Almost every goalie on the planet follows some type of a pre-game routine. Whether it’s a day long event, things you do in practice the day before or even lacing up your skates a certain way.
Braden Holtby is no different.
It’s not often, however, that fans are lucky enough to get an all access pass to a goalies pre game process. In this video from the Capitals, Holtby is followed throughout his preparation for the game.
What can we take from Braden Holtby’s Pre Game Routine?
As the video of his routine mentions, this wasn’t something just created overnight. Holtby has been working on developing his process for getting his body ready to play for years.
Let’s break it down by minute.
Obviously, this video leaves a lot out. If you want some ideas about building your own pre game routine we wrote an article on it.
Mitch Korn at the beginning.
“We break goaltending down into three components. The physical part of the game, the mental part of the game, and literally the emotional part of the game. And every one of them is more demanding than almost every other profession on the planet.”
Not one NHL goalie heads into a game unprepared. Each game could be viewed as a new job interview. Goalies need to understand that winning needs to be prepared for. You would never walk into an interview unprepared, so why walk into a game like it.
“You can’t hide anywhere if you’re a goalie” – Braden Holtby
Holtby is not wrong. Everybody knows it when the goalie gets pulled. However, learning to cope with the stress of the chance of this happening is part of a pre game routine. Focusing on things you can control, like how much you prepare and what saves you’ll make is much more productive than focusing on failure.
Taping sticks, two hours before game time.
Clearly, Braden Holtby follows a process during his pre game preparation. Taping his sticks is no different. Whether you tape your sticks prior to each game, or use this time to loosen up, take this time to get your body right before heading on to the ice.
An hour and a half before game time
Holtby gets a stretch in and does some visualization. He’s not overstretching, but rather keeping loose. He comments about “keeping your body in a warmed up state”. Staying loose, especially after long bus rides, is key to on ice performance.
An hour and fourteen minutes before
It’s time for more hand eye. At one point, he’s even catching the ball with his eyes closed. Holtby talks about his routine, saying it’s about “forcing your body into knowing whats happening”.
Forty one minutes before puck drop
Additional hand eye in the hallway with his gear halfway on. Holtby is visualizing the saves he will make on the ice.
On the ice
His on ice warmup is still part of the routine and for games Holtby starts, you can bet it’ll be the same process. Referencing his line from early in the video, prior to and throughout the game you cannot afford to let your body “cool down”. That’s for de-centralizing after the game.
What’s so great about his pre game routine?
Nothing. That it’s his. I can assure you that Braden Holtby does not care your opinion on his pre game warmup and you shouldn’t either.
Superstitious or not, developing a pre game routine can help you come into a game warmer and more confident than before (and it may actually help you stop more pucks).
Learn more about pre game routines for goalies.
Or read more goalie articles.