Goalie Program

Nick-Modica - Arm-BarWhen you think of a Hockey Goalie and the amount of time they spend squatting with the amount of stress being placed on their quads, knees and ankles, it can be overwhelming. Hockey Goalies are an altogether different from both a personality and psychological perspective and should not be trained like regular skaters.

Linemen skate predominantly linear (north to south) with defensemen skating more backwards than their offensive counterparts. Both utilize a crossover step to turn.  Goalies, however, move side to side (post-to-post) and much like a catcher in baseball, go from kneeling (and sometimes sprawling), to standing quickly, requiring massive amounts of core strength. So although there will be many similarities between skaters and goalies in the training program, there are some very distinct differences that can and should be considered when preparing training program for goalies.

Alactic and aerobic conditioning only – The average intervals used for conditioning “skaters” is 0:30-0:45 seconds.  If a goalie is working as hard as they can for 45-seconds consecutively, something has gone horribly wrong. Goalies are best served by focusing on alactic power (the ability to produce power as quickly as possible), and aerobic power (the ability to meet medium power output demands using primarily aerobic energy pathways).

It’s needless to say that goalies can take a beating during the season.  Consequently, we have developed a top-to-bottom strength and conditioning program with an added emphasis on mobility and stability specifically to help these athletes not only recover from the season but also prepare them for the kind of volume they’re going to encounter during the next season.

The program begins with a complete movement Assessment which helps evaluate each individual’s mobility and overall physical performance.  The results are then used in programming to help every goalie correct faulty movement patterns, improve mobility, increase overall strength and help take their game to the next level. Physical imbalances that are not addressed could ultimately result in injury sooner or later during the season.

Goalie 1

The following is a summary of program highlights:

  • Top to Bottom Movement Assessment: To pinpoint strengths as well as opportunities (click here for more info).
  • Soft Tissue Work (foam rolling): Improving soft tissue quality helps reduce trigger points without lengthening the muscle (click here for more info).
  • Ankle Strength and Mobility: This is key to keep the athlete comfortable in a squat position for hours, as well as aiding in getting up off the ice quickly.
  • Hip Strength and Mobility: Hockey players have inherently tight and weak hip flexors. This can dramatically affect, among other things, kicking to block a shot, or explosive side-to-side movement on the ice (please click here for more info).
  • T-spine Mobility: Feeling “tight” up top will quickly translate to lower half instability so limited t-spine mobility can quickly hinder the ability to succeed in the squat position.
  • Shoulder Strength and Stability: Deflecting shots quickly and moving guys out of the crease takes good arm and shoulder strength and stability. Tack on pads and a stick and you’ve got your work cut out for you.
  • Core Strength and Stability: The ability to transfer lower body power through the core to the upper body is needed to go from kneeling and lying to standing quickly (please click here for more info).
  • More Focus on Lateral Movement: Like I said before, goalies move primarily post to post. We work on creating explosive power in the frontal (lateral) plane to help with the specific physical requirements of being a goalie.
  • Increase Single Leg Strength: All sports are unilateral (one leg at a time) hockey is no different. Unilateral strength is crucial for stride and lateral movement.

The RPP Goalie Program is a complete top to bottom off-season protocol for ages 13+. The programs begin in March and end in October just before the start of the new high school season.

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