Making saves with stick on low blocker shots

Making saves with stick on low blocker shots
08/11/2004 Juha Halmesvaara
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Click on the photo to view the video. For this video I did choose an old youth game (2000) to demonstrate the move (focus on the stick) done by a young goaltender.

Recently I have noticed how many smaller/younger goalies seem to have a tendency to overturn their stick when making saves on low blocker shots.

Why is this important? Let’s look what happens a little closer. Think about the situation, how fast does the puck come and how long of a moment it is when you have to make contact with the puck? It really is a short moment and most of the times goalies are missing the puck with their stick resulting in a nice juicy rebound from the pad that should be backing the stick up.

What really causes those rebounds? Simply because when goalie misjudges the timing and turns his/her stick too early there will only be very narrow edge pointing towards the puck by the time the save should be made.

What’s causing this? Of course there are several reasons, but some that seem quite obvious for me are:

  • Young goalies for some reason think that they need to “hit” the puck in order to direct it to the corner
  • The turn move feels natural if no-one has shown the goalie the proper move
  • Lack of strength
  • It’s “cool” to hit or “flick” the puck and be more active that way
  • Kids are following what pro’s do and it seems like they are turning their stick and “flicking” the puck to the corner

So why does it look like the pro’s are flicking their stick? I did look at this type of saves from my video collections and did some slow motion analysis. It is clear in slow motion view that pro goalies most of the time execute this properly and when I switch to normal speed it does look like they do that flick.

Summary: Teach young goalies right moves from the beginning and don’t let them develop any “cool” habits.