April 18, 2012

Camp Guide: Q&A with a goaltending camp

By NEHJ staff

Goaltending camp, like any weeklong summer camp, is an expensive proposition. Smart parents will want make sure their investment is money well spent. That means asking the right questions.

Bob Janosz, owner of Janosz School of Goaltending in New York, has heard them all over the past decade. And he encourages them, since an informed customer is typically a happy customer, because their young goaltender will be the beneficiary.

What’s the ratio of goalies to instructors?

Janosz: “I keep it to three goalies per net. Sometimes it’s a group of two, sometimes a group of three. Three is the best scenario at a camp, especially if they’re there all week long. Having less than three can be a little too much, with the intensity of the drills.”

What kind of shooters do you have?

Janosz: “To me, the shooters make the camp. It’s not necessarily having a stud shooter. It has to be a shooter who is willing to shoot according to the age and skill of the goalie, and is capable of shooting that way. I like to have the shooters a year or two older than the goalie. Then they can always tone it down a little bit. But having the right type of shooter — someone who’s not just there to score, but they’re actually there to enjoy it and help the goalies — that’s huge. You can have the best drills in the world, but if the shooters are missing passes or not doing the right thing, it’s pointless.”

What’s being taught?

Janosz: “You want to know what style, and how current is the style. What are they working on at the camp. For us, during a typical weeklong camp, the morning consists of footwork, crease movement, goalie-specific movement and save skills. Fundamental saves. We do a lot of that stuff in the morning, with just our coaches. Then the afternoon, we bring more shooters out, and it’s more about game situations.”

Do you have video and classroom sessions?

Janosz: “Most camps have these, but some use them as more of a break. Instead of really hammering home some good points, using NHL video, I’ve seen other camps where they just pop a video in, or play trivia. The classroom session is as important as the ice. We put a lot of time into our video prep work. I have NHL goalies broken down, showing how the top guys do it, based on situations, and those are really good learning points for the kids.”

Are those off-ice sessions interactive?

Janosz: “That’s really important. The classroom sessions are where you can really teach. Those once-a-week clinics, where you’re getting a lot of reps, you don’t want to waste ice time about where the goalie should stand on a 3-on-2. In the classroom sessions, that’s where you can cover those things.”

Do you video the goalies?

Janosz: “Filming them, that’s nothing new. But knowing the right things to show them, and teaching them in a positive way, that’s important. They can learn a lot that way. And it might be the only time they get all year to see themselves up close on video.”

What else will you do off-ice, such as strength training?

Janosz: “We use that as the instructional part of camp. Some parents think that if their kid is absolutely exhausted at the end of the day, it’s a great camp. But we’re already on the ice for three or four hours a day, and you want them to be able to go all week. In my mind, the ice time is still the most important, so we don’t try to wear out the kids. We use the off-ice stuff as a teaching session. We’ll bring in other coaches, and do things like pilates, flexibility and core strength. Basically, we teach a lot of goalie-specific strength and flexibility exercises. We’ll incorporate some hand-eye coordination and different drills. So they leave knowing what they should be doing, like knowing how to do a proper dynamic warmup before a practice.”

Tell us about your coaching staff.

Janosz: “I’ve been doing the camps for 10 years, and now every one we hire has been through the camp. I’ve brought in the big-name goalies, or the D-1 goalies, and what I realize is that just because you were a good goalie doesn’t mean you’ll be a good coach. You need a good goalie who can demonstrate. We make sure that we’re all on the same page, so the kids are hearing the same message, no matter what coach is there. We get people who are very passionate about coaching and teaching and goaltending, guys who want to be there. Some parents are impressed by the NHL name player, and I understand that. But we have a great attitude. We work the kids hard, and we have a lot of fun. Our staff is very serious about having the kids get better, but they also know how to have fun. They keep things light, and very positive.”

This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of New England Hockey Journal.