One of the first things that a head coach worries about at their first coach’s meeting, usually months before the regular season starts, is ‘who is our goalie going to be?’ Especially at the youth level, filling this position can be extremely hard. However, there are a few very brave players out there who end up loving the position of goalie! Once the season is over, usually players want to continue at camps to improve their skills but once the regular season is over, recreation town teams collect all the equipment. This is when it can get tricky and expensive if you don’t know what you are looking for, so here are a few tips:
#1-Right Helmet Fit
With all of the different helmet models today, it can confusing as to which helmet to get. If you are a youth player, start off trying on the Cascade CPV. This helmet comes in sizes and is adjustable. If the largest size of this helmet is too small, then move up to the one size fits all helmets: Cascade CPX-R, Cascade Pro-7 or the Cascade R. All of the Cascade helmets can be ordered in team colors if you can wait about a week for it to arrive. (Don't forget the throat guard!)
Again, there are a lot of different models of these by different manufacturer. Some of the more popular ones are: STX Cell II, STX Women’s Sultra, Maverik Rome NXT, Brine Eraser II, and the Warrior Lockdown. The best thing to do is to try one one, get into your goalie position and move around to see if the pads are flexible enough to your liking or you may prefer a hard, stiff sternum protector. All chest protectors have a hard piece in front of your heart, but some come with an extra bubble (that is removable) to add extra protection.
Odds are that most boys do not want to wear goalie pants whereas girls will. Boys see this as not being tough enough and they love showing off their bruises. However, when you start to move up in grades, the shots start being much faster-average 8th grade boy can shoot around 65-70 mph. Not all goalie pants are huge, bulky pads like everyone seems to think. Some goalie pants have thinner pads and are more breathable than others.
This is all about player preference! If a player has been wearing them for years, they are most likely not going to be afraid of the ball and will step to it when the shots are being fired. If a goalie gets hit really hard in the shin, it can be extremely painful and really deter the player from being aggressive in the goal in the future. I think that having a confident goalie, wearing all the pads, is better to have on my team than someone who is scared to get hit because they want to “look cool and tough” by not wearing all the padding.
Having your own equipment allows you to play in the off season so you can always be on top of your game. There is nothing better than walking into preseason with the confidence that you haven't lost any of your skills and are ready for whatever comes your way!