daughter is often playing on the higher level team while the better goalie is forced to play down. This is unfair. Kids should be allowed to play where they want and where the situation might not be stacked against them.
  • If the goalie doesn’t have confidence, the puck finds it’s way into he net, if you have confidence the puck just seems to hit them. We must make sure the coaches are positive, thats even more important than what the coach knows, you have to be a positive influence on the kids. As they get older, they accept the corrections better, but it still has to be positive.
  • Gordie Howe once asked me: “Did the boy carry his own bag in - and was he ahead of the parent or was the parent ahead and carrying the bag?” The really good players are independent at an early age and carry their own bags. Let the kid carry his own bag and be behind him/her offering support.

Mike Stubbs:

Professional Broadcaster, Voice of OHL London Knights|

  • If you make something too hard or inconvenient, they’re not going to want to do it, no matter how much they love it.
  • You can never evaluate yourself enough. People get into the mentality of doing things because that is how they have always done it, but you have to evaluate systems and always find ways to improve and be open to new ideas.
  • There are a lot of eyes on the goalie and while people want the best for their children sometimes things get clouded. they need someone to blame and they get caught up in the excitement, forgetting they are kids playing a game.
  • Parents can get caught up trying to make their child into the best possible goalie, but sometimes we need to take the foot off the gas and remember who the game is for. If we did that and interfered a little less, the kids would have a better time.
  • Getting the essential core goaltending skills into the hands of grass roots coaches is perfect, it needs to happen. It is a discipline unlike any other.
  • Minor hockey can be quite political, parents can get involved as (pseudo) goalie coaches, they you give your child an advantage for making that team. You have to be careful, sometimes this happens for the wrong reasons.

Don Straus:

Founder Armadilla Masks, World Renowned Artist

  • The current certification process (for hockey headgear) needs to change. A lot of the products on the market are substandard. To be clear, not substandard by the current certification process, but substandard for the position (goaltending) itself. It’s disappointing to see all the substandard headgear on the market, that is supposedly protecting the most important organ of children and upcoming athletes.
  • It is odd, many within the game consider it almost a badge of honour to spend upward of $2000 every year on the most fashionable set of leg pads, yet feel it obscene to spend more than $150 on a mask. For me personally, I’d tape phone books to my legs and get good head protection, rather then do it the other way around.
  • I hear the stories, and have seen it myself, the lack of goaltending instruction, not necessarily good or bad, a often a complete lack of any instruction. Goalies are so often left to fend for themselves. Be it from a training, skills gathering or coaching aspect. Short of a few instructions yelled or blurted out from across the rink, I have not seen a lot of goaltender specific instruction associated with individual teams.
  • When you sign up to play minor hockey, its often ‘you get what you get’, and be it budget constraints or whatever, maybe there aren’t the proper resources to provide adequate goaltending instruction. Offering each coach the proper instruction and tools to properly work with the goalies is the natural evolution and what must happen.
  • Everyone should lighten up, the game is about the kids and having fun. The psychotic parents, yelling and pressuring the kids is, often embarrassing. You get more with carrot, than with stick.


Bob Unger
Inventor of Goalieband Training Aid for Goalies

  • Every practice should have someone capable and trained to coach the goalies. The other players receive coaching every practice, why not the goalie? They are all paying the same to play, but the goalies are often just standing around.
  • Many organizations bring in goalie coaches for the older ages and higher levels - AAA or AA - but by that time, it’s too late. You want to get to the kids at an earlier age.
  • There are some coaches who are want to do it all themselves and take the glory, these guys need the most help, but they have the me, me attitude. Their only plan is to shoot more pucks at them. This doesn’t make the goalie better, it actually makes them worse.
  • Your most important player needs coaching and guidance, head coaches in general don’t have the knowledge, often they are scared or embarrassed so they ignore the goalies. They have to go and get some knowledge to help these kids.
  • Come playoff time a lot of coaches start to focus on the goalies, but its too late, they need to work with them all year.
  • A tool like Goalieband can work a lot on reaction time, movement drills depth control, screens, etc .but it has many uses for the entire team. it’s something every goalie and team should consider as part of their training.

