Goaltender-Specific Skating Series: Drill 9 0f 20
Drill 9: Full Crease Arc – Short Shuffle
The full crease arc shuffle is likely the single most common drill with which to begin crease-specific movement patterns.
This is because shuffling requires the least amount change in body position from the basic stance.
All students usually begin shuffling in line drills once some type of a stance has been taught and established. Once the idea of shuffling has been learned it can be transferred into the blue paint.
In this drill, the student may either begin on the post or already be advanced to the edge of the blue paint beside the goalpost.
Upon command, the goaltender begins shuffling along the curved arc of the crease (although the minor hockey semi-circular crease is different than the square-based crease at the professional level, which is what InGoal uses for its crease diagrams).
The goaltender maintains an upright stance so that the crest or logo on the jersey can be seen.
Do not bend forward excessively at the waist. This makes the goaltender look smaller than necessary. Remember, we want to play “BIG” in today’s game.
The hands should be out in front of the plane of the torso and no “double coverage” should exist.
The trapper should be open and held neither too low nor too high. The stick, if appropriately sized, should be on the ice.
The goaltender remains in control of their posture. This means the head doesn’t moves up or down as they shuffle, something commonly seen in beginners.
Every time they initiate a shuffle, these goalies tend to stand up to reduce to amount of resistance of the lead skate inside edge against which they must generate force. The most common consequence of this error is the stick being raised off the ice.
One way to teach youngsters to maintain their crouch is to have a string attached between two pieces of wood on a flat support base on the ice. The string is lowered to the top of the goaltender’s head once the stance is achieved. The goalie moves from wooden stand to stand without having to touch the string with their heads. The muscle memory is learned correctly from the beginning. This may not work in a large goalie school setting, but does with private and semi-private lessons.
In addition to the above mentioned fundamental considerations, the goaltender’s head should be slightly in a position of flexion.
The sharpness of the goaltender’s skates, their age and strength are also considerations in shuffling appropriately.
If the child does not possess strong legs and the ice is soft, it can become very difficult to shuffle and the student may fall down sideways frequently and become frustrated. If you see this happening or the child says they have trouble moving, then consider going to a lesser radius of hollow on the blade.
A second error with which to be familiar is the student cheating by turning sideways to make shuffling easier. In fact, it ceases to be shuffling and becomes sculling backwards with side of the goalie’s body facing the target.
Goalies with poor technique, strength and development either turn slightly off a square set position or move across the crease leading with their buttocks due to an inability to shuffle square to the target. If this happens you may as well go back to line drills since shuffling without remaining square to a potential release is flawed and will lead to failure.