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Post-to-Post Slide from Paddle Down Technique

Post-to-Post Slide from Paddle Down Technique

This guest article is by Dusan Sidor, former goaltending coach of HC Lugano in Switzerland, and the current goaltending coach for SCL Tigers in Italy

Jonathan Quick was noted for his ability to explode out of the Reverse-VH, a new take on the old paddle down technique. ( InGoal Photo by Clint Trahan)

Jonathan Quick was noted for his ability to explode out of the Reverse-VH, a new take on the old paddle down technique. (InGoal Photo by Clint Trahan)

Thanks to Los Angeles Kings star Jonathan Quick, a technique that has been around for years is back in vogue: Paddle Down.

While Quick has taken the old technique to new levels, I have been using it for years, but have a couple of twists on it that I believe are worth considering if you are going to put the paddle down technique back into your game.

I remember a goalie coach saying, “It’s a nice position,  it covers up everything down low, but I see a problem if there is a pass out front and you have to get up and move out fast enough …”

But as Quick has shown with his remarkable ability to move out of it, it is not such a bad idea. The advantage of the paddle down can be incorporated into your game – and you can still move quickly enough to recover in the event of a pass.

Leg Position Against the Post

Rather than going to the post with the skate as many goalies are now taught, we try to push our pad at knee level against the post to cover up as many holes as possible.

The push off:  you can use your skate

While many goaltenders, including Quick, have shown an ability to push with the pad from the post, I believe that a quick release of the skate and push is just as fast or even faster than a push off the post.

Here are some goalies I have worked with doing a simple drill to practice the skate release and leg drive to transition from post to post. We practice this repetitively so that it can be executed instinctively during a game:

The paddle down allows the goalie to remove any low scoring chances and is long enough on both sides to block cross crease passes. If the skater comes out further, the goalie can simply leave the paddle down position and go into a regular butterfly position to cover holes up top.

I stress the quick movement of the paddle a lot, because it has to be a surprise to the player. If he knows it is there he will go around further, but if it comes at the last second it will be a surprise and he won’t have much time to think of different options.

It may not seem so, but the stick end of the goalie stick can be used to block many passes or shots if it is pushed down on the ice correctly. With practice you can learn to get out of that position fast enough to make it anywhere a pass goes.

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  1. Ian Wotherspoon

    In actual fact the Paddle Down save was a save that at first I didn’t like but the more I saw it used I began to think that if used properly it could be a great weapon for a goalie. I then spent many hours learning all I could about the Paddle Down. I was very impressed with Jonathan Quick during the playoffs and his use of the Paddle Down save was amazing to watch and his quickness incredible.

    In reading this article by Dusan Sidor I like what he says about how a goalie can move quickly out of the Paddle Down and recover if there is a pass.
    With a lot of practice I believe the goalie can learn to place his/her pad against the post and use his/her skate to push off quickly but I’d have to see how it worked in real life before I would be in agreement. To my way of thinking having the skate tight up against the post covers the lowest of holes one that the pad can’t cover. “The Push Off” away from the post is so important and must be done quickly and I’ve always been big on getting a good push with your skate which meant that the inner edge of the goalie skate must be fairly sharp so it doesn’t slip. In a practice you must do this over and over to master it, so that in a game you can do it without thinking. If I could add a little something in here and it is that I was also a skate sharpener and so I spent many hours trying different things when sharpening my own goalie skates. You could say it was “hit & miss” but I ended up with a way to give the goalie an advantage when he had to move quickly just by the way I sharpened their skates. When I went out of business my “art” died, but for several years it worked great, Only once I did a bad job and if Panger can remember, it was his skates that I did a lousy job on, but he played through the adversity. That was a long time ago.

    I feel that I had a lot of success over the forty + years I coached goalies and one of the reasons was that I never stopped learning. I was always looking for new material and then putting it to practice. Hey, when you are an “Old School” goalie you must change with the times and over my 40 years I had a lot to learn and then take what I learned and pass it on to the goalies I was working with.

    I also like what Dusan Sidor says about executing the Paddle Down “it has to be a surprise to the player” the player (shooter) can’t know that the goalie is going to do a Paddle Down it must go down at the last second if not, the player will see the goalie going down and the skater will move further away then the goalie must recover quickly.

    Great article and it has my brain working, too bad I’m not still coaching but I know of a couple of goalies who I used to coach and I will be talking to them about this.

