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Controlling Your Crease

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How many of you are aware of all the little things that affect your ability to control what goes on around your crease and actually live those things on a regular basis? Iíll bet most of you barely scratch the surface of your crease controlling potential because you donít see the value in the ďlittle thingsĒ that determine how good you will be. Controlling your crease involves a lot more than simply hanging out and waiting for a puck to be shot at you. Think of yourself as a pie. If you sliced off 75% of that pie and threw it away, you wouldnít have much left to offer. Well, when you ignore 75% of goaltending methods like angles, intensity, stickwork and hockey sense, you are trying to succeed with only 25% of your potential.

Here are some of the little things that allow you to dominate your crease:

1) You Combine Hockey Sense With Good Footwork.
You can read the other teamís scoring options as they approach you and move your feet to beat them to the scoring angle so you are already set when they release the puck. Many of you get caught puck watching and are late moving to position.

2) You Never Give Up!
Unless the puck has gone in and the red light is on, you should never give up on the play. Second effort and the intensity to do whatever you can to keep the puck out is something YOU have complete control over. I see way too many goalies with potential who play like they couldnít care less whether they get scored on or not. Donít be passive!

3) Your Stick Is Not A Crutch
I donít see too many goalies who really ďget itĒ when it comes to using the stick. Do you take the time to practice clean sets and exchanges with your D so you donít cough up the puck to the opposing forecheckers? Do you prevent passes to the slot? Can you pokecheck players who are crashing your crease? Can you make efficient passes to start your teamís breakout? All these skills can make you a more dominant goalie and are worth the time to develop.

4) Body Language
Do you look confident to the opposing team(and your own team for that matter)? Iíve often said that goalies that look like a snake(coiled, poised and ready to strike) subconsciously make the shooters rush their shots and force them into mistakes. If you donít look confident and move cautiously and without a sense of urgency, the other team will believe that they can take advantage of you. Itís psychological but the other teamís perception of you is their reality.

This article was contributed by Fred Quistgard of Quistgard Goalie Training.


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