Drill: North/South Exchange to Low Attack

Hey guys,

Hopefully you made your way here from the Instagram post of this drill. The video I take at the ice times is pretty focused on the goalie and comes from the puck perspective, so in cases like this, it’s hard to see what the players are doing that produces these movements from the goalie.

The Setup

Players start below the goal line in the corner, and around the top of the circle, against the boards. The puck starts with the low player. The only constraint once the drill begins is the path of the players. The high player must skate around the bottom of the circle, and the low player must skate around the top of the circle. I’ve included two diagrams of some common options, but there are numerous possibilities, and I really encourage the players to get creative, as long as the pace stays high!

One option is for X1 to start the drill with a pass to X2, who can carry the puck along the bottom of the circle. At any point, X2 can pass to X1, who can shoot to score, or shoot for a tip from X2 who could continue to the net. Rebounds can be played out as long as they’re in the vicinity of the net. I limit players to one pass per rebound to keep things realistic and give the goalies a chance to compete.

Another option is for X1 to keep the puck and carry it around the top of the circle. X2 still follows their route along the bottom of the circle and can be an option for a tip or a rebound. Because there are so few constraints on the shooters, the goalie must make a lot of decisions based on the what the shooters do.

From a coaching standpoint, we can look at so many things in this drill. Beyond the foundational skills of following the player with tracking shuffles, and all of the habits we look for in a goalie’s push to follow the pass, we can also look at their game situation problem solving skills. Do they retreat to the post, or do they go into an overlap position? Which is the appropriate read? How much depth to they take against the puck carrier? Does that give them the best balance of respecting the shot while allowing them to react to a pass or deflection? Does the goalie’s post position

In a drill like this, the unpredictability of it develops the goalie’s play reading ability. These types of drills have a high degree of carryover into games, because of their lack of structure. There is an appropriate time for more rigidly structured drills to help goalies grasp the fundamental skills of goaltending, but drills like this allow the goalie to develop the high hockey IQ that can allow them to handle game situations with confidence.

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