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Welcome to my Goaltending Tips page!

I bow to the king of the "butterfly" style!

The following are tips that I think should help you to better understand goaltending and to help improve your game. This is by no means a substitute for a professional coach. But how many of us can afford them? Without further ado, here are the tips. They were taken from another site. Go check out my links.


Part I -Mentality

"The most important part of goaltending is whats inside your head" -John Vanbiesbrouck, ESPN Up Close, 1/7/96

I'm sure that you are wondering, why start with mentality? Well, my position can be stated by a simple quote taken from a fellow hockey/goalie list member: "Goaltending is 90% Mental, and the other 10% is in your head." Goaltending requires amazing focus, especially when you are playing with spectators watching. I've broken up focus into 2 parts. The first is confidence. If you are in goal, and you don't think that you'll stop the puck then you won't. The most common lack of confidence is in size. Usually there are bigger goalies who can stop pucks because of their size. Short goalies? They make it up in the skills dipartment, and in agility too. If you think you are too short, take a look at the "Beezer" (John Vanbeasbrouk...). He is only about 5'8'' and he is in the NHL.

(The "Beezer" in action)

"As a goalie and an artist, these same "forces" are at work for me because at the same time as trying too hard causes you to overcompensate on a save, it also produces really contrived drawing as well. " -C.J. Cleary aka GrowlinWolf

The second part of focus is the ability to separate the conscious and unconscious mind when playing. When you are playing consciously, you are thinking about your every move will be. This form of anticipation is bad because not everything will work out the way you think. Playing more unconsciously is known as instinct goaltending. It is basically letting your "muscle memory" from all of your practice decide on when you will do to stop the puck. It is the best form of cognitive goaltending since your reactions are MUCH faster than if you were playing conscious hockey. To quote a hockey-goalie list member: "See the puck, Stop the puck, Simple."


Part II - The Physical Aspects of the Game

Goaltending is a VERY physical position to play. There are many different various ways of mentioning the moves below. The variation is up to you. I'm going to try to keep this short and sweet, since I could ramble for days about different moves. If you think that I've missed something important, please use the email link at the top of the page to let me know.

The stance and setup is the most important part of goaltending (well, it is tied with skating). You should notice that just about every move that I mention will start with a good set. Here are the basics for the stance and setup:

Legs apart

Knees bent

Butt down

Weight on toes

Hands out in front, away from the body.

Catch glove open (at knee level)

(Do it like the "Eagle")

As I mentioned above, skating ties with the stance for the most important aspect of skating. Long gone is the myth that the goaltender doesn't have to skate well. A matter of fact, the goaltender should be at least one of the best skaters on the ice. Here is the basics for moving around in goal:

Get a good set

Strong push

Transfer weight

Slide stick/skate to post (when sliding post to post)

Ask any goalie, and he/she'll tell you that goaltending is a game of angles. A quick definition of the "angle" is the position of the goaltender to the net and to the puck. A good angle is when the goaltender is covering the max amount of net possible (this varys by situation). The laydown on angles:

Start in the middle of the net

Turn your chest towards the puck

Move out from the net

Stop and Set

If you watch hockey a lot, you have probably noticed that more and more goalies are using the butterfly save. It is a excellent save that basically takes the bottom of the net out of play when used correctly. The butterfly style is an excellent style for beginner goalies to start with because it discourages the "froxen" stand up styles that many beginners start with. Here are the basics:

Open feet wider

Set youself lower

Both knees drop to ice

Stick on the ice

Meet the puck in front

("Do this funky new dance step!")

The skate save is one of the best moves the goaltender has to offer. It not only stops the puck from going into the net, but allows rebound control. Some people don't use the skate save and play quite well, but this shouldn't stop you from learning it. Just watch a pro hockey game. Count how many times the goaltenders use the skate save in a game. You'll be surprised. Here are the basics:

Good set

Read release from shooter

Turn your hips

Rear end drops

Pad goes down

Skate extends (in a semi-circle to keep blade on the ice

Toe points to corner

The quick across ice pass is quite the pain in the butt for goaltenders. If you know what to do, then you should do just fine. Here I am going to discuss two methods. The first is the 2 pad slide (aka stacking the pads), and the second is a method that I use which is called the hextall. Both methods are useful, the hextall just leaves you in a much better position to set yourself for a possible rebound shot/pass. Here are the basics:

The 2 Pad Slide:

Good set at post

Weight on inside leg

Leave as puck is passed

Push toward players stick

Down quickly on your side

Kick feet and stack pads

Block net with catch glove/blocker

(Richter in action)

The "Hextall"

Good set

Turn hips

Push towards players stick

Lay one pad down at an angle

Glove out in front, arm tight to body so no hole

Skate ready to be thrown out in a semi-circle

Blocker arm in tight so no hole

Same for reversed direction

(Hexy showing us how it's done)

Screened shots are extremely common. Even the best defense will screen the goalie several times during a game. A goalie should be talking to his/her defense during the entire game so that they know when they are screening you. But, never the less, it still happens. So here is what to do:

Read the pass to the player you are being screened from

Move quickly as close to the screener as possible*

Set up for the butterfly

Listen for the shot

Keep you stick on the ice, and glove up and open

React to the shot as needed

*- This will differ by the situation. If there is a man parked on the corner of the net, you should play back for the possible tip-in.

Deflections are a part of hockey. There is no way a goalie can expect that the puck will travel from the stick to them without touching anything. So here is what you should do:

Establish position ASAP

Know where the possible deflection(s) are

Face and play the shooter

Wait for the shot

Push towards the deflectors stick

Execute butterfly or stick/skate save

Breakaways are bound to happen. The defense can't be perfect all of the time. Goalies have to understand that they will get beat. You shouldn't get frustrated, you have to keep working and sticking to the basics. The breakaway is the most demanding moment for the goaltender, and it should be humored greatly. You can't expect to stop every shot, especially the really good ones. Here is the basics:

Be alert and recognize early

Dash out to the hash marks

Start back hard when shooter is 20-25 feet out

Try to match shooters speed

Watch ONLY the puck, not the stick

Wait for the shooter to commit him/herself

Push laterally on the deke

React to the shot (butterfly, 2 pad slide, skate/stick save)