By Bill Collins
Note: Bill is a goalie on my Blades of Steel team. Recently, he shared some insight on how players can help get their goalie ready for the game -- without injuring them!
Here are a few do's and don'ts for warming up a goalie before your rec league hockey game. Some people, especially in beginner leagues, have not played on teams before, so they might not know how to help their goalie best get ready.
1. Don't shoot unless we're ready. Wait for the goalie to square up to you before you take your shot.
2. Don't skate it all the way in. Take a shot from far away. If you skate it in close and try to Patrick Kane it past us, that doesn't help us warm up - that's the kind of save to make *after* we're warmed up.
3. Now is not the time to work on your slap shot. If your slap shot is wild and inaccurate, practice it against the boards. Don't send it flying in at us when you have no idea where it will go. I was injured in three games in a row from wild slap shots taken during warm-ups.
4. Take turns, and go one at a time. Not only does shooting multiple pucks at once not help us warm up, it's dangerous; goalies have almost no padding on their sides or back, we're only safe if we're facing the shot directly.
5. The best thing you can do for us is an arc drill, where the shooters arrange themselves in an arc and take long shots on the goalie, working from one side to the other. This lets us get our angles down and practice shuffling; each time they resurface the ice it's a bit different, and we need to get used to it before each game.
6. If your shot have serious accuracy and control, try to aim for a spot no one else is shooting for. For example, if the goalie's been stopping pucks with his stick, you could send a shot to his glove hand so he can warm up his trapper. If he's been stopping with his chest, go five-hole, etc. This is not required, but it's a big help.
7. If you're going to take a hard shot, you must shoot from beyond the face-off circle. Years ago, I broke my hand when a close-up slap shot hit my glove hand the wrong way.
8. If you want to work on advanced moves like tip-ins or one-timers, check with us first to see if we're warmed up and ready for it, or work on that when we're not in the net.
9. If you are unsure of any of the above, then default to an on-ice shot. These are unlikely to cause injury, and are a good warm up for both the shooter and the goalie, as these are shots that are most likely to score in a game.
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Filed under: Advice