No Red Lights: Hockey: Ready, Get Set.... STOP! - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

Ready, Get Set.... STOP!

I firmly believe in the fundamentals of Goaltending.  Most goalies I coach would probably concur - I try to mostly teach skating ability and positioning, rather than hand placements and specific moves. Although I found myself teaching a lot more of the butterfly slides than I philosophically want to. I think that generally, it is easier to teach about the butterfly than it is to instruct on the topic of this entry: Getting Set and Stopping. It is easy to tell a goalie to do butterflies, to get up with their "weak leg," and to even to power-slide. But telling a goalie to be patient, to stop before shots and to not back into their crease is probably the hardest to teach. Instead of an article on coaching though, here's why stopping and getting set is so important for goalies.

In an earlier post (Do the Shuffle!), I noted the importance of stopping, and how it makes a goalie more explosive. This ties into being Set before the shot. Fundamentally, there are two main reasons (both which have the same consequence) for being Set. 1) It makes your reactions quicker because your body weight is distributed evenly, or at least more even; and 2) you hold your ground. The goalie will maintain a good depth in their net and not back into their crease.  If you ever find yourself making a save on your goal line, it is most likely because you did not stop to get Set before the shot (with breakaways and walkouts from behind the net being the exception).

I have come to believe that many goalies do not like to get Set because they are a) not very patient, b) they are afraid the forward will beat them (they aren't fast enough skaters) or c) because it is tough to do. It is much tougher on your legs to rely on your shuffles and T-pushes than it is to coast backwards. For younger goalies, who are not physically mature, skating backwards rather than doing T-pushes seems like an easier move. It does not hurt the legs as much, and they can still get away with it since most forwards are not as skilled too.

The problem with this is being square. Going backwards does not rotate the hips (the shoulders can still rotate to face the puck). Without the hips, the biggest part of the goalies body and the part that controls body weight and balance is twisted. Trying to make a save while twisted proves to be increasingly harder as well. The body is not meant twist in jerking motions, or to sustain the impact of a puck from the side (i.e. getting hit on the side of the ribs does not feel that good). By rotating towards the puck first before moving, the goalie can make a faster move and maintain good positioning in the crease (i.e. not back in to the goal line). But this is contingent on being set because if a goalie is skating backwards, their movement will not be as quick since they will have to redistribute their body weight and will more likely try to make c-cuts instead of a t-push or shuffle.

The take away from this article: be patient! Stop to get Set before shots, and you will have a better chance of being on top of your crease and being square to the shooter.