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What would you rater have on your team someone that shoots the ball really hard but can’t control it or some that doesn’t have the shot speed and can put the ball where ever he wants every time he shoots?  

I would take accuracy every time at the high school level.  Why?  Because the easy answer is that goalies make mistakes.  I would much rather have the ball be somewhere on the net then and have a chance to score.  Listen I’m all for shot speed but, not at the expense of accuracy.  

Last year we had extra time to warm up before a game.  I was shooting with a player that was new to the team that year.  I didn’t know if I wanted to play him at attack or middie.  He had been playing middie.  As we were shooting I tried to call my shot by picking a corner.  Then we started to play P-I-G.  After a while I won, I told him you can’t score unless it is on the net.  He agreed.  Then during the game, I played him at attack and he scored.  Let me tell you it was a bad shot and the goalie just missed it.  I talked to him after about it.  And he said “coach you were right, get it on net right where I wanted it to go”.  I was shocked he scored on that shot, but it was on net.  Goalies make mistake just like every other player.  So, speed doesn’t matter like accuracy.  

So the next time you practice aim for the corners.  Once you can hit them every time, show your teammates.  They will be jealous, trust me.  I once told my team I was going to hit the top-right corner and I did.  It happened to be the first time I shot in front of them.  I earned their respect right way, from that accuracy shooting display.  It felt pretty good.  So, take the same pride and passion in you accuracy as you do the rest of you game.  

Check out more at www.coachgafner.com

First of all a goalie has to have a passion for the position if you want them to be good.  They have to want it for themselves.  Because, some teams put the bigger and slow kid in the net, hat is not what you want to do.  I like to tell the kids that goalie is the most important position, because it is.  The goalie controls so much of the game.  I want someone in net that has good vision, is loud, can communicate well, can pass well, and is not afraid of getting hit by the ball.

Last year we didn’t have a goalie for JV so, I had to convince one of the kids to play.  I talked to the team asking the kids who wanted to have the biggest impact on the team should give it a try.  We had one kid step up and he has been getting better ever since.

I had someone ask me how to approach warm-up.  It all depends on the amount of time you have.  But, planning this out is the coach’s job.  The first step is to start passing and making the passes longer.  This way you can work on clears.  Having one you’re your players jogging around so the goalie can pass to different areas of the field.  Then you go into the cage to take shots.  Take shot high, middle, low, on both sites.  When goalie is taking shots, you have to remember to take shots in all areas of field where a shot can come from.  This way they are warmed up for all the different shots that happen in a game.  Another key note is that who ever is doing the shooting needs to not rip them as hard as they can.  This way you build up your goalies confidence.

Talk to a couple older goalies to see what they like.  Every goalie is different. 

Here are a couple of videos that I want my goalies to watch to get better.

YouTube Preview Image  YouTube Preview Image  YouTube Preview Image

Check out more at www.coachgafner.com

Let’s think about it.  The game starts with a face-off, so who ever win it get the ball to start with it and set the tone of the game early.  And if you don’t play the face-off right you can get brunt early for a goal in under 10 seconds.  And let’s face it no team wants to be down 0-1 after 10 seconds into a game.  What is why practicing face-offs as a team is so important.

I don’t have a rule but the way I’m approaching face-off this year is to have a face-off guy for each middie line.  I think I will have four or five middie lines so; I will have four or five face-off specialist.  Now, with my team we had two returning players that did the job from last year and I help two guys on the JV team get better at face-offs.  So, they will remain my four guys.  If you are starting a team or don’t know who your guys are, have a competition for the spots after practice or during practice.  Tell them how important it is to the team and if they win how they will be on the field more.  Kids will want to do it.  I have seen some long stick that can take a face-off because they are quick and if they lose what better way to stop a fast break than to have a long stick on ball right a way.

After you get your guys picked for the season, it is a good idea for them to practice face-off four to five times a week.  Maybe one or two times with the whole team.  That why they are always getting better.  The thing about face-off is that if you win you control the ball more. Than leads to more scoring chances and more less time on defense, two things that will give you team a better chance to win.  Of these guys each of them should have their own move, if you can.  They are many different face-off moves.  I attached two video I found that work.  The reason that you have each kid have their own move is then you can adjust to the other teams top face-off guy.  Now my number one guy is good at all the moves, so he adjusts on his own.  And if he can’t beat that guy, he knows which one of the other guys on our team is the best shot to win the face-off, because they have been practicing against the same moves in practices.  I let this senior be in charge off the face-off department because his passion for winning them is second to none.  He is team players so, if he can’t win the face-off he lets someone else try.

Last, if you are having a hard time of winning the face-offs in a game.  Try two things.  First, get a guy that is going to be physical out there.  Some face-off guys like to be so quick that getting hit isn’t fun all the time.  Plus it wears that guy out while the physical guy doing the hitting likes it and wants to keep doing it.  Second, try putting a long stick on the guy and play defense right way.  Yes, you lose the face-off but, you don’t give up easy goals or fast breaks.  You team defense is in better position this way.

I’m sure you know after every goal there is a face-off, so start practicing them to give your team a better advantage in the game.  And to think it only takes about 10-15 minutes a day, and the rest of the team can do something else.

Check out more at www.coachgafner.com

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