I want to expand on a drill I shared on Instagram last week. It’s one of my favourite warmup drills because it hits so many elements. I’ll go over those in a second. First, here’s the drill.
Since the video doesn’t show the entirety of the drill, here’s a diagram of what’s going on.
The drill starts with a pass from the side boards to a player lined up with the offside dot angle. Once the player receives the pass, they skate back towards the middle, crossing the slot line and putting a shot on net.
A very simple setup, but the elements ask a lot of the goalie to execute it well. From a coaching standpoint, this drill is great for evaluating a goalie’s habits in a few key areas.
The Push Across: Assuming the goalie starts square to the puck and at a good depth, do we see the elements of a good lateral T-push? That is, do they distinctively look before they push? Do they maintain their depth with the angle of their push? Do they actively pull their push leg back in underneath them to maintain the balance of their stance? All these elements are essential to the goalie arriving at their new angle ready to make a save, and this drills allows the coach to see if those habits are firing on all cylanders.
Tracking Shuffles: Once the goalie arrives at their new angle and the player begins to move across the slot line, the goalie’s shuffles should allow them to maintain their squareness, angle, and depth as the angle changes. Coaches can look for several elements in the shuffles. Does the goalie maintain an appropriate depth, or do they sink into their crease? Does the goalie maintain their squareness, or do they come across in a straight line with their shuffles, losing the arc of the crease? Another important detail, do they keep their shuffles small enough to maintain a balanced stance as they track across? It’s important to remember what shuffles are for. We use them as small adjustments in order to stay in front of the puck while it’s being skated. The more small shuffles we can perform, the better we can maintain the integrity of our stance and avoid getting wide and spread out.
The Save: If all of the other elements up until this point have been well executed, the goalie should be set on the puck at the release of the shot, with equal access to both inside edges (balanced), and able to move their body into their save selection. Coaches can look for the goalie to have their whole head looking at the puck throughout the save process, including the rebound if there is one. When looking at the save, does the crest of the goalie’s jersey move towards the puck, away from it, or not at all? We should always see the goalie fully commit to their read and save selection by having their body moving into the save, avoiding the bad habit of going straight down and reaching for the puck. Moving into the puck also allows the goalie a much easier post save recovery, since their momentum will already be headed in the direction of the puck.
There is always so much to look for, even in a simple drill. I like this drill because of all the elements that build on one another to create a successful rep. Challenge yourself to have this same attention to detail in the simple drills you get to do. Refine those foundational habits and see how the rest of your game comes easier!