No Red Lights: Hockey: Explosive Stick Movement, what!?!? - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

Explosive Stick Movement, what!?!?

Just like shuffling, I'm sure most goalies are saying to themselves - "how can stick placement make me faster? I mean, the stick just sits there, covers the five hold and every once in a while gets to poke check an unsuspecting forward. But (again) simplicity reigns supreme; the stick is connected to the hand, which controls the shoulders, and the shoulders drive rotation. Henceforth, explosiveness is conceptually derived from stick placement. And in layman's terms, the hands are important to moving, so use them.

The very simple example of your hands controlling your movement is to try and run with your hands behind your back. Try it; it's awkward. And try it preferably while running on a soft surface, just in case.

So now that the physics are explained, there are three ways that stick placement can be explosive: 1) in rotating the goalie's torso, 2) a pokecheck and 3) covering the five hole. I will explain the stick's involvement in body rotation first because it is the most important, most technical and least talked about. Torso rotation is inadvertently implied when a goalie is told to "square up." [Squaring up is when a goalie faces the puck and is on their angle] In most goalie drills, the goalie faces away from the puck and is told to square up to it. While this does teach angles, positioning and skating movement, it also teaches torso rotation (and usually without the goalie's knowledge). In order to get square, the head, shoulders, hips and skates need to face the puck... and this is where stick placement comes in.

If the goalie leads with their hands, they accomplish two things and resist doing another that would slow them down. 1) They use the momentum of the hands swinging around the body (which leads to a quicker movement), and 2) they do two moves at once by rotating while
moving (instead of doing two separate moves: moving and then rotating). 3) Lastly, by bringing their hands with them, the goalie is not leaving one hand behind them. This is the biggest problem for goalies. When the hands get separated (i.e. one hand is behind the goalie and the other in front), the shoulders have to rotate. The hand that is left behind pulls the shoulder backward, which will slow the goalie's movement as well as keep the goalie from being square. While I hope that I have thoroughly explained the importance of torso rotation and the role that the hands (and thus the stick) play in torso rotation, I hope to have some sort of visual aid to contribute to this subject. The next post will explain the finer points of stick movement during 2) the poke check and 3) while covering the five hole.

Until then, good luck with the upcoming season!!