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goalies - communicating with your defensemen

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01-01-2008, 04:48 PM
  #1
Goalie_Gal
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goalies - communicating with your defensemen

I'm pretty new, only been playing for less than two years (8 months on ice), and I have a question about communication. Basically, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be telling my team-mates. I am good about yelling "man on" or telling them if they're screening me, but beyond that I'm really quiet. I know a talkative goalie is really appreciated by their D, because my husband has mentioned now and then that a particular goalie he played in front of was great at communicating. I asked him what the goalie said that was so helpful, specifically, but he couldn't really say.

So, maybe some of you can help me? Goalies and skaters both... what makes a goalie a good communicator? Should I be telling team-mates when to go hard around, etc? What if I screw up and don't see an opponent on the boards and it causes a turn over? I think that's what's holding me back the most- giving a team mate the wrong information when they're depending on me. I also find that I tend to play a lot better when I'm really focused on the puck and a lot of times I don't see which plays are possible, beyond what options the puck carrier has... which I guess is bad because aren't goalies supposed to be seeing everything? But if I start thinking about everything, my concentration goes out the window.

Thanks for any tips.

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01-01-2008, 05:25 PM
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Ten
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You make it sound much more complicated than it really is...

If a D-man is coming from behind his own net, look at where he's gonna go, and let him know what's there. If no one's there, say "Wheel, Wheeeelll!" loudly and that tells him to skate the puck out. Call for a reverse if he's gotta play the puck the other way. If you want him to clear it, tell him to clear it.

Whenever I play, the Goalie is King. No one goes near him (my team or the other), and his word is final.

If you make a mistake the guys aren't gonna get on your case about it. If they do, pull a Patrick Roy to remind them you're the most important player on the ice.

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01-01-2008, 05:26 PM
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Tip #1, point these questions towards the GSBB- Goalie Store Message Board. http://www.goaliestore.com/board/index.php

Tip #2, you have to find your own style. Im a friggin chatterbox in net, but that has a lot to do with the fact that Ive skated out a ton in my hockey career too, so I have a good grasp of both sides of life and feel very confident in my calls and decision making.

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01-01-2008, 05:28 PM
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Telling your defensemen when people are on them, or if they have time is always helpful. I don't think there should be any worries about wrong information either. If a defenseman is racing for a puck dumped behind the goal, all you have to say is "Man on you!" or "You have time". The defenseman should have his/her headup to read the play. Its also helpful to give advice to your defensemen before the faceoff. Just give them words of encouragement, and maybe tell them something you notice about their game that can be corrected quickly.

Communication doesn't have to be verbal either. When your team is on a powerplay, and there is only a few seconds left, its helpful to bang your stick on the ice, one beat for each second, to tell your defensemen there is a person coming out of the box, and to drop back a little. I'm no expert, but hopefully this helps you out a bit. Good luck with your team.

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01-01-2008, 09:07 PM
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Rickety Cricket
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The things I say when I play is "Man-on" when he has pressure, "time" when there is no pressure, "take it" when he has the puck behind the net and there is no one in front of him (usually the other team is changing). I also yell "you" or "me" when there is a dump-in, referring who is going to get the puck.

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01-02-2008, 06:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leftindust View Post

If a D-man is coming from behind his own net, look at where he's gonna go, and let him know what's there. If no one's there, say "Wheel, Wheeeelll!" loudly and that tells him to skate the puck out. Call for a reverse if he's gotta play the puck the other way. If you want him to clear it, tell him to clear it.
Dumb question... but I assume you mean if he's just skating past the back of the net. Not if he's setting up back there to make a pass, because wouldn't he be looking out and seeing what was going on in that case?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axel View Post
.

Communication doesn't have to be verbal either. When your team is on a powerplay, and there is only a few seconds left, its helpful to bang your stick on the ice, one beat for each second, to tell your defensemen there is a person coming out of the box, and to drop back a little. I'm no expert, but hopefully this helps you out a bit. Good luck with your team.
Good point. One thing I've learned just from observation is how important body language is too, after goals especially.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionQuest
Tip #2, you have to find your own style. Im a friggin chatterbox in net, but that has a lot to do with the fact that Ive skated out a ton in my hockey career too, so I have a good grasp of both sides of life and feel very confident in my calls and decision making.
I've never played out, so that probably has a lot to do with my confidence in pointing stuff out. (And no, I have no desire whatsoever to skate out! I guess if it would really make a difference in my game I might try it at some point in the future. But it's really goal or nothing for me.) Thanks for the link, too. I've registered and am just waiting for approval.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyfan7
I also yell "you" or "me" when there is a dump-in, referring who is going to get the puck.
This is something I really need to work on- figuring out when I should get it and when I should leave it. Usually I leave it unless it's really obvious that I can get it without a problem and it would really help my D out.

