Hockey Goaltending (part 2 of 6)


The key for successful goaltenders is to keep their game simple and efficient. … We are now going to look at five basic stances

The Regular Stance

The regular stance is mostly used when you are set to face a shot or scoring chance

Feet. The ideal foot placement is slightly wider than your shoulder width. … Find the position in your stance that provides both comfort and efficient lateral movement.

Knees. Bend your knees. … Having bent knees brings your lower to the ice, which improves your reaction time to get into a butterfly position.

Torso. You should lean your upper body forward with your “nose over toes.” The chest is upright with the lean coming from the hips. The shoulders should be held back with the chest out. You must avoid rounding your shoulders and upper back forward. … Maintaining this angle provides the perfect balance between tightness and the ability to react. Keeping the elbows bent automatically sets the forearms and gloves a few inches above the hips and thighs.

Stick. The stick is always held in front of the body on the ice … so the blade can be seen  in the goaltender’s peripheral vision. … The stick is … used to drive movement whether moving forward off the post or laterally from side to side. You want to be a “stick-first” goaltender. When moving forward, your hands and stick drive out as a guide. The same thing is true when moving laterally; the stick is used as a balance and drive point to move into position.

Hands. You should hold your hands forward of your trunk. This position gives you a peripheral view of your gloves and allows access to pucks in more positions both beside and in front of your body, called double coverage, by holding your gloves in front of an outside of your body.

The Tall Stance

The tall stance is used when the play does not pose an immediate threat. The idea behind this stance is that you can conserve energy and at the same time have  greater field of vision.

The main technical difference between the regular and tall stances is foot positioning. The goaltender places his feet shoulder-width apart in the tall stance. … By bringing the feet closer together, the goaltender can now straighten his body and bring his hips forward. The arms and gloves should not move. The goaltender’s stick will come up off the ice.

The Low Stance

In constrast to the tall stance, the low stance is used for situations in tight to the goaltender. … To drop into the low stance, … [push] your feet out into a wider position and [bring] your hips back.

Your arms and hands should not be moving. Your elbows should be kept close to your ribs, and you should be in full control of your forearms.

Post Stances

Post stances are the foundation to defend all plays that take place down low or below the red line. … It is extremely important that you can move uninhibitedly from the post to defend any scoring chances that arise in front of you.

Blocker-Side Post Stance

  • Have a tight seal and be in ready position with the chest up and the body slightly bent toward the post so you can move from your post position easily. You want to avoid “hugging” the post.
  • The heel of your skate is tight to the inside of the post, which in turn butts the pad up to the post, and the heel of your stick butts up to the toe of your post skate. Your shoulder is set against the post, and your head is bent slightly downward so your eyes are down over the puck.
  • Carry your hands, which means keeping your elbows in tight to your body and thus flaring your hands out into a ready position. … Make sure your head is forward over your toes and angled down.
  • Keep your back leg adjustable depending on where the play moves.

Glove-Side Post Stance

You want to be in a lean position on the post with your chest up and head in a downward position looking over the puck. It is important to maintain a tight seal on the post but not be locked into position so you can move off the post easily as the play develops in front of you.

  • The outside of your heel should be butted up firmly to the post
  • The toe of your stick is set tight against the toe of your post skate, or you can position the heel of your stick against the toe of your skate.
  • Hold the stick tightly so a puck can’t be banked off the stick and into the net. … There is no right or wrong way (palm out or palm in) to hold the glove.
  • Use the back leg as a steering mechanism to pull yourself through the center of the net.


Head-First-Stick-First Goaltending

Whenever moving form one location to another, you lead with your head, with your hands and stick as a guide. You should simply turn your head, keeping your chin downward, and drive to the destination while keeping your hands and stick out front and using the stick as a balance point.

Path of Direction

In basic terms, path of direction means you are always moving through the center of the crease to get to your next position on the ice – always taking away the middle of the net as early as possible. … Rather than trying to get to your next destination as quickly as possible, you are trying to cover the middle of ht net as quickly as possible. … the key is to chase space, not the puck.


When performing the C-cut, the heel of the goalie’s lead skate comes back toward the body by cutting through the ice in a “C” Figure. As the heel is coming back to the body, the goaltender opens his ankle toward the puck and lets the toe point at the new angle. The goalie lets his back foot pivot.

when executing a forward C-cut, the goaltender turns the toe outward and pushes down and forward on the back inside edge. The, he returns the push leg into a regular stance position as quickly as possible. For a backward C-cut, the goaltender turns the to inward and push down and forward on the front inside edge before returning the push leg into a regular stance position.


It is used for lateral movement, forward movement off the post, and retreating to the post. .. It is used almost every time the puck is passed.

The goalie will rotate his body before pushing. He does this to reposition himself so he can attack a new angle produced but he puck’s ever-changing position. … the inside of the lead skate is parallel to the puck and the toe of that same skate is pointing perpendicular to the new angle created by the new puck position. This means that the lead skate will now be pointing at the position where the goaltender wants to end up.


Keep both toes pointed at the puck. … Use the lead skate to initiate the movement. Every time the goaltender reaches with his lead skate, he mist bring his back leg towards his body.

Stance and Movement Drills

Except for turning the head to locate and track the target, when you move, there should be no indication above the waist that you are moving at all.