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Mitch Korn Goalie Clinic, my memories

So back in the summer of 2002 at Ashburn I took part in a weekend goalie clinic from Mitch Korn. What follows are my memories of what he taught and how he taught it. I improved a lot that weekend. It was by far the best goalie clinic I took out of the 3 or 4 I was a part of. Good on and off-ice teaching, video work, etc.

Some disclaimers apply: This was awhile ago, who knows how Mitch Korn has changed as a coach. I was only 16 and it was 12 years ago so my memory is a bit imperfect. He was coaching kids, some of whom were very good, some of whom were terrible so I'd imagine he adjusted accordingly. Being a goalie changed a ton in the 12 years from 1990 to 2002 and I imagine it changed a decent amount in the 12 years since then.

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The camp was at Ashburn and my coach at the time thought it would be good for me. One of the things about youth goalie instruction is it is a bit of a specialty (I'd imagine similar to kickers in football) so kids from all over traveled for this camp. I was lucky it was only 30 minutes away but many traveled with their parents from PA, WV, etc. There were a few goalies that helped out the clinic who played for University of Miami(Ohio) either currently or in the past. I believe that at the time Korn was their goalie coach and rink manager.

What stuck with me, some of which was unique to him, other that is just good technique no matter what.:

1) Awesome drills. Some were fun, others were impossible. Once something got too easy you added in mini-pucks or white pucks, or a black or white mesh bag over your head just to make them more difficult. Lots of plywood deflection boards, lots of multi-puck drills to teach recovery, screen boards and conditioning drills like sitting in a goalie stance for 5+ minutes. These helped a lot because during practices goalies have a lot of dead time where we could either do skating drills with the rest of the team that wouldn't do much other than conditioning or just grab an assistant coach and tell them what to do.

The mesh bag was impossible at first but by the end it was like it wasn't even there. Then you take it off and it is magic.

Off the ice pushed juggling and throwing a ball attached by elastic to velcro around your wrist.

2) A strong belief in the right way to recover to ones feet. Correct footwork to recover, according to him:

The movement that he teaches which a lot of NHL goalies don’t do is a recovery from a butterfly or half-butterfly save where the skate in the direction of the puck digs into the ice and pulls the body over as the goalie stands back up. The natural movement this replaces, which takes a goalie out of position briefly, is to take the outstretched skate and put it under your body to stand. By doing this, the puck-side leg minimizes movement to be ready for the next shot.

He liked 2 pad stack a lot more than one usually sees it deployed. Not sure if this way just for youths (where lifting the puck happens a lot less)

3) Moving the body towards the puck when making a save with the blocker or glove. Combined this with keeping the blocker, stick and glove far forward as that stops the chance of being handcuffed. It also makes it so that your hands cut down the angle of the shooter even further. Stick in front of the blocker a decent amount.*

By moving your body towards the puck, it both made your glove/blocker's job easier as well as getting a better angle on any potential deflection. He pointed out goalies who made glove saves with flair and said if your arm was extended on a non-deflected/screened shot then you were doing it wrong. Best case is a 90 degree elbow bend.

4) Moving out of the crease much more based on situation than on anything else. 2 on 1s obviously further back than breakaway but also the idea that if there is a chance of a deflection, get as close to the potential deflector-player as possible to cut down that angle. Being responsible for knowing there is a player on the back door.

5) Shuffle feet with the shooter's release point until he releases the puck. Some goalie coaches say to shuffle with the shooter's stick but the release point of a wrist shot is generally inside where the puck starts.

6) Making saves in different ways based on different situations. For example, any low shot should be saved with the stick--rebound to the corner--but if there is a deflection possible then the stick stays in the 5-hole and the save is made with the shin portion of the leg pad.

7) Staying big when going to the knees. Driving knees to the ice, then femur at a 90 degree angle to the ice and full body straight up from there. Crest square to the shooter. Not that this is particularly controversial, but we spent so much time on it. No Accordions!

That is most of what I remember. I hope there are others who were either there that can chime in or took a clinic with him elsewhere. He was certainly a good coach for me, I hope he can be a good coach for the caps.

*I'd say half the clinic had stick paddles which were too short after this adjustment. Didn't make parents happy to have to shell out money for a correctly fitting stick.

If this FanPost is written by someone other than one of the blog's editors, the opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect those of this blog or SB Nation.

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