Hockey Goaltending (part 6 of 6)

6. Tactics


Gap Control is about matching the shooter’ speed and controlling the space between himself and the shooter. … If the shooter gets too close to you, he can make a move in tight and get around you. … if there is too much space between you and the shooter, the shooter will be able to see larger portions of exposed net.

  • Wait out the shooter
  • The best shooting position on the ice is the slot. the best defense for a goaltender against a shot from the slot is to be at the top of the blue paint. Use the gauge as a starting point for gap control and match the opposition’s speed from there.
  • Be patient and control your timing

To maintain gap control, … let your momentum carry you forward – more like drifting forward. … The same goes for backward movement. Simply transfer your weight, release your feet backward, and allow yourself to drift.

Types of Breakaways

Straight-On Breakaway. When the shooter gets to the slot, the goaltender needs to be at the top of the paint. … You need to keep your stick lined up on the puck and face the blade of your stick at the puck. … Wherever the puck goes, your stick goes.

Is he going to shoot or is he deking? If the puck is in front of the shooter, he is in a position where he can’t shoot, so prepare to play the deke. If the puck is beside the shooter, he is a position to shoot but can still bring the puck in front of himself to deke you. If the player chooses to shoot, it is essential that you close the five-hole as quickly as possible.

If the player dekes, … move into a butterfly slide to follow the shooter to either side. Make sure you have enough backward momentum to enable yourself to slide to either post to make the save.

Breakaway From The Wing. The same principles that apply to the straight-on breakaway, except the shooter will be more prone to deke the goaltender. It is important for you to be aware of whether the shooter shoots right or left handed.

On a breakaway from the side, you will need more backward momentum and speed so you can get fully across your crease to the opposite post.

Short Breakaways. If the puck is turned over allowing the opposition a breakaway in tight, … move out, hold your position, and make a quick read on whether the shooter is going to shoot or deke.


Keep your head over the puck and your shoulders forward to cover the vertical angles. … (take away space from the top half of the net). … You then release back with enough momentum to move to either post with the shooter.

Poke Check. There are situations when you catch a player with his head down, providing an opportunity to kick the puck off his stick. … If you fully extend your arm and miss the puck, … you are completely committed and exposed. … Instead, use the nonextending poke check; move your forearm forward and jab at the puck with a quick motion without extending your hand up the shaft of the stick.

Defending Penalty Shots. You need to maintain good balance and be patient to try to determine what the shooter is going to do. … really it is about the shooter’s edge control and the rate at which he changes speeds to throw off your gap control.

Power Play

You will want to play a little deeper in the crease and wait for the play to develop rather than being overly aggressive. … You need to be aware of where all the opposing players are on the ice.

When the opposition’s intention is to get the puck moving east to west in an attempt to get you moving laterally. You want to play a little deeper; it is easier to move laterally because there are no opposing players or teammates to impede your movements. … You need to be aware of the backdoor player so you can make a read on the play and determine the best way to get across in time to make the save. .. If the opposing player is far enough out that you can get across and remain on your feet, then that is the best option for you. However, if the player is positioned closer to the net, you are better off to butterfly slide across so that you are in a save position when you arrive at your destination.

When on the power play, your ability to play the puck can have a large impact on your team’s success.

  • Watch the opposition’s bench … you may be able to play the puck up ice and catch them off guard during a line change
  • Keep an eye on the penalty box. … It is important for you to bang your stick on the ice to signify the end of the penalty to your teammates.


When you find yourself facing a screen … establish your position at the top of the crease early. … Use the hand opposite the side from which you are looking to hold off the player who is screening. Create your space.

Look to the shooter’s stick side as often as possible as long as that is the best viewpoint to locate the puck. … It is best to look around the screen, not over or under it. … Don’t pull yourself out of the middle of the net to see the puck. Don’t look under the screen; use your upper body to look around it.

Often, the opposition player providing the screen actually blocks the shot. .. You must be prepared to move laterally in your butterfly to follow the play.

Tips and Deflections

When the shot comes in, drop into the puck and the opposition’s stick blade at the same time. … Meet the puck at the point of the deflection and collapse your body over it. .. If a deflection is farther out, it is important to hold your position and not back into the net.


