Hockey Lab Japan articles #9

On Ice Active Balance Training
By Medicine Ball


Since goaltending is played on ice in high speed with endless up-and-down movements, BALANCE is one of the most important fundamental abilities for goalie. Here I show you some unique and effective idea to develop important muscles to control your body balance and quickness.

Fig.1 Core-Muscles

Fig.2 Medicine ball training in
stand-up position

Fig.3 Medicine ball training in
butterfly position

Fig.4 Medicine ball training in
butterfly slide position

Train Core-Muscles

One of the most important factor to maintain your balance in the series of explosive movement during the game is your core-muscles. Abs, side-abs, back, thigh, ham-strings are the main components of your core-muscles. (Fig.1) The strength and endurance of your core-muscle help you to keep your basic postures (stand-up, butterfly,,,) properly. When you happen to lose your basic postures, quick response of core-muscles is essential for getting back to the balanced position. Why do the core-muscles play so important role in the body movement ? The reason is very simple. They control the heaviest parts of your body; head and trunk. So, how can you train you core-muscle??

There are several ways. Weight training like sit-up with weight is good way to develop fundamentals. But when you think about game like, active training, to develop real balance and coordination on your neuro-system weight training is too static.

Medicine Ball Training

Medicine ball training is ideal method to train your core-muscle in active body movement. It doesn't only train your core-muscles but also develops your balance and coordination ability through this training.

The basic medicine ball drills.

  1. The goalie without stick is standing as close as his/her basic stance. The coach is standing in front the goalie, about 6-10 feet away, with a medicine ball.
  2. The coach throws the ball to the side of the goalie. The goalie catches the ball with both hands and throws it back to the coach quickly.
  3. The coach throws it to the other side of the goalie. Repeat 10 times each side.
  4. Now the coach can throw the ball ether side, can vary the height, speed, and rhythm of the throwing. The goalie has to react quickly and tries to maintain the balance all the time. Repeat 10 times.
  5. Throughout this drill, the goalie focus on trying to maintain his basic stance as much as possible. The goalie can twist his/her body when he/she receives the ball, but get back to the basic position right after he/she throws it back.

The variation of basic drills, focusing on proper butterfly position

Same drill, but the goalie is in the butterfly position.

Make sure the goalie is ;

  1. Standing on his/her knees. NOT sitting on the pads.
  2. Back straight, upper body leaning slightly forward.
  3. Toes out, closing five-hole, pads are flat on the ice, pads face are facing forward.

The drills in Butterfly Slide position.

  1. The goalie is standing in the basic stance.
  2. The coach is standing 6-10 feet aside of the goalie with the ball.
  3. The goalie slides towards the direction in front of the coach in the butterfly position.
  4. The coach throes the ball to the goalie as he passing by in front of him/her.
  5. The goalie catches the ball in the chest, trying to maintain proper butterfly position.
  6. Repeat 10 times each side.

These drill can be arranged for dry-land training too


These drill might be risky for goalies having back problems. Also not recommended for very young kids. You might start these drills from 12 years old with light medicine ball, increase intensity of the drill and use heavier ball as you get bigger and stronger.

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