Goalies, A Different Breed

It all starts at the back.  One of the most important positions, yet the position with the least number of players on the team.  If you’ve ever spent any time around a goalie you know they’re a special breed of player.  It takes a different mindset to play in goal whether it’s hockey, soccer, lacrosse, or floorball.  Being a goalie requires a unique skill set to put yourself in harms’ way to keep the ball out of the goal at all costs.  At the same time despite the equipment a goalie wears they’re the most vulnerable player on the field.  At all times the field players must make sure to protect the goalie from the opposite team. With that in mind it’s important for goalies to be prepared physically and mentally for the task at hand.

Starting out it’s important when training to focus on movements that will help you on the court.  Time spent focused on core strength and hip strength and flexibility will help developing goalies on and off the court.  Kneeling hip flexor stretches and hip flexor mobilization is a great start when focusing on your overall hip flexibility.  These stretches are also helpful in relieving tight hips.  An overall lack a flexibility for a goalie makes everything in the position more difficult that it already is.

For training to be effective, it’s important to make sure that you stay balanced.  Staying balanced means thinking about the entire body.  Stretching is one aspect to training, and on the flip side goalies need to also focus on functional training.  Functional training is about power, strength, and stabilization.  These qualities are vital in allowing goalies the ability to perform their duties effectively while reducing potential injuries.  Dead-lift exercises and front squats are great additions to any lifting routine, and a great way to help strengthen muscles throughout the body.  When combined with other exercises functional training helps train the entire body.

Another training skill to emphasize is visual training.  In hockey, you may have seen goalies juggling tennis balls, or throwing them against a wall to increase reaction times.  These training techniques are not unique to floorball, but are like goalies from different sports. A floorball moves at a high rate of speed, and can change direction at any time.  The ability for goalies to react and move to block those shots take a tremendous amount of training and skill.  One exercise that is effective revolves around serving shots from behind the net to a shooter who shoots on goal.  The goalie begins by watching the ball, therefore doesn’t know where the shooter is.  Once the ball is passed the goalie must react and position themselves to make the save.  This can be done from both sides of the net.

Being goalie takes a willingness to learn a skill that few choose to learn. It takes a desire to carry the burden of protecting the net, and in many cases impacting the outcome of the game.  For all the field players out there be thankful you have someone to watch your back.

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