No Red Lights: Hockey: Do the Shuffle!! - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

Do the Shuffle!!

While I do love a good pun, please excuse the cheesy-ness of the title :) 

In continuation with the explosiveness theme, the explosive shuffle is elusive because of the fundamental nature of shuffling. By definition, a shuffle is a short movement -- so how can it not be quick? and how explosive can it really become? This is all true; there is not much to the shuffle, but do not confuse its simpleness with easiness.  The shuffle is not easy (at least to do well).

Because of the shuffle's simplicity and fundamental nature, goalies often become complacent in practicing it. The general thinking is: "I shuffle in practice all the time, in every drill; why do I need to waste time practicing it when I could practice making saves (and i'll get shuffle practice at the same time)?" Do not fall into this trap!  Half the battle in goaltending is proper positioning, and shuffles are the way that you will get there.  Goalies tend to forget to shuffle when concentrating on the shot. Until shuffling because second nature and it is used properly when making saves, goalies will need to continue to practice their shuffling.

There are two main components to making your shuffle quicker: making the dead weight (your trailing leg) quicker and making your stops quicker.  Weird right? Why would stopping make you quicker? Doesn't that go against all common wisdom? One of my favorite quotes to relate to goaltending comes from the movie Million Dollar Baby. Morgan Freeman narrates:

"Frankie likes to say that boxing is an unnatural act, that everything in boxing is backwards: sometimes the best way to deliver a punch is to step back... But step back too far and you ain't fighting at all. "

This quote can almost sum up goaltending in a nutshell. Maybe i'll write more on this later because it would be an awesome analogy...

So the first part - the trailing leg. Think of the trailing leg as dead weight; it can only slow you down and keep your 5-hole exposed longer. When shuffling, I found it best to think of the back leg as having a rubber band attached to the front leg. Once the legs get too far apart, the back leg needs to snap quickly back into place. It is the snap that is the most important. This will allow the goalie to a) close the 5-hole quicker and b) gain some more momentum. This momentum will make the goalie quicker.

There is also a mental component to this snapping move. Like the Muhammmad Ali reference in an earlier posts' title (Quick like a butterfly... sting like a bee), the mindset of a quick snap, like a rubber band, can help a goalie think quicker. And that small mental edge can also make the goalie quicker.

In the next post, the second component to a quick shuffle will be explored... as well as more on the Million Dollar Baby analogy -- what a great quote :)