Goaltender–Specific Skating Series: Drill 16 of 20
Drill #16: Pivot Ladder
As we wind down this series, we leave the crease for a period of time to work on muscle memory with line drills that are commonly encountered at goaltending schools and clinics.
These drills may not show their direct value to a young goaltender since they are not crease-specific movement patterns. The ability to perform them quickly with power and economy of movement will, however, be of great value during competition. If the student questions the drill’s value, the instructor should be able to convey when and how these manoeuvres should be used appropriately.
The goaltender begins on the goal-line and sculls out to the blue-line while maintaining a crouch sufficient to keep the stick-blade on the ice.
With good ice conditions, the sound of strong C-cuts being made should be easily heard.
The goaltender should not come out of the stance since a shot can come at any time while telescoping forwards and backwards.
Upon reaching the blue-line come to a full stop.
The intended line of movement back to the goal-line involves pivots (reverse C-cuts) on an approximate 45-degree angle. The goaltender alternates moving either to the left or right.
The eyes and head should turn first to regain visual connection.
The pivot is performed by opening up the hips and body to the new movement line. Thereafter, a T-push on a straight line is executed.
The hands and stick-blade lead with the torso leaning slightly into the push. This was discussed in Drill #1.
In fact, students may be exposed to the pivot ladder prior to drill #1 since drill # 1 reveals the practical value of drill #16.
If the goaltender is positioned at the top of the crease and the puck is quickly moved down low, a pivot and quick T-push is arguably the best course of action.
Conversely, some goaltenders habitually choose to pivot and slide to the post. Some may stay down while others recover to their feet just prior to reaching the goal-post with great timing and accuracy.
Unless the threat of a shot is imminent, this sliding movement sequence is something the author disagrees with.
In its simplest analysis, the pivot ladder involves three moves only: (1) a pivot (2) a T-push and (3) a full stop at the post.
The sliding pivot ladder involves five moves: (1) a pivot (2) down-transition (3) a slide (4) up-transition and (5) a full stop.
Unnecessary moves are undesirable due to the speed of the game and increase energy expenditure.
Two commonly encountered errors with this drill include:
(1) The student tends to turn either insufficiently or excessively to either side. It is not necessarily easy to learn how much of a turn corresponds to an approximate 45-degree angle. Dots spray painted on the ice can help in this regard and the angle corresponds to a turn from the top of the crease to the goal-post, as noted.
(2) Students often take too long of a T-push stride to finish their turn faster. The T-push length does change, however, if the goaltender is moving from an angle online with one face-off dot to the opposite goalpost. This was demonstrated in Drill # 7. Both the angle and distance are different compared to Drill #1.
Therefore, the drill angle and stride length may be altered to mimic different competitive movement situations.