Remain down in the butterfly and wait out the battle as it ensues in front. If you see the puck in the crease, don’t dive to try to get it. … Choose net coverage by blocking the lower portion of the net in your butterfly instead of diving around the crease. … Take a lower position … stay physically strong and do not get pushed around.

Plays Off the Rush

One-on-One. The opposing forward has two options. He can either shoot or try to go around the defenseman. … if the opposition forward beats the defenseman wide, a breakaway situation will occur.

  • Don’t let up. … You can be beaten with an unexpected shot.
  • Make sure you have enough backward momentum in case the shooter pulls you across the crease.
  • Make sure you maintain good gap control and do not get caught flatfooted.

Two-on-One. The opposing player has three options: he can shoot to score, shoot it off the goaltender to create a rebound, or pass it to his teammate.

You need to have discussions with your defensemen in practice about how you are going to position yourself in a two-on-one. … You should play slightly stronger to the puck carrier’s side but be ready to play the pass.

You need to hold your ground and be aware of the nonpuck carrier’s position. If the nonpuck carrier is heading back door, then be ready to butterfly slide and take away the pass play. If the puck carrier shoots far side, you are already in a good position to make the save.

  • Maintain your angle on the shooter. If there is a pass option, play a little deeper in your net in preparation for a butterfly slide.
  • Gauge the speed of the opposition skaters early. Know which hand the shooters are.

Two-on-None. You should prepare for multiple passes back and forth. … You will need to play deeper in your net. The faster the play develops, the deeper you need to be in your net.

  • Be patient
  • Stay on your feet as long as possible
  • Read which hand both players shoot with

Three-on-Two. Hold position at the top of the crease. … If the opponents are far and spread out, you need to be able to push out and hold the top of your crease. If one player is going hard to the net and the pass comes across, you will need to butterfly slide to make the save.

Since a three-on-two is a slower developing play than the two-on-one, you can beat the pass by staying on your feet. Communication with your defenseman is key: “I got shot, I got shot.”

  • Stay with the puck carrier; hold the top of the paint as long as you can

Hockey Goaltending (part 5 of 6)

5. Puck Handling

Characteristics of an Effective Puck-Handling Goaltender

There are five main components that make an effective puck-handling goaltender.

Think and move your feet at the same time. … An inefficient goaltender freezes his feet when making a play to move the puck up the ice. … It is important to look up ice and keep your feet moving in the same direction.

Point and move your feet up ice. It is essential that you always have your feet pointed up ice. … You should always attempt to make plays up ice. Playing the puck backwards can be disastrous.

Transition efficiently to two hands on the stick. You need to be adept at getting both hands on your stick prior to making a play.

Move the puck to the forehand whenever possible. The puck is easier to control on the forehand, and often, passes are more accurate because you can see the play in front of you. … You are blind to the one side of the ice when you are making passes off the backhand.

Communicate with teammates. Skaters give goalies instructions on what to do with the puck while goalies alert the skaters to potential threats behind them. … Language used between defensemen and goalies should be as simple as possible, for example, leave it, over, or rim.

Gripping the Stick

There are two types of grips you can use when playing the puck: the overhand and the underhand grip. Very few goaltenders use the underhand grip.

Overhand Grip. The glove hand is placed over the top of the shaft of the stick. It is important that you use a firm grip, applying pressure on the thumb of your catching hand.

  • Allows you to use leverage by pushing down on the ice and forward on the puck
  • Excellent for short passes

Underhand Grip is used to shoot the puck. … Reach around the bottom of your stick and firmly place your glove on the underside of the stick and squeeze. Then, put pressure down on the ice and snap your hands forward to get the puck off your stick.

  • It is better for shooting and executing long passes.

Passing the Puck

  • Ensure you have a strong bottom hand on the stick
  • Point your fee at your intended target
  • Choose the easiest option

Playing Rims

Anytime there is a shot around the boards from outside the blue line, you should leave the net to play the puck.

Stopping a Rim. … Goaltenders are become more adept at handling rims using just their sticks. This is the preferred method of handling a rim as opposed to the whole-body technique. … After successfully stopping a rim:

  • Stop It Dead. When a hard rim comes around, get behind the middle of the net, stop the puck completely, and leave it for your defenseman.
  • Touch and Move. When the rim comes in on your backhand, … stop the puck dead, pull it off the wall, and send it to your defenseman in one continuous motion … without breaking skating stride.
  • Keep the Rim Going. Instead of stopping the rim, simply continue the puck around the boards to make a direct pass to a teammate … in one fluid motion.
  • Set the Puck. You stop the puck and pull it off the wall, making it accessible to your teammate’s forehand. Then, you must quickly get back into the net.

