Since my last post, I took advantage of the opportunity to join the amazing group of coaches over at Prospects Goaltending and Athletics. It’s exciting to feel like part of a team again, and the group there strikes a great balance between the experience each one brings to the table and sharing a common message based on basic principles we all agree on.
Getting out of my own little coaching vacuum exposed me to a couple things I hadn’t seen before. As I’m learning about them I’m starting to see their value. One of them I want to discuss here today that’s really helped goalies get into a good stance. When the group was teaching goalies their basic stance, they cued them to press their knees forward or press their shins against the tongue of their skates. I hadn’t heard this before, but it makes sense. Let me show you why I’m a big fan of the concept.
I see a couple problems that come up in young goalie’s stances, and they’re showing up often enough that it’s worth talking about. I think the “pressing” cue helps solve some of the issues.
Issue 1: Stance Too Upright
This isn’t the worst I’ve come across, but it works to illustrate the point. If you can try to see through the gear and imagine the position of this athletes’ body, you’d see fairly vertical shins, and even though he looks like he’s in his crouch, his body weight is definitely shifted towards his heels. This is a problem because it really restricts a goalie’s ability to get into their butterfly hard and fast. It also makes it tough to push with power because it takes away all the power the ankle joint supplies.
If this goalie were cued to press his shins against the tongue of his skates, he would get immediately get a deeper knee bend. This would bring his weight forward onto the balls of his feet where we want it and allow him to get much more power out of his movements.
Issue 2: Stance Too Wide
This screen grab from the clip above shows a stance where the feet are way outside the shoulders. The problem with this is that your legs have to be so straight to get this wide that you really limit your ability to push or drop into a shot. Think of it like trying to jump as high as you can without bending your knees. You wouldn’t get very far. You can see in the clip that in this wide stance, the goalie doesn’t have the ability to move into the shot, which hits the post.
Getting this goalie to “press” into their stance will force them to bring their legs in a bit to maintain balance. From this narrower stance they’ll be able to push with power much easier.
If you haven’t already, give this a try next time you’re on the ice. See if you can feel a difference in your pushes, stops, and how quickly you get your pads to the ice from a pressed stance.
If you want some help integrating this into your game, I’d love to hear from you on the contact form here or check out the Prospects Goaltending site for the dates and locations of our upcoming clinics.