When it comes to hockey, the goalkeeper is one of the most essential players in the team. One mistake and it could prove too costly for the entire team. As such, there are best hockey goalie tips that he/she needs to equip themselves with. One important save can be what is needed to guarantee victory in a tight game.
The goalkeeping position is highly respected because the holder must not only undertake physical conditioning but also mental preparedness is required. If you believe you are well suited for it then read this and learn the essential tips for success.
One of the things you will realize is a hockey goalie needs adequate protection. The basic gadgets are a helmet, mouth guard, leg guards, kickers, chest protector and a goalie stick. However, there are many equipment options to choose from and you might need some advice from a professional or do research to help you get the best gadget for you. The equipment might seem to be too much for just a sport. Nonetheless, it is a good thing since you need to protect your body from injuries that may occur during the game.
You have heard practice makes perfect, right? Well, it also applies here. Just like the outfield players, the goalkeeper needs to train regularly to sharpen his/her skills in the game. This helps by making you more confident in your capabilities before a big game. Practice may involve having players or a coach hit balls at you directly and fast. This aids in the development of the goalie’s reflexes as well as quickening his/her reaction time. It also helps the goalie to identify some of his/her areas of weakness and act on improving them.
Angles are essentially the most important aspect when playing as a goalie. It involves having knowledge of where to position oneself in relation to the ball and the goal at all times. Every goalkeeper needs to work on developing this skill before moving to the other skills of goaltending. You need to be at positions that enable you to prevent the ball from heading into the goal cage. You thus need to be within an angle between the ball and the posts where the ball cannot pass you. This skill will need time to develop and therefore you need to keep focused in order to perfect it. Another aspect of angles to learn arises when passing the ball to an outfield player. The goalkeeper needs to work on this, as passing the ball to an opponent, be it accidentally, may be costly.
Kicking is a very useful way of getting the ball out of the shooting circle. As such, the goalie needs to ensure that he/she does it hard and accurately. Unless the shot is hit directly at your knee height, it is advisable to use the instep kick technique this involves clearing the ball first time without stopping it. This greatly simplifies the job of the goalie. However, the goalie needs to time his/her kick in order to avoid missing the ball altogether. In addition, kick the ball with the kicking leg not too far from your body. This will help in keeping the ball on the ground.
Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of playing as a goalie. Being a goalie needs some high level of flexibility to make quick movements in front of goal. Kicking, diving, and sliding are just but some of the moves a goalie is called upon to do. If the body is not in the right shape then a move may lead to serious injury to the goalie. Hence, the goalie needs to make sure he/she stays loose by stretching before and after practice and during game breaks.
In as much as it sounds obvious, tension may come when facing an opponent ready to nail the ball. It is important that you keep calm and keep your focus on the ball. You will be surprised how many you react aptly to and end up saving. Many players try to disguise their moves, especially on the corners. If you tense or try predicting you may end up fooled by players body movement. Try staying relaxed and stare at the ball until they release it before you react.
As a goalie, communicating with your defense is required. You will thus need to learn and recognize the defensive techniques and strategies. You will need to communicate to your teammates and tell them what to do. From zone to man-to-man marking or even getting them to clear your view in case they are blocking it. You will mostly be telling them the players to mark, and even advising on their positioning during the game.
Therefore, as you prepare to get in front of goal I hope these best hockey goalie tips will come in handy. As you grow into the game, you will develop more skills and even gain greater confidence in your abilities. The first days may not be pretty and a flurry of balls may get past you but do not worry. Be brave and work on stopping the ball and you will be on the path to greatness.