Thursday, July 16, 2009

Handling Deflections and Tips

Deflections are a big part of the game today. The better the players, the more deflections and tips there will be. You have no control if a puck is going to be tipped or deflected but there are ways that you can prepare for them. Here's what you can do to help stop deflections and tips.

- Stand up as long as possible

- Spot different people that can tip or deflect the puck

- Try to get close to deflector so if puck is deflected it can't go out of reach

- Stay square to the puck

- Stay low and compact so nothing can get through and you're like a wall

- Stay as big as possible so nothing can get past

- Keep your stick on the ice

- Locate and cover rebounds quickly

Screen Shots

As you progress to a higher level of hockey you will soon find that there are a lot more screen shots. There's a lot more because the shots are so much harder so they just pass the puck to the point and get guys in front of you. This is a very common thing as you progress through the levels. Most goals these days you see in the NHL come from the point with at least one of their guys in front of the goalie. You will not always stop them but here are a couple of things that you should do to improve the amount of screen shots you save.

- Get in a low stance to locate puck and look around player

- Stand up as long as possible, don't commit until shot is taken

- Get as close to the screened player as possible

- Cover all low areas because that is where most goals are scored

- Stay square to puck

- Keep stick on ice

- Use your butterfly, or paddle down save

- Locate and cover rebound quickly so there is no second chance

Catching vs. Blocking Shots

Being a goalie there are only two different types of saves that you can make. Either a blocking save or a catching saves. The blocking save just hits you and bounces off or drops, and the catching save is where you catch the puck so there is no rebound. It's pretty clear that you would rather make a catch than a block so you can hold onto your rebounds and there will be no second chances. If the puck is in close you don't have much time to react to the shot so you will probably just have to block it. If the shot comes from far out you should always catch it.

When blocking the shot you want to come out nice and far so the puck can't slip around you because there isn't much time to react. Next you want to go into your butterfly when the shot is released to get maximum net coverage. When in your butterfly keep your hands and knees tight and compact to your body and your legs flared outwards to get maximum net coverage. By doing this you will cover most of your net and when the shot comes you make the save, make sure you cover the puck up a quickly as possible.

When making a catching save, always make sure that you have a second piece of equipment behind whatever you're catching with just in case you miss the puck accidentally.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Goalie Communication

Being a goalie doesn't mean just trying to stop the puck. It also means you need to communicate with your teammates. By communicating with your teammates, your team will have a great advantage in your own zone especially. By communicating you will let your teammates know where the puck is or who is pressuring them when they go behind the net to retrieve the puck. It's very simple.

You can communicate in many ways. When the other team dumps in the puck and they have pressure, I will yell "Man on man on" and if there is no one then I will yell "Time, time". If a player from the other team or your team gets out of the penalty box, slap your stick on the ice to let them know he is out. By doing just these little things you can really help out your team a lot.

Beating the Breakaway

Breakaways are rare, but when they come, you need to be on top of your game to make the big save. Just by making a breakaway save you can turn the momentum of the game around in your favor. There are lots of options for the player to make when coming down on a breakaway, and lots of things for the goalie to think about when being faced with a breakaway like will he shoot or deke? If he does shoot will it be high or low? Or could it be a fake shot. There are lots of things to think about. You can reduce the amount of things by just doing one thing. Challenging the shooter.

Here are a couple of things that you should always remember when being faced with a breakaway:

- Be aggressive (on top of crease)

- Play shooter for the first shot

- Don't back in to fast

- Let the shooter make the first move

- If you are really fast you can give the shooter a little bit of room and then quickly take it away when they shoot

- 80% of breakaway goals are scored between the goalies legs

- Keep your stick on the ice

- Follow the puck

- Do whatever it takes to keep the puck out of the net

Stick Saves

The goalies best tool of equipment is his stick. The goalies stick is very key because of all of the things you can do with it. Stick saves are a very important because of all the different ways to make them. If at all possible make the save with your stick instead of your pad if the puck is on the ice. There are many reasons for doing this. First, you get much better rebound control. With your stick you can control the puck exactly where you want it to go. If you angle your stick towards the corner that is where the puck will go. If you put a big angle on your stick you can make the puck go over the glass for a whistle. By controlling the puck with your stick you can help your team out a lot.

Here are a couple of things to remember when you are making a stick save:

- Keep your eye on the puck

- Keep your stick in front of you so you can angle pucks into the corner

- Keep a part of your body behind your stick just in case it misses the stick you still have backup

-Deflecting pucks to the corner comes from a good wrist movement

The Basic Butterfly

The butterfly is the most used save in hockey. It's used so often because most shots that come your way will be low. If they are high, they will most likely hit or go over your shoulder if you challenge the shooter. Most goalies use the butterfly because then you go down and are tight and compact, there is really no where to shoot and score. The butterfly is often used on close range shots because it's more of a blocking shot than a catching shot and if the shooter is in so close you will not have any time to react so you just need to make yourself as big as possible.

Here are a couple of key things to remember when going into the butterfly:

- Keep your knees on the ice

- Keep your stick in front of your pads on the ice

- Knees together but toes as far out as possible (covers more lower net)

- Glove and blocker just above the pads, out in front, and close to your body

- Keep your body upright

- Body should be square to puck to get maximum net coverage

- Challenge the shooter so there is no net showing

If you do these things every time you do your butterfly, it can increase your performance greatly.

Here is a picture of a good solid butterfly

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Basic Goalie Stance

Your basic goalie stance will be the most important part of your game. Especially when you are learning. It is so important because everything that you do in net requires you to start at your basic stance, move into your basic stance, and move from your basic stance. Everything you do is built off your basic stance.

There are some pretty basic guidelines that you should follow. Although all goalies have a different stance there are a couple of things that all great goalies do for maximum performance. In the end it all comes down to how you feel. If you feel that some of these techniques don't work for you than don't use them but they are just guidelines.

Things to keep in mind when going into your basic stance:

- Feet a little wider than shoulder width

- Knees bent to a comfortable angle

- Chest up facing the puck

- Stick on ice about 12-16 inches in front of you

- Both arms even height out in front of you

- Hands facing forward and open towards the puck

- Shoulders and arms relaxed

- Put 50% of your weight on your heels and 50% on the balls of your feet

- Even weight on each leg

Here is a good basic stance of all-star goalie Steve Mason.