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The Next Step In Physical Performance

A Goalies Guide to in-season Training

By Tavish Bochek (Citius Strength and Conditioning)

As recently as the early 1990's, players would use training camp as their way to get in shape for the season. Now fast-forward 20-plus years. Today, if you don’t report to camp in peak physical condition, be prepared find yourself on the coach’s bad side or even worse – cut.

For many, this point in the calendar will be their physical peak until the same time next year.

But if mid-to-late August is regarded as the most important time of the season – it highlights an important question. Can a player afford to physically decline throughout the season, or not?

The next step in your athletic evolution is acquiring in-season physical performance gains to peak for championship games and have a better starting point for the following off-season.

In-season strength and power training for goalies is often neglected or mismanaged by hockey and strength coaches alike. The performance tracking and measuring that athletes are exposed to during the off-season no longer appear relevant. During the tactical and technical sport progressions, the physical aspect of development seems to get lost. While most programs do have a dedicated strength and conditioning coach to put the team through a weekly workout, most goalies still end up weaker and slower at the end of the season when wins matter the most, compared to where they were when the season began.

By following a few basic principles, you can keep developing power and speed while reducing injury year-round – all while your competition is trending the opposite way. Imagine what this could do for you over two, four, or even ten seasons.

Don’t hinder your ability to practice or play your game.

While your physical development is important, it is not more important than your on-ice performance. You don’t squat a bar or do lateral jumps on the ice. The gym is a supplement to your performance, not the primary goal. No workout should make you so sore that you’re not able to do what is required the next day.

More doesn’t mean better.

This is no different than any other time of year. However, programming does take more time and energy to sort out in-season than during the off-season when you’re spending less time and energy on the ice and at school. The goal is to train as much as necessary, not as much as possible. By reducing the volume compared to the off-season and maintaining a high intensity in-season, physical improvements are possible.

Reduce over-use injuries, pain and tightness.

Throughout the course of the season a goalie will undergo a large amount of stress primarily to their hips, knees and back. This stress can cause tightness, pain and eventually injury. With this in mind, avoid putting more stress on these areas and focus instead on the antagonist (opposite) muscles; glutes, hamstrings and obliques. Tightness and pain aren’t part of the game but instead, are indicators that those areas are breaking down and can lead to more serious injury.

Assist in peaking for when games matter the most.

A properly planned and adjusted program won’t just have you feeling better on the ice from game-to-game, but should look to address you feeling and performing your best come playoff time. This is easy enough to monitor by using similar tracking and measuring points as in the off-season.

Set the foundation to build off of for next season.

While shorter and low volume workouts rarely yield instant gratification, when done consistently over the course of a season, the results can be significant. This is called the compound effect. Now think about what this does to set you up for the next off-season, and the one after that. Not only will you be in a better spot physically, but you now have the ability to focus more on other areas of your game while the competition is trying to catch up to you in the gym.

For more information on the goalie focused training done at Citius Strength and Conditioning check us out here or contact us at

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