Help Between the Pipes
Each season Gettysburg is faced with certain challenges. This season finds their starting goaltender, Sam Shockley studying abroad. In an effort to get the Bullet netminders ready for a starting role, the coaching staff has sought the help of local goaltending coach Christian Miller.
Coach Miller is familiar with hockey and goaltending, having played since the age of 8, however, he is relatively new to coaching, as he is only in his 2nd year of being on staff for the Hagerstown (Maryland) Youth Hockey Association. In that short time he has been responsible for developing and implementing the entire goaltending instruction in their hockey program. Working with goaltenders from U8 to U18, his approachable manner, personal history and being a father of 5 allows him to be able to relate and relay information to his students in a digestible manner. His duties include developing goalie specific training that has been introduced and utilized into each levels practices, summer and weekly clinics, private lessons, mentorship, and above all, being an example to his students.
Mr. Millers approach to goaltending coaching is an emphasis on the mental aspect of the game as much as the actual physical technique of it. It has been said that only a goalie can understand what another goalie goes through, and has a simple truth behind it. Drawing from his experiences on and off the ice, he likes to develop a candid and honest teaching format. In tandem with that is the emphasis on solid fundamentals. The modern game demands that a goaltender have a mastery of them to have any modicum of success. The game has changed dramatically in even the last 10 years, and having a razor sharp skill set of skating, angles, depth, time/space management, situational awareness, reflexes and mindset is paramount to being successful at goal tending. Mr. Miller does not subscribe to one "style" of goaltending, everything should be taught to have a complete pallet at the goalies disposal. A philosophy he does instill in his goaltenders is the mantra of control. Control your thoughts, your movements, the puck and the game. The oppositions point is to create chaos, scrambling saves are the result of that, and being out of position to make a clean solid save. He teaches to keep this to a minimum, to be the master of their own domains and let them dictate the play. Saving the puck in modern hockey is not enough, we need to control it, and in turn control the game to keep scoring chances to an absolute minimum.
Mr. Miller also has mentors of his own, networking and connecting with coaches of many different levels across the country and Canada to stay on the pulse of the modern game, to seek advice, garner ideas and have a sense of bond with his fellow goaltenders and coaches. He is USA Hockey certified and supports the idea of having specialized goaltending certification that is now being discussed at the national program level. He can be reached on social media on facebook: /cmiller60 or on twitter: machinistgoalie or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Coach Miller and the Bullets are excited with this arrangement and perhaps it could eventually turn in to a long term relationship. We welcome Coach Miller as he helps the Bullet netminders get ready for the season.