The question of “How do you train to be a goalie?” gets thrown at us a lot. It’s a simple question, with a lifetime long answer following. There are tons of different goalie training styles, techniques, and drills that all help improve a goalie’s on-ice performance.
The team at Goalie Coaches has compiled the ultimate list of on-ice hockey goalie drills. Whether you’re a Squirt looking forward to PeeWees, or a Beer Leaguer keeping the dream alive, we hope you find something to work on in this library. We are consistently adding fresh, new content to this page- so check back if a drill you’re looking for isn’t here.
Another thing that’s important to remember when it comes to creating your own drills: be creative. The next time you’re watching an NHL game, jot down a few scenarios that resulted in either a save or a goal. If the goalie made the save, ask yourself why? Was it his positioning? Chances are, it was. If the goalie was scored on, same question: why? Write down a few of the movements that were made leading up to the save and you’ve got your first movement drill to practice the next time you hit the ice.
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One of the biggest issues during team practices today is the lack of attention on goaltenders. Most coaches, through no fault of their own, focus on areas they know well. Like, setting up the power play.
This means that goaltenders are often left to fend for themselves during “dead” periods of practice. These dead periods during practice are some of the best times for goalies to hone their craft, whether it’s practicing a skating drill or simply working on getting a better RVH.
While so many try to complicate the goaltending position, it’s really quite simple. Goalies, for years, have been creating their own skating drills and learning from simply watching others. This position doesn’t have to be confusing. Watch a few goalie drills, take them to practice and perform them. This will make you a better goalie, period. We believe that if we can inspire drill ideas for goalie parents or team coaches, they’ll be more willing to bring these drills to practice.
We understand that this is a lofty goal, but goalies should be given dedicated training time in addition to the players.
A great line I once read was that of a Junior A Coach in Canada. When questioned on whether or not they needed a goalie coach, his response was along the lines of this. “If I said bringing in a goalie coach meant less goals, and my job depends on allowing less goals, would you still want me to bring in a goalie specific coach?”
Of course, anybody listening to that would answer “yes”. And of course, not every team can afford a goalie specific coach. However, teams can show their coaches 5-10 goalie specific drills that their goalies can work on throughout the season during these dead periods of practice.
And if that doesn’t work, we’ve created an entire goalie drills library designed specifically for team and goalie coaches, goalie parents, and goalies. Download the free goalie app here.
When it comes to on-ice training specifically, goalies should focus on key areas of skill development, like skating and tracking the puck. Additionally, goalies should focus on sub-categories of each of these broad skill sets. For example, a goalie working on developing their skating skills should expand into RVH recoveries, once a sound foundation of skating has been built.
Throughout a goalies career, coaches layer on different techniques, like the VH and RVH to help a goalie better handle situations as they arise in a game.
Improving the butterfly is one of the things most new goalies want to learn when they start out playing goal. We’ve put together a list of drills designed to help you improve your butterfly.
The RVH, or reverse vertical horizontal, is an extremely popular style of play for goalies when playing pucks around the goal nets posts.
Check out our library of RVH Goalie Drills.
As a goalie, movement is the single most important thing you can work on outside of actually stopping the puck. Proper movement increases the odds of making a save dramatically.
We’ve built a library of Goalie Movement Drills, check it out and let us know what you think!
Handling the puck is an increasingly important part of being a goalie. Goalies who can handle the puck well act as a 3rd defenseman, especially in power play situations where the other team clears the puck back into the goalies zone. A good ability to move the puck back onto the attack is critical and goalies can help this by developing their puck handling skills.
View our puck handling drills library.
A goalies skating is the lifeblood of their ability to quickly get themselves in proper position to make the next save. It’s often said that goalies should be the best skater on their team. While it’s a completely different type of skating, skating drills should make up a large chunk of daily practice time.
Take a look at our library of skating drills for goalies.
Understanding situational awareness is critical for goalies. The highest performing goalies have great situational awareness because they’ve practiced for them. There are thousands of ways to practice situational goaltending, here are a few of our favorites.
Ever heard the term “tracking the puck?”.
Tracking the puck really means watching the puck. The next time you hear your favorite TV broadcaster talking about tracking the puck, you can tell your friends it’s just a fancy way of saying “watching the puck”.
Take a look at our library of puck tracking drills for goalies.
As a goalie, proper warmup is very important prior to both practice and game play. Of course, not warming up could increase your odds of injury, something no goalie wants to deal with. We’ve put together some of our favorite warm up goalie drills for you to bring on the ice with you the next time you skate.
Off ice goalie training routines have a direct correlation with on ice success between the pipes. We’ve built a library of off ice goalie drills, as well as off ice goalie training programs that you can follow prior to your next season.
The Sense Arena is a revolutionary training tool for goalies. We wrote an entire Sense Arena Review elsewhere on our website, so we won’t cover details of it here, however if you’re looking for Sense Arena Drills we’ve got an entire library of them.
The internet is full of goalie drills, hockey goalies should use caution when trying everything you see. Come up with a system that works well for you or the goalie you’re training, make sure that the basics are tackled before moving into more advanced goalie drills. You can add variations to just about any drill, adding to or reducing it’s difficulty.
Thinking of developing a list of goalie practice plan pdfs? Whether you’re trying to figure out how to plan a goalie practice or saving lists of drills for your goalies yourself, we’d recommend taking a look at our goalie training app. We’ve got hundreds of drills, pre built practice plans, and the ability to build your own.
In addition to a few of our favorite and most viewed hockey goalie drills that we’ve laid out below, we’ve also organized our drills by category. Check out RVH Drills, Goalie Movement Drills, Puck Handling Drills, Skating drills, Situational goalie drills, puck tracking goalie drills and warm up drills for goalies as well as off ice goalie drills.
We call this the “Rogalski” drill, because it was made famous by Dave Rogalski (current New Jersey Devils Goalie Coach)
This is a 3 step edgework skating drill for goalies that offers multiple progressions for those with more advanced talents.
This is an edgework progression warmup drill for goalies of more advanced levels. In our app, we break this down by age and level of difficulty.
This is a creasework skating drill that will work well for goalies of all ages and skillsets. Work your way up!
One of my personal favorite skating drills for goalies. There are endless options for variations for skating in this series of drills.
In this puckhandling drill for goalies, we’re working with a simple figure eight. Keep your head up as you add variations!
This is a basic warmup skating drill for goalies of every level.
This is an advanced goalie drill that works on projecting the hands and making behind net reads.
This is one of our most popular videos of all time. We’re working on fixing a simple rebound control issue for a young goalie.
This is a 3 shot shooting drill that’s a great short warmup drill for goalies.
In this video we combined 14 different skating drills for goalies.
In this video, we’re demonstrating a handful of different warmup skating drills for goalies.
In this drill, we’re working through a zone read scenario with an advanced goalie. This is a tough drill, start small and grow as you progress!
In this drill, we’re working on zone reads with multiple progressions. As with all of our advanced drills, make sure you start small before adding extra elements.
Good drill for zone play simulation to a back door scoring opportunity. Younger goalies, skip the RVH on the far side. Work on proper rotation to the shot first.