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01-03-2008, 11:47 AM
  #7
Trebek
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Here's something I put together awhile back (http://hockeygoalies.org/advice/rule4.html) which takes a bit of a different approach to the question. It formats better on the actual page, naturally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeygoalies.org
BE A VOCAL LEADER
It's ironic that, as a goaltender, you can see absolutely everything on the ice except your own net - the thing you're supposed to be guarding.
Most goaltenders don't take advantage of this situation as much as they should. Let's consider an example - your right defenseman is coming out from behind your net to your left. At this point, they have several options - carry the puck themselves, pass to any number of locations on the ice, or turn back behind your net.

As the goaltender, you can be an enormous asset to your teammate in this situation. While they're under considerable pressure, both physical and mental, you're in a relative state of calm and can see the developing play clearly. A simple shout of (pass to the) "Left Wing!", or "Skate With It!", or "Reverse!" (turn back), for example, takes much of the burden from your defenseman and allows them to make a smoother breakout.

In the long run, of course, this benefits you - if your team breaks out easier, with fewer turnovers, that results in your having fewer "difficult" saves and, in the end, you'll win more often.

What to yell? Here are some starters:
  • "One On!" (or "Two On!", etc.): There are currently one (two, etc.) opposing players in close proximity to your player's location and, whatever your player decides to do, s/he had better do it quickly.
  • "Time!": The opposite of the previous remark; you're telling your player that they have plenty of time to make a decision and/or survey the territory. Occassionally, I'll add a "Take a Look", or "Set It Up", in the hopes that we can set up an actual breakout play.
  • "Left Wing!" (etc.): This tells your player that they have an open teammate at the indicated location on the ice - you can shorten this to just "Left!"; I usually add the "Wing" to emphasize that the open teammate is ahead of the puckcarrier.

    Note that your teammate should not blindly play the puck up the ice in the direction indicated by you. I usually call out a location to tell my teammate to look there, and then make their decision based on that. Depending on how skilled my teammate is (or how much they usually pay attention to me), I'll intentionally misdirect them - causing the defense to overreact to that location, and my teammate will then do the opposite. Make sure that you know your teammates very well before attempting this.
  • "Reverse!" (or "Ring It!"): Tells your teammate that their best available outlet is not only on the other side of the ice, but that the best way of getting the puck there is to put it behind the net, around the boards. I usually leave it up to my teammate whether to skate a bit in that direction first, or to just fire the puck - usually, it's reasonably obvious.
  • "Skate! Skate! Skate!": (repeated until teammate gets the idea). Tells your teammate that there's plenty of room for them to carry the puck, and they should just go and press the play forward. You don't usually need to include directions (although it won't hurt); your teammate should put their head up and go to where they see open ice.
  • "Dump!": Your opponent has probably been in your end for a bit, and your teammates need a five-player line change. Here, you're directing your puckcarrier to get to the redline, dump the puck in, and change. It's been my experience that this command never works, and your teammate will selfishly skate until they lose the puck, causing your team to skate around in your zone for another minute or two. But hey, you're a team player.
  • "ICE!": This one's a little more desperate - at this point, your team has not only been trapped in their zone for a considerable amount of time, but there's also extra circumstances - someone's without their stick, someone's injured, or your team has shown beyond all previously-demonstrated levels that they don't know what they are doing. In any case, a good scoring chance is not only likely, it's imminent. At this point, your puckcarrier should hit the puck as hard as they can down the ice with all due speed. (Note: this usually results in the same problems as "Dump!", but your mileage may vary)
Keep talking, even if your teammates haven't shown a predilection towards listening to your advice. Why? It keeps you focused on the game at hand - I'll even yell directions when my team's in the offensive zone, even though they probably can't hear me, simply to keep my attention on the action.
If your teammates do listen to you, your team's transition game will markedly improve, especially if you know what you're talking about. If you don't know what you're talking about, then practice your vocal leadership skills - it's a great way to learn the game and, once you've learned the game, you'll find yourself "guessing right" in more situations and making more saves as a result. The old saying that "a goaltender can't score goals" is wrong - a good transition game is what leads to goals, and a smart (and loud) goaltender can direct a smooth transition game.

Note that, in this "rule", I've concentrated on directing the breakout as a vocal goaltender and have not mentioned commands ("Slot!", "Screen!", for example) that goaltenders need to use defensively. I don't mean to underrate these communication skills, because they're very important - at least as important as the points I've listed above. However, they're usually mentioned in any good goaltending course, whereas you're probably not as familiar with these.


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