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Hands Warmup: Elevate Your Goalie Game from the Start

The Hands Warmup: a simple yet essential drill that sets the stage for a season of remarkable goaltending. At Gold in the Net, we consider it a must-do, especially as the season kicks off.

This drill is a precision exercise designed to sharpen your tracking and hand-eye coordination. We focus on shots high glove, high blocker, low glove, low blocker, and the elusive five-hole. The goal? To make your eyes and hands work in perfect harmony.

But here's the twist: we don't label it a "comfort drill." While some coaches opt for highly structured routines with passes and shots, we take a different route. We thrive on pressure, pushing boundaries, and embracing the unfamiliar. Our aim is to prepare goalies for game situations they won't see coming, so they can confidently handle breakdowns when they occur.

The setup varies based on the goalie's age and size. Younger or smaller goalies typically stand at the top of their crease to fine-tune their angles and depth. As for older or larger goalies, we challenge them by placing them on the goal line. This position forces more movement and heightened hand activation, enhancing their awareness of post positions and net coverage.

Mastering the Hands Warmup means you're so dialled in that pucks missing the net won't even make you flinch. Standing on the goal line encourages forward hand motion, like a baseball catcher's glove. It ensures pucks hit their target or safely bounce away, keeping your net secure.

For us, it's all about maintaining a relaxed stance. Starting from the tops of the circles, we maintain a posture that covers the top corners, ready to react to shots. For low glove and low blocker shots, we reset into our stance before dropping into our butterfly, honing our timing.

We start with 6-8 shots high glove, high blocker, low glove, and low blocker, followed by 6-8 shots aiming for the five-hole. The pucks are launched from the tops of the circles, released from the middle of the net – an important detail to observe as your reads and tracks improve.

This drill holds a special place in our hearts; it's a staple at Gold in the Net. When executed correctly, it can transform your game. It may seem simple, but the beauty lies in the details. Repetition is your best friend here.

Remember, tracking isn't just about reading the puck; it's about controlling its trajectory. The Hands Warmup cultivates your ability to dictate where the puck goes – a crucial skill that sets elite goalies apart.

So, while some coaches explore complex innovations, we believe in mastering the basics first. The Hands Warmup is where progress begins. It's a ritual followed by high-end, elite NHL goalies before every practice – a testament to its effectiveness.

At Gold in the Net, we hold the Hands Warmup in high regard, and it's just the beginning. For young and elite goalies alike, this drill should be a regular practice, refined to perfection. Tracking and reading the puck isn't just about saving shots; it's about owning the game.

And remember, consistency is key. It's not about occasional greatness; it's about making greatness a habit.

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