Mike Vaughn:

CEO of Vaughn Hockey

  • Children are proportioned differently than adults, Making a product fir properly from an engineering standpoint is far more difficult than simply downsizing it.
  • Equipment that isn’t properly fitted is hurting performance and protection
  • People now are wearing their equipment looser, but in reality they should be tightening it up so it allows for better control
  • Give back, it isn’t about money, too often today it is all about big dollars, private goalie coaching and ego. They try to brainwash the kids and parents, it’s not about the kid and making them better.
  • You can’t take a goalie and make them something they aren’t, keep the goalie tuned and work to ensure there aren’t any bad habits, also work hard on the mental aspect, which is so important.
  • The execution of drills is done so poorly. - practice is about repetition, but correct repetition. The quality of drills is so important, they must be done right or it creates bad habits. even a coach who knows nothing about goaltending can help his goaltender and his entire team
  • House league, rec hockey - this is where the kids need the most help.
  • Kids would rather do something wrong than admit they don’t understand what they are being asked to do
  • Structured progressive practices - teach 5 structured things at once, when you try to teach too many things at once the mind can’t hold it all in.
  • A pet peeve of mine is kids sitting on the bench - don’t put a kid in a position of failure. All too often we lose focus, this is a recreational sport for kids that we hope they keep for a lifetime and have fun with.
  • Nobody wants to keep doing something they aren’t having fun at. When you lose the love of the sport, you lose the drive
  • If you are take goalie (for your team) and try to change the way he plays, that is the worst thing you can do. You are picking a goalie because you think he’s good, help him be better at what he is, but don’t try to make him something he isn’t.
  • Drop and block goaltending was short lived and quickly faded away. an athletic style will never be out of style
  • Reducing the shots on goal and controlling the pace of the game is within the ability of every goaltender
  • Long term, a kid being exposed to other sports makes them a better player
  • Parents won’t spend the time with the kids they used to...mom drops them off and goes grocery shopping...parents want a babysitting service, part of the social aspect of the game is being robbed from many kids today. You meet an amazing group of people through hockey...if you participate...a lot of people don’t realize what they are missing because they don’t participate in the sport with their child
  • More leagues should be involved from a recreational basis and not pushing the kids, let them have fun, it doesn’t all have to be about travel and AAA
  • Parents don’t mind spending the money or putting in the time, if they know their kid is going to enjoy it and really like it, but too many kid are dropping out, 1/2 season options would open the sport up for new players and those who just want to have fun. Parents and players mix better and you don’t get the awful rivalries and hatred
  • See with the brain, look with the eyes
  • Find a comfortable stance that works for you, both , your eyes see better when you aren’t bobbing up and down.
  • Your eyes on the puck, your heads in the game, if you track the puck everywhere on the ice you stay ready
  • Coaches don’t need to be goalie specialists, they can improve a goalies save percentage and goals against without ever teaching them to stop a puck better, often it’s just game discipline, which is often overlooked.
  • You can often make a goalie 25% better through proper game discipline and proper equipment sizing

Julie Whelan
Owner of Julie Whelen Photography

  • Goalie parents are much more involved in every part of the game than the parents of other players.
  • Changing the way coaches think about goalies is essential
  • My brother quit the game because he wasn’t receiving proper coaching, yet was pressured because he lacked confidence due to the poor training and being singled out for not doing well and didn’t feel he was part of the team.
  • Its a game. That is often forgotten by coaches who forget that the players are children who neglect the poor goalies who need and deserve attention
  • The mood in the lobby after a game can often be predicted by the play of the goalie, often there is a transcending of the overall mood and feeling for the entire team based on how well the team does based on the goaltenders .