Select Page

McKenna: Use Boards To Learn Proper Reverse-VH

McKenna: Use Boards To Learn Proper Reverse-VH

For Florida Panthers goaltender Mike McKenna, the education in RVH, or the Reverse-VH, began while he was with the Columbus Blue Jackets organization under the guidance of goaltending coach Ian Clark. McKenna shared his experiences in the latest edition of InGoal Magazine:

“Early on in training camp, I took the ice alongside Sergei Bobrovsky and witnessed something completely new and (to me) revolutionary: he was using his skate blade flush against the post, not only to push and stop, but also to swivel forward and back. His movements were quick, powerful, and technically precise. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Then Curtis McElhinney took the ice and did the exact same thing!

It didn’t take long to figure out this was the future of post-integration and I needed to learn it as soon as possible. I didn’t want to get left behind by the latest technical wave of goaltending. And so Clark and I set off on a crash course in RVH (or Reverse as he preferred to call it), hastily trying to bring my game to a new level of proficiency during two weeks of training camp.

What I didn’t expect was the degree of difficulty associated with it.

It looks easy on film and frame but when applied on the ice there are a multitude of details that must be accomplished precisely and in a timely manner. … Learning it requires coaching, and not every coach understands the concept in its entirety.

In two weeks of training camp I wasn’t able to get completely comfortable with RVH. I could push to the post, hit my blade square, and push back where I came from without problem. But being able to swivel on the post and change my angle was not something that came easy.

It doesn’t help that just being able to practice RVH can also be problematic because the net often comes off too easily. When I left Columbus to join the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League, I found our practice nets were never properly pegged into the ice.

Sure, they had the old time practice pegs, the ones with the triangular bump on the bottom, but most goalies already know, all it takes is one solid impact and those posts are ruined for the rest of practice. They won’t stay in place. So the only time I truly had to practice RVH in a proper setting was during games, which is less than optimal for several obvious reasons. You want to train in practice so you don’t have to think when the real competition begins.

So I was forced to come up with a practice solution.”

McKenna found that solution by using the boards, something he called an “ah ha” moment:

Mattie demo RVH Boards

“Once I learned to how plant my anchor leg with authority, swivelling became much easier, and soon after I was able to use the post to push off in any direction I pleased. No longer did I have to release the post and contact the ice with my skate blade. Now, on bad angle plays where the RVH is utilized, I am able to play within my posts, minimizing movements and allowing me to stay squarer on a greater percentage of shots from the slot or even back door.

Using the boards to practice RVH is a versatile tool that can be used in many different ways.”

McKenna explains how to use the boards to learn RVH, including a video from his time working on it with students at the Racine Goalie Academy in his native St. Louis, in the June edition of InGoal Magazine. Read the entire article and watch the video by clicking here.

About The Author


  1. Doug

    Dan Spence teaches this regularly and it’s amazing how difficult it is, even for the advanced / elite goalies. Builds tremendous strength and control.

  2. Fly girl

    I just discovered McKenna’s articles and they are making me so happy. He really can write! They’re tremendous fun. More please <3