How to Structure

a Goaltending Development Program : Part 2

I’ve talked about how I structured the goalie training ice time with the organization in the Part 1.

Next is to reveal how I structure the actual training contents.

4 Week Cycle

 Just like anything else, we need to have pre-organized plans to call it a “program”.
I do not work on 5-hole shots just because the coaches or parents told me their goalie gave up two 5-hole goals in the last game.

Planning the training by reviewing the game performances or scouting the opponents might be more important in higher level. However, at the youth level, we must focus on the big picture of the goalie development and follow “the program” throughout the season.

I usually brake down my goaltending structure into 4-5 subjects in order to make 4-5 days camps so I keep the format and create the “4 Week Cycle” as below. 

  • Week 1 Subject : Basic Saves

  • Week 2 Subject : Rebound and Lateral Movement

  • Week 3 Subject : Short Plays and Behind the Net

  • Week 4 Subject : Screen Shots and Puck Handling

Every week we work on the subject as listed and we come back to the same subject after completing Week 1-4. This way we can repeat each subject 5 times in 20 weeks of skills sessions. Weekly practice visits would basically follow the same subject as skills sessions but I can customize the drills according to goalies’ personal needs as I work with only two goalies at a time there.

Week 1 Subject : Basic Saves

Basic Saves means goalies work on specific saving skills that might come with simple skating patterns. In most drills, goalies know where the shooter is aiming at so they need to execute the saves in proper ways all the time. You know it’s glove so you must catch it clean!

Example 1

Example 2

Week 2 Subject : Rebound and Lateral Movement

This week is about how to control the rebound and how to play with the rebound if you have to give it up. Also work on lateral movements before and after the shot which is critical in today’s game.

Example 1

Example 2

Week 3 Subject : Short Plays and Behind the Net

Deflection, pass across, pass in front, deking and all kinds of net front plays that make 52% of all the goals in NHL. Also covers proper use of RVH against the plays around the post like wraparound and walkout.

Example 1

Example 2

Week 4 Subject : Screen Shots and Puck Handling

Obviously the toughest subjects for youth goalies. I often skipped these subjects or made them the simplest and easiest for 10U goalies. 12U goalies can do them well as long as we keep the drills simple enough. 14U and up should work on these subjects regularly not only in goalie sessions but also in their team drills.

Example 1

Example 2

General Subject : Skating

Wait, what about all the skating skills that build the foundation of goaltending? Of course, I’ve got you covered by the warm up routines in both Skills Sessions and Practice Visits. I keep basic skating drills format as similar as possible throughout the year but add the intensity and difficulties gradually.

Example 1

Example 2

20 Weekly Topics

Repeating 4 Week Cycle doesn’t mean you would repeat the same drills every four weeks. I keep the subject such as “Basic Saves” but I focus on different topics within the subject in every new cycle like “Basic Saves with Box Control”, “5-Hole Special” or “High Shots Special”. This way we can cover various aspects of the game and also increasing the difficulties of the drills every cycle. Here are all the topics we covered in 2018-19 season. 

Cycle 1

Week 1: Basic Saves Fundamentals

Week 2: Following and Freezing the Rebounds Fundamental

Week 3: Behind the Net Fundamental

Week 4: Screen Shots Fundamental

Cycle 2

Week 1: Basic Saves with Box Control

Week 2: Side Rebounds

Week 3: Deking

Week 4: Screen Shots and Handling Loose Puck

Cycle 3

Week 1: 5-Hole Special

Week 2: Short Rebounds

Week 3: Pass Across & Pass In Front

Week 4: Stick Handling Special 1

Cycle 4

Week 1: Inside Edgeworks and Basic Saves

Week 2: Long Rebound with Pass/Shot Options

Week 3: Reading the Stick on Shots and Toes on Deking

Week 4: Stick Handling Behind the Net

Cycle 5

Week 1: High Shots Special

Week 2: Side Rebounds with Rebound Board

Week 3: Wrap Around / Walk Out and Blocker Saves

Week 4: Stick Handling Special 2

Age/Skills Specific Customization

I have goalies from 6 years old to 18 years old so obviously I need to customize the drills according to their age/skills levels even they follow the same topics. Younger goalies start from simplest drills with minimum movements and shooting options (like low shots only) or many times they just work on the skating part of the topics without any shots.

The training structure and contents have been received very well from the goalies and parents. My goalies have made great progresses after six months. I am looking forward to continue evolving the development program in coming seasons and see how far my goalies can go.

Thank you for reading!

Back to Part 1

For more information and instruction, contact;
Hiroki Wakabayashi