Rims to the Forehand Side. Where is the optimal position to make first contact with the puck? Do I stop the puck and play it up ice or simply leave it for my defenseman? … If there is very little pressure from the opposition, you can stop the puck for your defenseman and let him orchestrate the play out of the defensive zone. When more pressure is applied, you can either move the puck up ice to a defenseman, provided he is open, or get the puck out of your own zone to alleviate the pressure.

Position yourself directly behind the net and place your stick firmly against the wall to meet the oncoming puck.

Rims to the Backhand Side. Backhand rims are handled quite differently than those that come to the forehand. … When stopping a puck on the backhand, you should try to use your momentum to pivot and transition the puck to the forehand whenever possible. … Position yourself directly behind the net and using the top hand to guide, jam the toe of your stick firmly against the boards to create a blockade.

Dump-Ins on Goal

  • When a long dump-in shot approaches the net, you must come out at the puck and butterfly so it doesn’t skip over you and into the goal.
  • When a dump-in comes along the ice, you want to back up your stick with your glove. Once you have control of the puck, you can make a play up ice.
  • When a dump-in on goal is high, you should catch the puck and bring your glove to the ice with momentum so the puck lays flat.

Dump-Ins to the Stick Side

We divided the ice surface into three zones: the reinforcement zone, the forehand zone, and the paddle-down zone.

Reinforcement Zone  is the area either directly on goal or close to it … cautiously handle the puck by backing up your stick with the glove, body, or a combination of both. … After the puck has been stopped and controlled, you can then scan the ice to make the optimal play. … If the best play is to your forehand, make sure to step back from the puck and move it directly on your forehand.

There are instances where your optimal play is to make a quick forward outlet pass with one hand on the stick, for example, when the defenseman is skating quickly back toward you.

Forehand Zone is the midway portion between the goal and the corner of the ice. … Leave your net quickly to intercept the puck before it crosses the goal line, skate past the puck as it approaches, and turn your body to receive the puck on your forehand.

Paddle-Down Zone is the area beside the net near the far corner of the ice. … Stopping the puck above the red line is accomplished by utilizing the paddle-down-above-the-goal-line technique. … and then get up and rotate over the front of the puck , bringing the puck to the forehand.

Leaving and Returning to the Net

It is more efficient for you to enter the net on the side of the goal you play to puck or whichever direction continues the momentum of your current movement.

Cutting the Post. When entering or exiting, rather than taking a wide turn by the net, it is best to skate as close to the post as possible.

Setting a Pick. After setting the puck, simply take a little more time getting back to your net. Then, given the opportunity, bump into the opposing forechecker. … When setting a pick, don’t cut the post. Instead, come in a little wider.

Hockey Goaltending (Part 4 of 6)

4. Postsave Recovery

The ability to control rebounds and get into position and make second and third saves is one of the key components that separates goaltenders at all levels.

Post save Recovery Skills

When moving to your next spot, you wan to fill the space in the middle of the net as quickly as possible. … You need to gauge how much time you have before the next shot. You should ask yourself, “Is there time to get up and move to the next position, or am I going to stay down?”

If the rebound comes out to a shooter who is in close, you will want to move using path of direction, keeping your body tight (blocking butterfly) to face the second shot. If the rebound goes out a little farther but the shooter is still close to the puck, you will still want to stay down and use a butterfly with active hands. … If the shot goes out to a shooter at a farther distance and the shooter is a little farther from the puck, you should get to your feet and move into position to face the second shot.

Your decision to stay up or go down depends on the player’s proximity to the puck. If the shooter is close to the puck, stay down. if the shooter is farther away from the puck, then it is better to get up and ready yourself. … the safer bet is to stay down and cover the higher-risk play by blocking the lower part of the net. If the rebound goes out to the side, with the potential of another shot coming immediately, you have to load with your inside edge and outside skate to push across and explode into a save.

