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Stars Goalie Coach Mike Valley Teaches InGoal the Reverse-VH

Stars Goalie Coach Mike Valley Teaches InGoal the Reverse-VH

ReverseVH main spreadThe never-ending evolution of goaltending produced yet another new save selection over the summer, something many have labeled the Reverse-VH.

Not that it’s totally new. Cam Ward has been dropping to a paddle down position on the blocker side, and then using his pad to bounce off the post back into the middle, for years in Carolina. And Kari Lehtonen has been going post-to-post with his skates inside the net and using only his pad as leverage on the post for a couple of years now in Dallas.

But the rest of the goaltending world really started to catch on when Jonathan Quick took things to another level during his Stanley Cup run in Los Angeles. And sure enough, variations of his post integration technique were being taught at schools this summer.

ReverseVH QuickSequence

Jonathan Quick took the technique to a new level en route to a Stanley Cup.

Quick provided an extended look at the ultimate evolution of this save selection, not only defaulting to the Reverse-VH to take away both the vertical and horizontal angles on attacks from behind the net and below the goal line, but using his back leg to both anchor that position against the post, and provide leverage for a quick transition out of it.

In doing so, he showed the goaltending world the technique could be used not only as a better post-seal alternative to the traditional VH, but that you didn’t have to sacrifice quick transitions to the top of the crease by using it.

Other goalies like Ward had already shown you could transition laterally off the post – easily moving post to post along the goal line, in fact – without using a skate edge to push off the post. But Quick’s Conn Smythe Trophy-winning playoff run showed, it can also be transitioned quickly back up to the skates.

What Valley likes about the Reverse-VH is that it covers off both angles as well as the traditional VH, working effectively on wraps and jam plays as well as sharp-angle shots on low-high pass outs from behind the net. But it is less of a “locked-in” blocking position, allows the goalie to stay more active and reactive, makes it easier to find loose pucks along the ice down low after making a save, and is a lot easier to transition out of than VH.

ReverseVH toblockerPage

Dallas Stars goalie coach Mike Valley walked InGoal readers through a progression of Reverse-VH

All that said, Valley points out that the Reverse-VH is not as simple as it looks, especially the final transition back up to the skates. Even some of his college students struggled with the way Quick was able to execute it during the Elite Goalie School summer sessions, and there is an adjustment even for goalies at the top level.

So in the interest of simplifying things, Valley included a progression of the steps involved, along with some of the keys to mastering each stage in learning this skill.

Read the entire Reverse-VH breakdown by Valley, including photo illustrations and a video, in the January edition of InGoal Magazine.

ReverseVH main spread

About The Author

Kevin Woodley

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News magazine. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and covered the 2010 Olympics for The AP.


  1. mike

    But only the Pros can use this move because the net is anchored to the ice. At the youth/junior level you have those pegs that allow the net to move when someone bangs into it..Goalies can’t push off with those pegs. Refs would have a field day calling delay of game penalties on the goalie for moving the net.

    • Christopher

      Mike’s got a point. I have a hard enough time keeping the posts anchored to the ice as it is. Looks like a sweet technique and I’d love to attempt it, but those of us still looking for the scouts in the bleachers of the beer leagues (and youth/junior) won’t have a lot of success. Great if you have the net though.

    • Alex Wirz

      I have very little problem with the net coming off. Try these 2 tips,

      -If u have a fresh sheet of ice, Bang the post in with Morings

      -Spray a little water on each post, the water will drip down n get a fresh bond with each post end if you let it set early!

  2. Chuck

    I’ve actually been doing a bit of variation of this for many years, a little more simplified though. If your post leg is snug against the post and you push off smoothly, you can do this without dislodging the post. Key is to practice and push smooth, not a big kicking motion, using your upper thigh.

  3. Dan

    I’m a little guy so I rarely have trouble with the net coming off using this technique with the standard public rink peg, so little kids would have even less trouble. It’s all about how agressive you’re pushing off the post or how hard you’re colliding with the post.

  4. Magnus Olsson

    Here in Sweden we’ve been using it for 2-3 yrs now. Most goalies went from OKD to the reverse VH and the bad angle goals almost disappeard. There are quite a few variariations to the rev VH but as with many other things you have to find what suits you.
    You can go with your skate inside or on the post. Of course you can do both depending on the situation.