Training Hockey Players – The Goalie

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CPT, NASM, PES, FMS)

Goalie 1

Let me start by saying this – Goalies should not be trained like 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 quite a few issues specific to the goalie that need to be addressed in an effective program. Here are a few:

1. More Focus on Lateral Movement: Like I said before, goalies move primarily post to post. In this video we work on creating explosive power in the frontal (lateral) plane:

(Band resisted Heidens)

2. 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.

(Band Psoas Activation)

3. 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.

(Tri-Planar Ankle Mob)

4. 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.

(Dynamic Cable Lift)

5. 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:

(Split Stance Landmine Press)

6. Hand/Eye Coordination: Do we really need to explain this?

7. 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.

(Lateral KB Lunge)

Unless you have physically tried to remain in a ¼ squat position for an extended amount of time there is no way to know the amount of stress a goalie’s body goes through. It requires a lot of mobility as well as strength to keep them fast and healthy.  A targeted program can do just that.

Note: It doesn’t matter how hard a training session is, it should address and focus on the specific goals of the sport and athlete.  A good qualified coach should be able to progress, or if you’re working with younger kids regress any exercise to fit any age athlete.