    If I was still coaching I would

  2. Don Kent

    I have used the paddle down move for my entire career, simply to guard the posts when a player is behind the net. With practice I have been able to place my skate just inside the post allowing me to push off rapidly and get to the other post, where my other foot takes the same place ready to push off again. This removes the scramble play moving from post to post and keeps the stick on the ice during the move in case a pass makes it out in front for a one timer. Its very similar to the video but requires less movement and energy.

  3. bill ivey

    All nice if you r a JQ BUT …lol there are much easier and less complicated maneuvers to use than this..
    One of the best rules I learned about paddle down is don’t use it with out D presence or pressure..and do NOT over use it…
    In my experience goalies that are down tend to stay down once there. If I can score on goalies in the paddle down position
    It is not a first choice.. As a surprise option yes.. It will keep them guessing..
    Every save selection is like a tool in your toolbox. this is one not everyone can use and if they DO use it they need to use it correctly.
    I would never teach a technique like in the video, but, if his players buy in and believe then great. I am more inclined to agree with Kent if u r using paddle down
    the short hard push is not only easier but safer In ALL situations. Those poor goalies are jumping around like frogs on a hot plate. Just because you are old does not mean you are not current.
    To accept something because it is “New” does not make it better. One year of success with a move developed by an outstanding professional athlete is not enough for me to hop on it as
    something to make a goalie learn… KISS is my model and it works no matter what level of goalie… In anything, the more complicated the better chance for something to fail….

    Great to see the responses….

    • Bart

      Completely agree about the tool in the toolbox. If it works for someone, great, if not, find another method that does. I’ve always been surprised at how effective Martin Brodeur was with the paddle down technique although different from this video. And JQ is so good with his legs. I marvel at how smooth he is.

      It may not be that the tool is the problem, but the execution of the save selection. Did I go down too early? Was I not completely square? Was I too deep? Or not deep enough? Make the adjustment and move on quickly. If you are not comfortable with it, then do something different, but understand there may be a time or place for it.

  4. Lubos

    Let me express my opinion on the topic after reading the article and watching the video as well. IN my experience Post-to-Post Slide from Paddle Down Technique is adequate only in desperate situations, when you are scrambling for the puck and the situation gets too complicated. I would never teach young goalies to use the technique as an appropriate technique to solve “play behind the net” situation. First, the slide from side to side consists of 2 separate moves, thus classic T-push will alway be faster Second, with paddle down, a goalie is holding shoulders too low, opening a lot of space above. Third, you never want a goalie to slide from side to side like that, although I understand it was just a drill.

    Sometime, there is no substitute for a technique thats been around for a long time. I have to agree with bill ivey in his notion on “the new” methods. In addition, I believe Quick can become much better goalie if he works on limiting his athleticism and concentrate on technique execution and right save selection

  5. Dan

    although i couldn’t at first with practice i developed the ability to push off the post with my leg rather than what your goalies are doing and i’ve found it to be much more effective

  6. Dusan

    Hi everyone,

    I am glad that this article sparked this discussion and got people thinking about the paddle down move. To clear some things up, this movement is used when play is behind the net, or when a player is about to do the “wrap-around”. The sequence you see in the video is the first, most important part of teaching this technique: getting from post to post quick. I stress the importance of pushing off with your blade, since just pushing off the post with your pad does not give you as much strength or control. However if the play asks for it you may push off with your pad. In this instance you cannot push of the post with your skate, simply because your skate shouldn’t be anywhere near the post. Your pad should be inside the net up to the knee area, which will allow you to hug the post tighter and closes holes. If you just put the end of your pad to the post the hole to between your body and post is too big. Here your pad is inside and your pants should be touching the post in order to close any gap there. So in this phase of teaching we focused on pushing off, getting to the other side quick and adding the paddle down as fast as possible. In a game situation the goalie needs to follow the player on one side by looking back as long as possible before turning sharp and adding their paddle at the post, so they can avoid backhand passes and moving too early.
    I always admired Tim Thomas’ ability to use this, but also MarcAndre Fleury has it down pretty well if you want to look at goalies that use it perfectly. Lubos, which technique would you teach your goalies? In my opinion there is no room to do a classic t-push on the goal line, and if your goalie stays up, how do you solve the situation with the play close to the net? (This technique is used with tight plays from behind the net). By staying up all the player has to do is to push the puck in through your legs. If you are on your knees tight on the post the lower side of the net is covered, and from this tight there should not be any concern about the space above.

    I will try to post a video of some game situations where this technique is used soon,
    Best regards