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A Pro's Offseason - Josh Robinson


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A Pro’s Guide to the Off Season


by Josh Robinson


The off season is one of the most talked about, and most controversial part of any goaltender’s or hockey players lives. There are so many different perspectives on whether kids should be playing spring / summer hockey. When should kids get in the weight room. Should a goalie only do goalie specific off ice training. The list of questions goes on and on. My goal with this article is to shed some light on what I have found works for me. Some of the mistakes I have made, and a bunch of other lessons I have learned over the last 21 years of playing hockey.


Time Off


The number one recommendation I or hopefully any respectable coach will give you is you need to take time off the ice! This is something that when your a kid is hard to do. There is so much pressure from youth organizations for kids to be playing year round now. I see it first hand here in Kansas City where parents feel pressured to put their kids into certain spring skates or camps because if they don't their kid might not make the team come fall. The number one thing I have learned over my time is the need for rest. Any goalie who is in high school come talk to me when your in your late twenties or early thirties.. your hips wont feel as good as they do now. So you need to take care of them right now! There is no reason to be skating 6 times a week all summer long in addition to the long seasons where you may be on the ice 5-6 days all season long as well.


For myself I generally take 2-3 weeks off completely after a season. Depending on how far we went into playoffs that season those 3 weeks may look a little different, but generally the first week or two is spent doing nothing outside of normal life and playing with my dog. After I start feeling better I will start incorporating more athletic ventures into my day such as tennis or yoga but nothing too demanding yet. Your body will tell you when its ready to get back into the gym. If you are still nursing injuries or your body doesn't feel right yet. Its probably not ready to get back into the gym.


Getting back into it


The next 3-4 weeks is one of the most important phases of the off season. This is where your body gets evened out and you build your base. For me this always entailed making sure I don't have any imbalances in my muscles and making sure I get my aerobic capacity back. I have been fortunate enough to work with a great trainer over the last 6 years so if anyone is interested in one of the best Matt Van Dyke at the University of Denver and www.vandykestrength.com is where to look.


For kids the biggest thing I can recommend in the summer is to play lots of sports! I played baseball and tennis all summer long until I was out of high school and even now I will try to get out and play tennis as much as I can during the summer. The hand eye coordination and body control learned out on the field is so important and can be translated back into hockey in the winter.


Time to get strong


The next phase in my offseason is where you make the most strength gains. It involves getting in the gym 4-5 days a week and lifting heavy stuff. This is where a lot of people’s opinions differ when it comes to what a goalie should be doing. From my experience there are a lot of important factors that go into goaltending, but we still need that base of strength. I don't train that much differently than many skaters during the bulk of the summer. I will add certain agility and mobility work into my programs but when it comes down to it you still need leg strength, power, explosiveness, all of those important factors that any athlete needs.


Getting back on the ice


Some of you may be wondering if I have left out how much I am skating right now.. No, actually the answer is 0.. With our season generally starting around early October I wont get back on the ice until July 1st at the earliest.. or if we had a deep playoff run August 1st.. The reason for this is giving my body time to heal from the constant pounding that it takes throughout a long season. Also giving me time in the gym to build your body back up as it breaks down and you loose muscle throughout the season.


During the pro season getting into the gym is tough. There is a lot of travel, and a lot of games. So getting into the gym is so important to try to maintain what you have worked so hard for during the year. Its not always easy.. there are days that you don't want to, but getting in there and even doing 15 minutes of work is better than nothing. Keeping that strength up as much as possible will pay off during the end stretch of the season and into playoffs.


End of Summer


Finally the last bit of the summer and into training camp is where all that hard work comes out. For me this meant skating 3-4 days a week leading up to camp and finally 5-6 times the week or two before. During this time the workouts are shorter and sometimes dropped down to 3 days a week in the gym to allow for more rest and to make sure your body is firing properly. Conditioning is huge this time of the year and making sure the body is peaking at the right time.


Final thoughts


Looking back on the summer is always a great way to assess what you would like to change for the next year, what worked well for you, and overall how you feel. You want to enter camp feeling the best you have all summer. You don't want to be worrying about how strong you are or if you did enough that summer. Make sure you put the work in all summer long that way, you know you are ready and all you have to do is go out on the ice and play your game.


For kids your summer wont be the same as mine. There are tryouts, summer camps, and possibly school there are all sorts of things that come up. If you put the time in you will see the results. I know personally I wish I would have started training earlier in life. I didn't start taking the summers seriously off the ice until I was 17 or 18. I have been guilty of playing too many video games all summer long, not eating the way I should have, and not getting the right amount of rest. Biggest thing I can say is learn from those mistakes and realize how good you feel when treating your body properly. It makes a huge difference in your game and the way your body feels. There are too many good resources out there now to say you don't know what to do. Do your research, learn from the right people who know what they are talking about, and you will see the results in your game come fall.

More Info on Josh:

Josh Robinson joins the Florida Everblades organization after spending the last 5 seasons playing professionally throughout North America and Europe. Some of Josh's accomplishments include being a part of the 2014 AHL Calder Cup Champion Texas Stars, 2016 ECHL Goalie of the Year, and also is tied for the ECHL record for most saves in a single game. 

Josh will assume the title of Goaltending Coach and Video Coordinator with the Florida Everblades ECHL team, Goaltending Coach for the Florida Jr Blades USPHL Premier team, and will also be involved with the youth programs around the area. 
Josh will also be moving his goalie training company to Estero under the name Elite Goalies Florida. Where he will be running Private Lessons, week long summer camps, vision training, and many other clinics and camps throughout the year.






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