Post Leans

The Vertical Horizontal and the Reverse Vertical Horizontal will now be referred to as a “lean”. Shoulder lean positions are used to defend against plays out of the corner.

To execute the blocker-side lean, keep your pads tightly sealed along the ice, using your back leg for support, and keep your chest and hands up in an active ready position. Feel the post against your shoulder. Keep a strong seal against the post, don’t go beyond the post in your lean.

The glove-side lean looks very much like the blocker-side lean. … Don’t pull off the post early. … Always keep your eye on the puck.

Lead-leg recoveries are used when you need to recover onto your feet from a post lean. Instead of driving of your back leg, you are using your lead leg to pull you up and into position on your feet. A back-leg recovery is used to move while staying down on the ice or moving onto your feet from the butterfly.

To execute a lead-leg recovery

  • Point your lead skate in the direction you want to move
  • Open your front-leg skate in a C-cut position.
  • Putting your weight on your front leg, pull yourself forward with your upper body using your chest, hands, and stick for momentum.
  • Bring your head forward through the motion.

Post Reaches

How to best follow the play and move post to post when the puck is behind the net.

In no other part of the game are you exposed to as many threats as when the puck is being played behind the net. For this reason, we have developed the 75-25 rule.

In a lean postion, you will be 100 percent committed to the near post. As the puck goes farther behind the net, you need to widen your stance, thus creating a window over your shoulder whereby you can see where the puck is. So as your stance widens, you are now committed 75 percent to the near post, but with 25 percent awareness and commitment to the far post. When the puck travels past the halfway point behind the net, you should move your upper body, keep your eyes on the puck, and commit 100 percent to the other post. … Always bring your lower body across first and be in a ready position if the play should revert to the near-side post. This is one situation where you do not lead with your head to get to the other post. … Once the play moves out in front of the net, use a lead-leg recovery and move out to defend the play.


When defending the blocker side, you have two options … you can defend using the paddle-down technique. … you can use an active stick defense and attempt to take the puck off the opposition’s stick. … The active-stick technique is better suited to breaking up pass plays out of the corner.

When defending a glove-side wraparound, it is essential that your glove be facing the puck in a ready position and that you maintain a tight seal on the post while continuing to watch the puck.

Stretch Saves

There are instances when a rebound ends up in a dangerous position. Although you may be required to make a stretch save, you still want o be in control of your movements. … in close proximity to the net, you will need to first inside-edge push and then extend your body.

Inside-Edge Push Into an Extension

Assume that after making an initial save in a butterfly position, the rebound goes out to a dangerous spot, and the opposition shooter takes a high shot. You may be forced to inside-edge push and extend your upper body as far as possible to make the save. You are in essence making a save while in motion. … the key is to inside-edge push and react to wherever the puck is headed. For example, you could be moving to your right, and the puck is shot to your left, forcing you to extend your body in the other direction.

Inside-Edge Push Into a Full Split

In the case where a rebound goes to a shooter who quickly fires a shot to the low corner of the net, you may be required to extend your lower body into a full-split save position.

Inside-Edge Push Into Upper and Lower Extension

In other circumstances, you may be required to extend both your upper and lower body at the same time.

Net Management

It is important that you move with precision between your posts. Net management is about not pushing outside the confines of your posts. … If an opponent has the puck on the wall at the hash marks, you start on the post. As the shooter skates toward you with the puck

  • Come off the post, at the shooter
  • Push out and overcomer on the short-side post; otherwise, as soon as you drop into the butterfly, you will be exposed on the short side.

Corralling and Covering Rebounds

In many instances, a rebound will come off your upper body or pads and end up right in front of you. … you want to retrieve the puck with your stick, pull it in, and cover it with your glove. … When covering the puck, attack the loose puck.

  • If you are forced to make a paddle-down save, … just reach over the top of the paddle and cover the puck with your glove.
  • Stop the puck first and then cover it
  • If the rebound is just out of reach and it turns into an in-tight breakaway situation, always try to get to your feet to defend.

Hockey Goaltending (Part 3 of 6)

3. Save Execution

The Butterfly

How fast you can drop down and be in a save position is the most important attribute you can have. … Goaltenders who are slow dropping into their butterfly must drop earlier to compensate for their lack of quickness. Dropping too early exposes the top portion of the net for a longer period.

