All positions in hockey are important, but goaltending is critical. Championships can be won and lost on goaltending alone. At Dan LaCosta’s Varsity Goaltending we believe that a holistic approach is required to maximize the potential of each goaltending athlete.
Goaltenders are different. They have to be. This is not only a reality for playing the position, it is also the basis for learning life skills far earlier than players in other positions. By recognizing the differences and developing attitudes, skills, techniques, and experiences that reflect the unique nature of the position, we are able to provide holistic support for goaltending athletes looking to excel and develop to their full potential.
Reasons why goaltending is different
- goaltenders see and react to patterns; players play and “fit” within patterns
- goaltenders need to be patient, confident, detail-oriented, and willing to accept constant pressure
- players concentrate for 30-45 seconds at a time and then receive a mental break between shifts; goaltenders must concentrate all the time
- players can “take a shift off” and few observers will notice; goaltenders that take even a few seconds “off”, or lose focus, have a high potential to be scored on
- unlike other players on the ice, goaltenders are the only players that can legally “control the continuation of play” (freeze puck, continue play, pass puck, …)
- goaltending can be a humbling position, unlike any other in sport
The psyche of a goaltender needs to be different
- rewards for goaltenders are different
- the definition of success is different
- their mental makeup needs to be able to handle pressure differently
The best athletes are both mentally and physically fit. Goaltenders must develop to be “fit to purpose”, to meet all the challenges confronting goaltenders in intense situations.
Why we have to train goaltenders differently
- physical fitness activities need to target goaltender movement
- training emphasis needs to be on flexibility, hand-eye coordination, lateral movement, speed, and anticipation are required
- knowledge of game flow and anticipation is heightened vis-a-vis other players
Our development programs, training plans, camps, and personal coaching reflect the philosophy outlined above. Our holistic approach to goaltending can help athletes at any age and skill level to improve.