Home > Practice, Technique > Hand-Eye Coordination Drill: Juggling

Hand-Eye Coordination Drill: Juggling

Around the time I was going into Junior High School my grandmother gave me a unique gift for the holidays. She gave me the Juggling for the Complete Klutz, which came with an instruction book and 3 bean bags. I have always liked brain teasers and puzzles, so the juggling kit was right up my alley. I do not remember how long it took to learn how to juggle, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I did not know at the time that juggling would play an essential role in my goaltending.

klutz bean bags

I still have the original bean bags that my grandmother gave me

It has been almost 20 years since I have learned to juggle and I try to practice as often as I can. Besides the fact that it is something fun to do, it is also an excellent opportunity to work on my hand-eye coordination skills for goaltending. When you are out on the ice there are so many things going on around you. There is anywhere from 6 to 10 players skating around and you have to keep track of all of them including where the puck is at all times. If you happen to have a Cat-Eye cage for your goalie mask you have the best open view of the rink short of not wearing a mask. The mask you wear reduces your peripheral vision and increases your blind spots. Outside of giving up on wearing a mask to increase your peripheral vision, the best thing you can do is work on strengthening it.

The art and skill of juggling is a great tool to add to your off-ice routines. It forces you to utilize your peripheral vision in order to keep track of the objects you are throwing. There are several ways you can introduce variety into your juggling practice:

  • Increase the speed at which you throw the objects
  • Widen the gap between your hands causing a larger arc and thereby putting the objects further into your peripheral view
  • Throw the objects higher into the air but keep your head looking forward
  • Instead of being stationary, walk around the room as you juggle

Besides juggling during my off-ice training I also take the bean bags with me to my games and open skates. Juggling is a great pre-game warm-up to start getting your mind and body ready for the speed of play. You do not have to use bean bags to juggle, in fact you can use anything you want such as lacrosse balls, tennis balls, etc… Juggling is an inexpensive tool to increase your abilities as a goalie and it is a lot of fun. The greatest benefit from juggling is that you spend less time turning your head everywhere to see where the players and puck are. The less time and energy you spend on wasted movements, the more you have to put towards stopping the puck.

And if your grandmother happened to give you a juggling set when you were a kid, make sure to call her up and thank her for helping to make you a better goaltender.

Yankees Game With Grandma

Best Grandma Ever

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