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Goaltender–Specific Skating Series: Drill 17 of 20

Goaltender–Specific Skating Series: Drill 17 of 20

Drill 17 Screencap(Editor’s Note: Sincere apologies to both author Tomas Hertz and InGoal readers for the delay since the last part of this series. If this is your first time seeing these Goaltender-Specific Skating drills and videos, be sure to check out the first 16 by clicking here)

Drill #17: Pivot Ladder with Slide

This drill is identical to Drill 16 with the exception of an added slide.

In drill 16, the goaltender performed a straight-line T-push after the pivot was executed. This time, instead of a pivot – T-push – full stop sequence, Drill 17 involves a down transition, a slide, and an up transition before coming to a stop.

Drill 17 is demonstrated in the video below:

This sequence is taught for use when the lateral feed occurs below the top of the face-off circles. The theory here is that the play is closer to the crease so the goaltender may not have sufficient time (unless playing at a shallow depth range) to get across the crease and be set on their feet prior to a shot being released.

By performing a slide instead, the goaltender has hopefully eliminated the low portion of the net as a quick-shot scoring option by sealing the ice while they move laterally. Excellent reactive skills remain necessary since many snipers select to shoot to the upper portion of the net.

Some goaltenders prefer to slide almost all the time, while others prefer to remain on their feet more.

Naturally, the decision is a personal one based on skill, comfort and the situation.

Another difference is the fact that you can’t slide on an arced path through the middle of the crease from one side to the other the way you can move on your skates. As a result, the correct amount of pivot is critical to make certain the slide’s line of attack preserves as much depth as possible while getting back on angle subsequent to the slide.

About The Author

Tomas Hertz, MD BA

Tomas Hertz has been a contributing author to InGoal Magazine since 2010. He operated  "No Holes, No Goals Goaltending" in Kingston, Ontario for a decade and worked with developing goalies in the G.K.M.H.A. and K.A.M.H.A. He remains active as a timekeeper in the O.M.H.A. - O.W.H.A., the O.J.H.L. (Kingston Voyageurs), and the O.U.A.A. (R.M.C. Palladins). 


  1. Rick Besharah

    Great exercise! Especially an often overlooked application of the pivot.

    To effectively eliminate scoring chances directed toward the lower portion of the net however, the option of maintaing a proper blocking technique would be a more ideal option than keeping the arms up.

    By doing so, the goaltender closes the gaps between his arms and body in order to limit the options for his brain to process when faced with little to no time to react.

    This allows the goaltender to consider one of two options:
    1. The puck is being directed at me – Absorb!
    2. The puck is being directed outside of the blocking position – React outward!

    If a blocking technique is not implemented with shots which require a butterfly slide at close proximities, & he instead reveals numerous gaps to the shooter, the goaltender will have to consider an additional option:
    1. The puck is being directed toward me – Absorb!
    2. The puck is being directed between my arm & body – React inward with arm!
    3. The puck is being directed over my arm – React outward with arm!

    In a game which requires split-second decisions from all of its players (especially its goaltenders), it’s only logical to apply a simplified system to one’s game in order to maximize coverage & efficiency.

  2. Tomas Hertz

    Good systematic analysis. The key is whether the shot is from close proximity to the goaltender (I.e., “blocking zone”). If so, hands down, arms in tight forming an impenetrable wall. However, with a shot from further distance from the net, hands must be up and remain reactive in nature. To do otherwise means you are a one trick pony – blocking goaltending which will not work!

  3. Rick Besharah

    Agreed Tomas.

    I was merely basing my analysis on the situation which you provided in the article: “The theory here is that the play is closer to the crease so the goaltender may not have sufficient time (unless playing at a shallow depth range) to get across the crease…” (Understandable that this shot could still originate from outside of a blocking area), and promoting the concept of training to be on time and in position versus leading/stretch/panic-save methods. The ultimate goal for goaltenders of course, should always be to get as much of the body between the net and the puck, however this isn’t always going to be possible.

    As a rule of thumb, the closer the puck, the more compact. Applying a simple, easy to implement technical system in these close range situations just ensures higher efficiency and allows less pucks to slip through the cracks and gaps.

    In the event that the goaltender is not capable of keeping up with the speed of the pass/play, as you mentioned, further out – hands up and ready. However, still dependent to the traffic around the front of the crease potentially resulting in deflections or re directions.

    I agree that shooters will figure out a one trick pony goaltender fairly quickly, especially with coaches capable of adjusting their team’s play to expose the weaknesses of these goaltenders. Applying a simplified method (see the 5S-System created by the Colorado Avalanche’s Francois Allaire) to take as much thought process out of the game however, is never a bad idea. It seemed to work for him and the goaltenders he has trained anyway.

  4. Tomas Hertz

    Fair enough !