No Red Lights: Hockey: Shuffle cont. - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

Shuffle cont.

Back to shuffling - the most basic, fundamental move of a goalie. In short, the bedrock of a goalie's style.

Why do I stress its importance so much?  Because you can't run without walking first, and likewise, you can't save what you can't get to.  A goalie needs this basic foundation of movement in order to raise their game to the next level, and that level is all about positioning. If you are not in position to make a save, the job becomes a lot harder. You might have to stretch out across the crease or make a flashy, desperation save.

In the end, it does not matter how you made the save or if you were in position; as long as that puck does not go in the net, your job has been done.  But good positioning which can decrease the number of times you have to make that desperation save, which will ultimately result in fewer scoring opportunities for your opponents. The bottom line - make  your life easier by getting in position. And shuffling is how you stay in position.

The second crucial component to shuffling is stopping (for the first component, see the earlier post Do the Shuffle!!). Because of the dead-weight nature of the back leg, the shuffle often is a lot longer than it needs to be. A good, quick shuffle only moves a shoulder length in distance. Too often, goalies try to do one long shuffle, when really two or three are needed to stay in position. Also, the snap of the back leg (as discussed in the first Shuffle post) can only start when the goalie has stopped. That is one reason why emphasizing stopping is important; it means shorter movements and can begin the snap of the back leg.

The more important reason for a quick stop is so that the goalie can be in a position to make a save. When a goalie moves, the goalie is restricted from making certain movements. For example, the body weight must transition in order to go in the opposite direction. Also, it is tougher for the trailing leg's knee to drop, which is important in order to close the five-hole on the butterfly. By making quicker stops, the goalie has more time when they are set [To be set is to be ready for the shot: completely still, patient, weight evenly distributed, squared to the puck, in ready-position] and being set will allow the goalie to react quicker.

Stopping is also an important part of the mental game, but not the goalie's mental game - the shooter's mental game. A good shooter, who has their head up and is reading the goalie for weak spots, will look to shoot when the goalie is moving. Instinctively, the shooter knows that the goalie's reactions will be slower when in motion (this is because of the pure physics of motion and movement. The weight distribution and inertia of the goalie will slow down their reaction and quickness). A goaltender, who is patient and in ready position (i.e. not moving), will look more imposing to the shooter. The shooter thinks that the goalie has the upperhand, which could change what the shooter wants to do.

For all of the reasons above, practice your shuffle!  They are the most used goalie movement and has many implications in the game. This is why improving your shuffle will be the easiest way to improve your whole game.