Most saves are made from the butterfly position. … There are two types of butterfly positions. The active butterfly is an upright position with active hands and is used for plays that are farther out. The blocking butterfly is more compact, keeping everything tight, and it is used for plays in close.

Dropping into the Butterfly Position

It is important not to force your butterfly to be too wide. Let your position come to you naturally. When you use an unnatural butterfly and try to go as wide as you can, it slows you down as you go to the ice. Building on your butterfly width takes time and practice.

  • You should have a slight forward lean.
  • Drive your knees down to the ice. Let your hips generate the power.
  • Keep your feet in their set position on the ice… only your knees should move ahead.
  • Have a slight bend at the waist, and stay agile with hands up in a ready position

Moving in the Butterfly Position

The Inside-Edge Push is used to move across your ease when down in the butterfly position. This is utilized when you want to end up in a butterfly position at a different destination in the crease.

  • Make sure your head and shoulders take a slight turn in the direction of your destination.
  • Plant the back skate on an angle toward your destination
  • Keep your lead shoulder and leg forward
  • Keep your head down and push

Back-Leg Recovery

The goaltender will be required to move to a new destination and end up on his feet in a stance.

  • Turn your head and shoulders in the direction you want to move
  • Bring your front leg slightly underneath your body
  • Maintain active hands throughout the movement
  • Bring your back leg slightly behind, plant your skate on an angle, and drive off the back skate
  • Open up the lead skate and T-push into position, returning to a regular stance

Remember that “once it goes, it stays.” Never move a part of your body one way and then pull back to load up.

Butterfly Slide

Moving from a stance and sliding into a butterfly position at a new destination in the crease.

  • Turn your head; turn your shoulders
  • Lead with the lead side of your body.
  • Turn and pivot with your lead leg.
  • Push off you back leg and land on your lead knee, sliding directly into position and ending up in a butterfly.

Types of Save Executions

Glove Saves

The key principle is having it out in front of your body, ready to make a save. … A glove save can be executed from both a standing and a butterfly position. … From both positions, you must track the puck, stay on top of the shot, and watch it all the way into the glove, catching it in front of the body, not to the side.

  • Watch the puck
  • Have your hand meet the puck

Blocker Saves

To initialize proper blocker-hand positioning, the goalie should keep his wrist in a nearly straight line with his forearm. The key to executing ta proper blocker save is to be able to direct the rebound into the corner.

  • Watch the puck all the way into your blocker
  • Turn your wrist outward to direct the puck to the corner
  • Watch the puck off your blocker.

On higher shots close to the body, there is a tendency to reach with the hand … The elbow must be held up so you do not direct pucks too high

Stick Saves

As a rule, short side shots should not be handled with the stick. … short side shots along the ice can be better controlled with a butterfly pad save.

When defending a far blocker-side shot, you should deflect the puck out of play. Turn your stick off the thigh rise of the pad, and send the puck over the glass behind the net. … Don’t slice at the puck; let it come to the stick, and turn it aside by rotating the paddle of your stick off of your thigh rise.

Defending the far-side glove shot requires a different technique. … Keep your stick along the ice at an angle and use a knifing motion to send the puck into the corner or out of play.

Pad Saves

The key to executing a proper pad save is to be able to extend the leg, making the save while keeping your other leg in position. … Slightly transfer your weight toward the save leg to ensure the pad has a tight seal to the ice.

Body-Containment Saves

The position of a body-containment save is a butterfly, with hands forward and tight to the body. … Do not allow the blocker to come in so far that it deflects the puck.

  • Keep your stick on the ice.
  • Do not try to cover the puck in your body using your blocker hand.
  • If the puck escapes your body, you will need to retrieve the puck with your stick.
  • Support the save with the glove so the puck drops off the body into the glove.

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.

Hockey Goaltending (part 1 of 6)

Hockey Goaltending: The Definitive Guide to Elite Goaltending

By: Eli Wilson and Brian van Vliet (2018)

[Pigeonhole] A Practical Rule Book

[Premise] Being good at Hockey Goaltending is a progression from proper positioning through standard movements and into reactive tactics.  This progression of knowledge must be reinforced through specific drills in practice sessions and in live game scenarios. This book is the training manual to prepare you for real games.


