One of the trends I have seen over the past several years has been goaltenders that pull their hands way too far back and thus make it difficult or impossible for themselves to control the puck in several situations.
What’s causing this? Very simple, the trend has been favoring butterfly for quite some time and the way a lot of people still coach butterfly is a tight ”old fashioned” arms close to the body blocking save. Once kids have learned this style they use their hands/arms close to the same way in most situations.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s still room for this type of save move on close plays, how ever there are a lot of situations where goalies are using butterfly save or butterfly slide and the shot is coming from a little further than 1-2 meters. In those situations the hand positioning needs to be different. And most of all, when the goalie gets up and to his/her stance the hands need to come out front to proper position!
How does proper hands/arms position look like?
Let’s look at the proper hand/arm positioning in stance.
Hands should be out in front of the body so that they can move freely. It’s quite easy for the blocker, but usually the problem lies with the catch glove arm. Use the elbow as the indicator. If the elbow is on the side of the body or further back you do have a problem.
Why? Simply because it will be difficult (sometimes impossible) and at least take longer to bring your glove out front if it starts from too far behind. If the hand/arm position is correct you can move directly towards the save.
Hand positioning on butterfly is more complex issue and we will cover it in separate article.
Proper hands/arms positioning with blocker out in front Proper hands/arms positioning with catch glove out in front Here you see the catch glove too far back
As a coach the easiest way to demonstrate this is to use your stick and put it under goalies arms in stance to force him/her to keep the arms out.
I have also used very successfully a simple device that I made from cut shaft that I drilled 2 holes to and tied a skate lace to the shaft so that I could hang it on my goalie so that he can make saves while the shaft keeps his arms our. I use this method usually (with goalies that have the arm position problem) for the first 5-10 minutes of the practice during warm-up shots. In my experience the problem goes away usually within 2-3 weeks.
Coach demonstrating proper arm positioning to his goalie