Puck Tracking - Where should I start?
In many specific goalie sessions today we ask the goalies to “track the puck” and execute specific techniques that helps them develop muscle memory within the athlete. As Goalie Coaches we find ways to breakdown elements of a technique or drill that our goalie will understand and retain. So with that said, using the theory of “Breaking down the elements” if we are asking the goalie to track the puck by using their eyes in an efficient and effect manner, shouldn’t we start with an eye-exam.
I bring this point up only as a point of interest as sometimes answers to an issue do not have to be complicated. This past August I attend a Goaltending Coach Symposium in Madison, Wisconsin, where Goalie Coaches from all over the world at various levels (minor hockey, Jr.A, AHL, NHL etc.) would collaborate and share experiences and knowledge that would make each coach more diverse. “Tracking the puck” was on the menu and spoke about how we teach etc. One coach spoke about the struggles of one of his goalies had tracking the puck on a specific side (he was an AHL goalie, no names required), the coach tried all he knew and could not understand the struggle why. His technique was good, square to the puck, but sometimes would get beat on a shot that clearly he could stop but was inconsistent from that shot location. So as a last result and with a back to basics frame-of-mind he suggested an eye-exam. The result was amazing; they found that the goaltender was deficient in one eye.