Goalies play perhaps the most important position in hockey. They are always in the spotlight and the outcome of every game often depends on their performance.
Practice time is where most of their development takes place. Goalies should make the most of every ice time, taking advantage of each opportunity to improve their overall game.
Here are some tips to help goalies achieve success between the pipes.
One of the most important aspects of being a good goalie is the ability to skate and skate well. They should be the best skater on their team and work on their edge work and goalie-specific skating skills every time they are on the ice.
They should be sure to practice pushing off and stopping on both their left and right side. Same goes for recovering from the butterfly position; they should work on getting back to their feet with their left and right legs. They should be strong on both sides.
EYES ON THE PUCK
Goalies should use their eyes to follow or track the puck. They should watch the puck off the shooter’s stick into their body or equipment; watch it in and watch it out. They should keep their eyes focused on the puck in the event a rebound is created, and they need to move into position to make a follow-up save.
This is another skill goalies should work on every time they are on the ice. One way they can do that is to practice passing the puck back and forth to their goalie partner or participate in some of the team’s stickhandling drills. They should also work on playing the puck with the stick using to their forehand and backhand.
They should play in a game with an active stick – blocking passes from behind the net, knocking loose pucks to the corners and stopping pucks behind the net that are dumped into the zone.
Goalies should work to control rebounds and eliminating additional scoring opportunities.
On shots on the ice, they should use their stick, if possible, to deflect the puck into the corner. When in the butterfly position, they should try to position their leg pads at a slight angle so pucks that hit their pads bounce toward the corners and not directly back to the shooter.
When they make a save to their blocker side, they should rotate their wrist so the puck deflects off the glove into the corner and out of the immediate scoring area.
BLOCKER AND CATCH GLOVES POSITIONING
When in the proper goalie stance or ready position, the blocker and catch glove should be positioned just off the outside edges of the leg pads to maximize coverage. If a goalie catches with their left hand, the catch glove should be held at a 2 or 3 o’clock position, slightly in front of the body with pocket facing the puck. If they catch with their right hand, the glove should be at 9 or 10 o’clock.
ALWAYS ABOUT THE NEXT SHOT
For goalies, it’s always about the next shot. If they make a save, have they moved into the proper position for a second or third shot? If they give up a goal, are they ready to stop the next shot they face? And it’s about competing. Goalies should do whatever they can to keep the puck out of the net and make the shooters earn whatever goals they get.
ABOUT COACH STEVE CARROLL
Edina native Steve Carroll is a Minnesota goalie development leader. He is in his 29th year of running weekend goalie clinics in Minnesota and Iowa or boys and girls, ages 6-14. He is also the goalie coach for the #1 ranked Gustavus Adolphus College women’s hockey team, which finished second the country in 2022. Learn more at www.carrollgs.com