How to be a Better Goalie in Hockey

It may be easy to think that a goalie doesn’t have to be as good a skater because they don’t seem to have to skate as much. Wrong, according to many coaches.

The goalie has to be one of the best ice skaters. The guardian of the net must be in constant motion, and maintain balance. They have to be able to drop down, get up quick, dive, slide, jump and be ready in a moment’s notice. A goalie also has to move side to side, which isn’t always that easy.

The Gear

The basic gear for a goalie is far more extensive than any other person on the team, and for good reason. They are the target for the puck.

A mask, throat guard (also known as a dangler), chest protector, arm protector, a goalie-specific jock, knee pads and leg pads and a blocker are all basic gear for a hockey goalie.

Ice Hockey Goalie

The Butterfly

One of the best attempts to block a goal is the butterfly style technique of goaltending. This is when you drop to your knees to block the oncoming puck, and it’s called the butterfly because the way the goal pads and hands spread looks like butterfly wings. It also blocks as much of the entry to the net as you possibly can.

Don’t sit too far back to make yourself small when doing a butterfly. Your chest should be up and glove out in front to cut off any high shots. Pads should be out to the side and flush to the ice so that pucks can’t sneak under.

Deflect the puck into the corner if possible and not out to the others so you can prevent a rebound. If a rebound occurs, get up with the outside leg first so that you will be in a push position.

The Shuffle

Use shuffling moves when the puck is in possession of the opposing team. Step with short shuffling movements and don’t drag the back leg. Lead with your stuck so that your hands guide you and try to stay square to the puck.

Body position

Stick: Hold it about a foot in front of the skates, resting on a slight angle to allow for a ready position. Never hold your stick straight up and down on the ice.

Feet: Keep them a little more than shoulder’s width apart with a slight ankle bend and weight on the balls of the feet.

Skates: Keep them parallel to each other as much as possible and always in ready position.

Knees:  Bend knees slightly forward to create pressure on the balls of the feet. Hold a stance similar to a batting stance.

Chest: Keep your chest up in order to keep balance and increase the net coverage.

Shoulders: Keep them parallel to each other.

Gloves: Keep them in front of the body with elbows slightly outside of the body.

Being a goalie is one of the hardest part of being a hockey player. Use these tips to help improve your game.

Playing Ice Hockey in the Snow