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Importance of the Fundamental in Movement

Importance of the Fundamental in Movement

The following is a guest article from Tim Fewster, Director of Operations for Rick Heinz Goalie Schools 

After training all levels and ages of goalies all over North America throughout the past 15 years, I have noticed an interesting trend in the footwork of goalies. I have found that more often than not there is a focus on specific static movements, such as the butterfly itself, and less emphasis placed on the footwork that is so key in getting the goalie into the right place in the right time and in the right control in order to use the butterfly effectively. This is a grassroots fundamental issue that needs added focus to really help today’s young goaltenders succeed and excel at early ages and give them the tools needed to build up to more advanced movements.

The key here is edgework, balance, and upper body control while in motion from start to finish, and repetition of the basic shuffles and t-pushes on an ice time by ice time basis. This means always having the proper knee bend and using inside edges properly in shuffles while maintaining proper weight balance on the push foot and staying low and keeping hands and stick set and in control the entire time. In t-pushes, making sure that the push leg is loaded before pushing and transferring weight as well as always looking before the push and leading with head, hands and stick. Spending a minimal amount of time on doing this properly each and every practice and ice time will really help a young (or experienced) goalie to develop good muscle memory and body control thus helping their overall game.

Many readers may think that this is very simple, and agreed it is, but sometimes the simple things are overlooked and not practiced as much once the basics seem to be attained. This can lead to problems over time, and in so many cases it is hard to catch back up and fix after years of neglect. Looking at movement as the foundation of goaltending will only help you get into the more advanced skills quicker and with better technique and control. Remember, having the best butterfly in the world won’t matter if you can’t move your feet properly to get set and in position to use it effectively. Many of the best saves are the ones that look easy, and this is because most people do not notice all of the footwork and controlled movement that is needed to get into the proper position with the proper balance and control to use that technically perfect butterfly. If you put an emphasis on this as a young goalie everything in your game will advance quickly and you will have a great foundation to develop more advanced skills.

Please find several short videos attached below. These are simple movement drills that can be done at any ice time by young or old goalies alike. Here demonstrating is 10-year old Ethan Malik of Rockwood ON.

For coaches looking to incorporate these or any other drills like this into practice, it should only take about 5-8 min (which should give you time for 5-10 reps of each) at the start of practice and can easily be done when the players are doing their warm up skate. Younger goalies should have someone watching them and making sure they are doing even simple drills properly, whereas more experienced goalies can use this type of movement drill on their own to warm up without supervision.

Video 1- Crease Umbrella

Goalie starts on top of the crease in a set position then looks and pivots driving to square up with the face off dot on one side, then returns to the center ice dot, then repeats the opposite way. Again, here the pivot and drive with proper weight transfer and edge control is key as is maintaining proper hand and upper body control as well as always looking before the movement. To make this more complex you can add a butterfly and recovery to this movement at any of the set positions, or even a butterfly slide or power slide and a recovery from or into any of the set positions.

Video 2-5 Angle T-push

Here you can set up five cones, each on an angle lined up with the in zone, offside and center ice face off dots (more advanced, don’t use cones). Here the goalie always starts and finishes on opposite posts and uses different amounts of power in their t-pushes to get them the required speed, control and distance in their pushes both from and to the post on either side. This drill is great for conditioning as well as for angles and power and control.

These  are simple drills that any goalie of any skill level can work on. As you get more confident and these start to become easy, then you can always add more advanced skills into them, or you can  work on different drills such as the goalie-specific skating drills from Tomas Hertz here at InGoal)

Tim Fewster is the Director of Operations for Rick Heinz Goalie Schools and teaches full time out of the Kitchener ON area where he works with numerous minor hockey organizations and junior programs. The Rick Heinz program and Tim are available for team training, private lessons, consulting/mentoring and has a summer school with locations all over North America. For more information or to get in touch please check out or email [email protected].

About The Author


  1. Tony

    I find the biggest mistake made during this drill is the players not leading with the stick. The blade tends to flop up and down or worse open right up which is a very bad habit come game time. Once warmed up I like to re-enforce ‘drive with the stick’.

  2. Ethan Malik

    I led with my stick fine watch it again tony

  3. Tomas Hertz, MD, BA

    Dear Ethan,
    As you progress as a goaltender you will hear many things about your skills and ability or the lack of ability. Some will be valid and some will be completely false. The best advice I can give you is to listen and look at everything that is sent your way. If you look objectively at criticism you will decide whether the comments are valid or false. Use everything to try and make yourself better and have quiet confidence at all times. If you look at my skill series some of the comments are silly in my opinion but I take it all in and reflect on what people are saying. I do not need to reply. My comment and advice here is how to address or deal with comments with which you do not agree. We cannot change people’s opinion but they are entitled to speak there mind. All we can do is work hard and be ourselves. You play one of the most criticized positions in all of sports. Best Wishes!

  4. Brad Tucker

    I tend to agree with Ethan in this case and feel like Tony may be trying to see too much in this video. He does lead with his stick and it isn’t flopping around as Tony suggests happens in some situations. While Tony may have some knowledge in the particulars of coaching the position, I would suggest that Ethan continue to interact with the coaches on the ice that see him work on a daily basis. They will probably get him farther than an anonymous guy on the internet.

    As for Tony Hertz MD, BA and his comment, why shouldn’t Ethan defend his position? You basically say that Ethan should shut up and listen to the advice without replying at all. I see no reason for Ethan to do that since his style has grown to his version of leading like that with his stick. Perhaps his game play requires a slightly different technique than what others think is best for a demonstration video and so executes the skill in his manner. Look back to your own comments and note how you yourself say that a goaltender must play the game however they can to stop the puck, even if that means their stick is in a slightly modified position than what you think is best. And why is it that a contributor to InGoal Magazine is critiquing video of an article written by his own publication? Shouldn’t this be worked out before you publish an article?


    Brad Tucker, MS in Kinesiology, BS in Biomechanical Engineering

  5. Brad Tucker

    Sorry Tomas, I called you Tony Hertz MD, BA. Typo on my behalf. My apologies.

  6. BonesDT

    I took it that the original Tony was referring to the common mistakes of goalies in general performing this drill NOT criticizing Ethan directly in this video, who does seem to be leading with his stick properly. I found Tony’s comment helpful in that he reinforced one of the most important elements of this drill.

  7. Vancouver Goalie Coach

    I don’t think anyone was trying to be offensive. It’s all valid input. And good work, Ethan!

    Mike Upton, B.S., S.O.B., .Jpg, .Gif