No Red Lights: Hockey: Technically: The Butterfly Slide - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

Technically: The Butterfly Slide

A few months ago, I wrote about the finer technical and physical aspects of dropping into a butterfly, namely how to make this move explosive (butterfly). The next logical item to cover is the Sliding Butterfly, which is a more complicated move. Because not all goalies learn the same, it is my hope that breaking down the physical mechanics of the Slide will help goalies understand how to execute an effective (and beautiful :) Slide.

So let's get to it. The mechanics of the butterfly slide rest solely on the coordination of the knees. If the lead knee (for example, if you are sliding right, this would be your right knee), does not drop before your trailing knee, you will not be able to start your slide while pushing. You will essentially be jumping or falling to the ice, rather than sliding. The idea is to slide on the lead knee, and this requires that the knee be on the ice while you push. You cannot execute a strong and effective Slide if you push only before the knee is on this ice. This is due to the physical force of friction. If you push while the pad is on the ice, you will negate the frictional forces of the ice, but if you do not push when your pad is on the ice, the friction will slow you down.

Dropping the lead knee first also performs an important function; it allows your pad to lie flat during the entire slide. If you push off to move laterally before dropping the lead knee, your five-hole area will increase, and you will be susceptible to shots on the ice. Once in motion, it will be harder to close the five hole once in the butterfly because your center of balance will be off. This is why it is important to squeeze the knees together once you are in your butterfly slide. The quicker that you can keep good balance while on your knees, the easier it will be to control your slide and your kick saves.

If you are watching the playoffs this year, take a look at Marc-Andre Fleury. He has one of the technically-best butterflys in the playoffs. Whenever he moves, he drops the lead knee right away and then closes the five-hole quickly be squeezing his knees together.

In the next article, I will discuss why doing the above descriptions are harder than they appear.