Speak softly, and carry a big stick. That's what Theodore Roosevelt said about
running his presidential office. Even though he may not have had any opinions
about goaltenders, when it comes to the playoff hockey, his saying was right
Carrying the big stick means that a goaltender is playing hot! How hot? No more
than three goals a game. Better than a 90% save percentage. And a couple of
shutouts to keep everyone wondering. That is what you should see from NHL goaltenders like Brodeur, Khabibulin, and Joseph.
Since goaltending is one of the keys to playoff success, how do goaltenders
carry the big stick? Five fundamental goaltending techniques that you will see
these pro goaltenders use include an effective stance, knowing where you are
in net, efficient crease movement, playing the angles and controlling rebounds.
1. Stance refers to the way a goaltender positions his body in preparation for
a shot. An effective stance allows the goaltender to maintain proper balance,
cover the maximum net area, move as efficiently as possible, and feel comfortable.
2. Knowing where you are in net is important because a goaltender rarely has
time to look behind to see where the net is and where he is in relation to the
it. Awareness of position near the net must become second nature for the goaltender,
and is the kind of skill that is only developed through constant practice. There
are two methods a goaltender can use to determine where he is in relation to
the net without turning the head; tapping the posts and using reference points
on and around the playing surface such as the face-off dots/circles or locations
along the boards.
3. Efficient crease movement requires quickness, efficiency, agility, and the
discipline to maintain all of this while remaining in a proper stance. Goaltenders
are constantly starting, moving, and stopping when the play is in their end
in an effort to maintain proper position. Being a good skater is one of the
biggest assets for efficient crease movement.
4. Playing the angles is a technique used to position a goaltender in the correct
shooting line to cover the largest area of the net. The angles being referred
to are the surface angle and the aerial angle. The surface angle is created
by drawing a line from the center of the goal line to the puck (see Figure 1)
and the aerial angle is created by drawing a line from the crossbar to the puck.
By drawing these lines, angles are created with respect to the net that are
used by the goaltender to guide his body and glove/blocker to the most effective
placement. The goaltender's alley is the area formed by drawing lines from each
goal post to the puck. The puck must remain inside the alley to be on goal (barring
a redirection of the puck).
|Figures 1 and 2|
5. Controlling rebounds requires the goaltender to have a plan, and that plan
involves effectively reading the play. The rule is, if the team is under pressure,
the goaltender should stop play. Active rebounds are used to clear pucks into
corners or to the side boards after a shot when an attacker is rapidly approaching
Saves D' Jour. This drill provides the goaltender the opportunity to practice
making saves using the five fundamental techniques. In addition, it provides
the goaltender the opportunity to improve hand-eye coordination, reaction time
and movement time. Position five shooters in a semi-circle about 15 feet from
the net. At the whistle, player X1 shoots. At the next whistle, player X2 shoots.
Continue until all five players have shot. Repeat the drill executing shots
at the blocker, pads, skates, upper body, and stick.