With the advancement of goaltending over the past 20 years, every little detail of our training has been scrutinized. We have taken goaltending from the stand-up days to the introduction of the butterfly, and now more recently with the RVH becoming popular. Goalies and goalie coaches are always at the cutting edge of new techniques and how we train on the ice.
On the flip side strength coaches like Maria Mountain have been doing an amazing job educating players and goalies how we should be properly training our bodies for the demands placed on them from being in these positions in a regular basis, and how we need to stay healthy and strong over the course of the season.
We are now just starting to realize how important our eyes are to our games as goaltenders. Josh Tucker in Minnesota is doing an amazing job educating / training goalies visual systems. If anyone is near his area I highly recommend checking out his work.
Our eyes are controlled by muscles just any other part of our body so by properly training our eyes off the ice we can increase their performance on the ice. But this also means we need to properly warm the eyes up before games or practices to get the most out of our body. Most of you wouldn’t jump into a squat rack, throw on 300 lbs and start repping them out? So why do most goalies hop onto the ice without warming up one of if not the most important muscles we use to stop the puck?
With the 5 part series on a proper vision warm up I want to give you the tools to properly warm up your eyes in a quick 3-5 minute fashion that will get better results on the ice.
Part 1 of our warmup today will focus on eye movement. In this drill our goalie will be standing and place his / her hands out in front of them wider than shoulder width. Our goalie will keep their nose and head still facing forward moving their eyes only back and forth focusing on their thumbs. Make sure to not rush but make each movement smooth and quick mimicking the movement that will happen on the ice. The goalie can gradually increase the width of their hands as their eyes get better at the movements. The drill will be repeated on diagonals with each hand up and the opposite down. As well as working on vision at the top of their range of vision and bottom.
Directly in front of body 10 reps each side.
Right hand up / Left hand down 10 reps each side.
Left hand up / Right hand down 10 reps each side.
Hands in low range of visibility 10 reps each side.
Hands at top range of visibility 10 reps each side.
Give this a try and you will probably notice your eyes feeling a bit tired the first time. This is a good thing, you are activating that muscles that control your eyes so after sometime you will feel these muscles strengthen and start to move quicker and more fluidly.
Check back the next 4 weeks for parts 2 – 5 where we will talk about the different parts of our warmup and some examples of ways you can train your eyes at home. We have recently partnered with VIMA Strobe Training Glasses () as part of our vision training program here in Florida. They are currently running a $100 off promotion this month so for anyone interested in picking up a pair of their own with plus additional discount code please email for more information!