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09-15-2006, 06:48 AM
Qui Gon Dave
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Cheshire, England
Country: England
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I've never played goal myself but I've been working with my roller hockey coach (who once played goal for a pro team over here) to try and improve our new goalie and I've picked up a couple of things from helping him. Not sure exactly how familiar you are with the position, so some of this may be useless info but here goes:

- If your opponents are good skaters and/or like to pass a lot, stay on your feet. The moment you leave your feet, you commit yourself. You can still make this work with a bit of luck and some acrobatics but good opponents will be able to react to you if you make the first move. Stay on your feet as long as possible and try to move them in small, quick movements. Use the butterfly position either once they make their move or if you lose sight of the puck amongst a pile of bodies.

- Keep your hands up. The blocker and glove are there to protect the upper part of the net. If you let them slump to your side (which might happen if your arms get tired) then they aren't in position and you give the shooters more of a target. You want to appear as imposing as possible for anyone going towards your net. Stand up, make yourself big and shout lots to your defenders so you appear in control of the situation. That can play on the mind of the opposition.

- Be aware of your angles and check them if you need to. One drill our goalie did to get used to this was to stand in the centre of his net and skate out of his crease to different points a few feet away. then he had to back up towards the net and cover the angle. As you are backing up, if you have your hands up, you can reach back with the back of your glove when close to your net and feel where the frame of the goal is (particularly the top corners) so you have a better idea of your angle. On the stick side, our goalie was told to try and tap the top of the post using the top of his goal stick while backing in. So whichever side you are on, if you need to back up then you can check your angles without taking your focus away from the game.

- As EagleBelfour said, stay square to the puck. A good player will weave their body around but the puck may not move much. It doesn't matter how much the player moves around, its the puck you want so stay square to that. A good example is that move Jagr does on penalty shots. He will approach down the middle, make a little puck fake as if going to backhand, but he will move his body right across to one side. He then fires the puck across to the opposite side he made the move. If you follow his body movement, you might get suckered into the change of direction, but if you follow the puck, you won't be out of position when the shot comes.

- As I said before, shout and shout lots. Just as you would playing any other position, you need to communicate with your teammates, but from goal, you have a view of almost everything going on so don't be afraid to inform and if neccessary, direct your teammates.

- Don't be afraid of making a mistake. Your teammates will know that you are not playing a position you are comfortable with. Be confident and if you decide to do something, go through with it. Don't half do it and then decide not to. That indecision might affect your teammates. If, for example, you want to chase down loose pucks around your net, go for it and your teammates should realise they need to cover you. If you get half way there then turn round, you will be out of position and your teammates won't be in theirs. The next time it happens, they won't know if they should go for it or cover you. So be confident and using this example, if you chase down a loose puck and get beaten to it, don't worry about it, you can learn from it so you know if its a good idea to try next time or not.

- Don't be afraid to jump on a puck and completely smother it. Our goalie went through a phase where the puck would come to him and he would always try and control it with his stick, then see if he could play it, then if not, try and cover it. By that time, people could put him under pressure and make him misplay it. If you want to cover it, cover it. Better safe than sorry. If you can play the puck with a goalie stick quite well then it might be worth trying if you have time, but if not, keep the puck and completely cover it. And if anyone whacks your glove once its covered, give them a shot back. And if people back into you trying to create a screen, wedge your stick under their skates. Let them know you aren't going to take a beating for no reason. Do go all Hextall on them (unless they deserve it) but don't be afraid to defend yourself if people are taking liberties with you.

- I hope there is at least one useful bit of information in there for you but i expect you might benefit from an actual goalie responding so hopefully someone does. Otherwise, best of luck with the game, I hope it goes well for you. Let us know how you get on.

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