Technical Tip – Traffic Management (now with video)
Today’s technical tip is courtesy of Brady Robinson, Director of Advanced Goaltending Consultants.
The leading cause for goals against in almost every league is traffic at the net front. It is your job as goaltenders to find ways to effectively manage these traffic situations. This Technical Tip will go through key elements to help you minimize the amount of goals that are scored in these situations, and thus bring more success to your performance.
After reading it first, be sure to check out the video at the bottom.
Establish Strong Initial Depth
- It is your responsibility to establish a strong initial depth when traffic is forming in front of you. Don’t allow the players in front of you to determine your position. Get out on top of your crease and force the players to work around you, not vise-versa.
Compete To Create a Sightline
- You need to do everything you can to find the puck through screens, don’t be complacent. If you are a big goalie, it is likely in your best interest to look over the traffic. If you are a small goalie it becomes more difficult, but you must create a sightline through the traffic. It might mean that you need to use your upper body strength to hold players off to one side, and look to the opposite side.
Win One-On-One Battles
- In many cases when your team is short-handed, you will find the opposition team set up with one player standing at the net front. It is your job, to compete with that player for position, finding sightlines to the puck and making saves. These are situations that your team-mates are relying on you to win that battle, don’t expect them to help you out, especially when the opposing team has a man advantage.
Short-Side Sightlines Are More Effective
- Anytime plays are developing off the wall’s at the point, try to create a short-side sightline as this will make it tougher for defensemen to beat you with an initial shot. As soon as you look to the middle, it creates an opening for that shooter to see open net. When you look to the short side, the d man will have a tough time getting shots through as there is usually traffic in the middle.
Regain Any Lost Depth
- Although you never want to lose your depth in any situation, the reality is that when there are four of five body’s at the net-front, you sometimes will be forced back into your crease. It is crucial to re-optimize your position as soon as you have the opportunity.
Traffic is, and always will be a big part of every team’s offensive game-plan. COMPETE in each of these areas on a regular basis and you will see a decrease in goals against, and more success for your team.