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Getting Shooters To Mess Up In 3 Easy Steps!

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Too often goalies behave as “puck receptacles” where they simply wait to be shot at before taking any defensive measures. Well, since you’re only doing the physical aspect of the save for less than 60 seconds in a 60 second game, how can you effectively use the rest of your “free time” to manipulate the shooters to do what you want them to do? Well, I’ll tell ya…..just pay attention to these 3 easy steps!

Step 1: Think Like A Shooter
Yes, I know shooters are not always the smartest creatures on the ice, but you still need to understand what their options are in order to best defend against their offensive choices. You have to read what is the most likely decision they will make with the puck based on what’s going on around you. Is the shooter limited to a shot because of your pressuring defenseman or a bad angle? If so, you can be a bit more aggressive on the angles. If the shooter has good support from his linemates, what do you think he or she will do? If it looks like his or her linemates are not viable options to receive a pass or play a rebound, you can give the shooter more focus. If the linemates are in good pass receiving or rebounding position can you control the shot, break up a pass or move to the proper location of the pass? Reading the play early will give you the chance to put more pressure on the shooter to make a great play. If you are passive, the shooter controls you.


Step 2: Use Valuable Seconds Wisely And Beat ‘Em To The Puck!
Too often a goalie gets caught flat-footed staring at a rebound or watching a pass when he or she should have been using those valuable seconds to move to the new angle so the shooter is forced to rush the shot. Daydreaming and being flat-footed when you could have narrowed your gap to play the next shot or pass will force you to over-commit your body to get to the puck. If the puck moves away from where you are currently facing, have your body move as your brain is thinking so you can already be in position before the next shot comes!


Step 3: Play With A Sense Of Urgency
Yeah, this should be obvious, but far too many goalies look bored or lazy when they play. This lack of urgency does not strike the fear of God into the shooters but rather gives them the confidence to take the shots they like. However, when shooters play against a passionate, active goalie who battles all the time, they get forced into mistakes because they don’t have a lot of time to make good choices. Battle all the time to stop the puck! If you glide slowly around the crease, don’t attack rebounds and don’t pay attention to the details of your saves, you will not dominate shooters. They will dominate you!

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

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