I already wrote about the entire prepartion for the IIHF Goalie Development Camp and the first day of the arrival of the participants. Now it’s time to talk about the actual camp, which was absolutely amazing, I loved every second of it! Too bad I had to leave early… 😦
The first day of camp had a full schedule, like any other day at camp. It started with a 8am breakfast and then a classroom session where the girls would learn about the importance of nutrition, hydration, recovery and relaxation. After the first classroom session, the girls made their way to the ice rink where they would have their first ice session.
As the most important element of a goalie is its skating skills, the first session was all about stance, balance and movement. No pucks! Joe Johnston had the lead in that practice and would run all the skating drills. The coaches and us goalie leads would support him and help out the goalies wherever needed. It was incredible to see the progress some of these goalies made during this first session. It really proves the importance of skating for goalies.
After the first ice session, it was lunchtime in the restaurant close by the ice rink. It was a buffet restaurant, one like I’ve never seen before… There was so much to chose from, healthy and unhealthy, that it became even more important for the girls to understand the importance of healthy food choices in such a camp.
After lunch they were off for a little bit before having a lifestyle classroom session and the second ice practice of the day. The focus on the second ice session was tracking of the puck. This time it was me and Zuzana who had the lead in this practice. We would explain all the drills and go around all nets and goalies to help them out. Our coaches would then run a net each. This was the first practice where the goalies would face some shots. It was a good practice even though not everything ran smooth.
The first day was over after the last practice and dinner and the girls got their well deserved sleep. Although the day was over for the participants, it was far from being over for the coaches and us mentors. We had many more meetings, where we would plan out the next day, finalize the practices and especially debrief on the day and what should be improved upon for the next days.
That being said, it was a very short night. My group had an early wakeup and the first ice session of the day started at 8am with a focus on rebound control. This time, it was the coaches’ time to take the lead on the practices, and Zuzana and me would be on the ice for additional support if needed. We would still be helping out the goalies if we would see something, but mostly we would tell the coaches what we see and let them talk to the goalies directly. It was great seeing the goalies develop in such a short time, but also the goalie coaches were developing from practice to practice.
I was really excited to see more, but unfortunately my journey in Spain at the IIHF Goalie Development Camp ended here as I would fly to Zagreb in Croatia that afternoon. 😦
The participants had one more practice Friday afternoon with a focus on North/South, East/West movements and then two more practices on Saturday with focus on entries / net drive and low post, before flying home on Sunday.
It was a great experience for me and from what I heared all the participants. Hopefully the IIHF will host another camp like that in the future and hopefully I will get to be a part of that again! 🙂