  1. Selecting and Fitting Gear (p 1-14)
  2. Stance and Movement (p 15 – 36)
    • Drills 13 – 14
  3. Save Execution (p 37 – 62)
    • Drills 52 – 62
  4. Postsave Recovery (p 63 – 90)
    • Drills 78 – 90
  5. Puck Handling (p 91 – 114)
    • Drills 108 – 114
  6. Tactics (p 115 – 136)
    • Drills 127 – 136
  7. Off-Ice Training (p 137 – 198)
  8. The Mental Game (p 199 – 214)
    • Drills 211 – 214
  9. Mentoring the Complete Goaltender (p 215 – 229)

[Key Points]

The following 6-Part blog will focus on the pure tactical side of on-ice goaltending.  It is a digest of the basic movements and positions to get started in Hockey Goaltending. The digest will not go into the specific drills of the first six chapters, nor go into the second half of the book which is about specific exercise routines as well as coaching yourself and others. Each part of the 6-part blog reflects the key points of the corresponding chapter.


Goalie Pads

There are two types of goalie pads that are designed and engineered specifically for controlling the puck and preventing a goal. (They) are called the flat-face goalie pad and the knee-roll goalie pad, as these two attributes are the key visible differences. The flat-face goalie pad has one continuous plane from top to bottom, and the knee-roll goalie pad typically has three horizontal three-dimensional rolls running across the knee region.

Flat-Face Goalie Pads are designed for goalies who want to look big to cover more net. The goaltender who prefers this style of goalie pads is looking for a big rebound to the corner and out of play to allow time to recover from dropping to his knees.

The Knee-Roll Goalie Pad is designed fro goalies who are extremely agile when moving across the crease and want ta softer pad that fits tightly to their leg so it feels as thought it is an extension of them.

Catch Glove

Much like goalie pads, there are different closing breaks in all glove models. Some gloves, for example, close toward the fingers, and some close toward the thumb. One break is not better than the other; rather, the break is about comfort and forearm strength. Gloves are described as having either a 60- or 90-degree angle, which refers to the angle of the thumb.

Options are also offered in the tee pocket design. Most goalies prefer the double tee for its deep pocket and increased visibility from more lacing areas in which to see the puck, especially when smothering in front of the net. … they select the regular lacing option, as the skate lacing is wider and can reduce visibility.

Harder shots are being felt between the cuff and the catch area of the two-piece glove. This situation has created the need for a one-piece cuff, where the cuff and catch are integrated and provide more protection in the wrist and forearm areas.


The best pro goalies today use blockers that provide a large inside thumb and cuff protectors that not only protect the hand and wrist but also provide more blocking surface.

Chest Protector

Like goalie pads, chest protectors are available in two styles: squared, for goalies who want to look big and cover more net, and angular for goalies who want to maximize their mobility in the crease.

The most important areas of protection in the chest protector are the clavicle and sternum. The front midchest area is often positioned away from the body so that if the puck were to hit your chest, the air between the protector and your body would absorb the energy.


Goalie pants are designed to maximize your coverage and protect the thigh and groin areas; today, however, many designs are engineered with unique features to make you look big and increase your mobility. … You will need to consider whether you tuck in your chest protector or wear it outside the pants


It is important that the mask fits the head and that it is anchored at the chin cup. The more toward the front of the mask the face sits, the greater the peripheral vision.

The chin anchors the mask. The mask should fit snugly without any gaps between the forehead and cheek area and the inner foam. … There should be an inch or two between your nose and the cage. After the mask has been properly positioned, the back plate should be secured with the snaps and the elastic adjusted so the back plate is inside the shell.


An asymmetrical cuff on skate can provide more flexion when you are deep in your stance or in the power push, and it can also assist with recover to stand up. … It is important to ensure that your skate boot be constructed with high-performance composite materials with strategic reinforcements where goalies could receive a shot. (The toe area)


It is important that you have the correct stick length for your height and stance. … Two stick constructions are available: foam core and composite. … The main performance benefit of a foam-core stick is the foam reinforcement within the paddle to dampen the vibration from the puck. Composite goalie sticks are the lightest stick option.

A medium-size heel curve, which is very open, is designed to clear the zone. … A big heel curve, which is slightly open is deeper to help move the puck quickly. A medium midcurve position in the center of the blade is slightly open and is great for controlling the puck around the net.