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Professional Positioning Strategies

Today we are excited to introduce you to Professional Goalie Coach Pasco Valana of Elite Sports Management who has offered to put together a few technique pieces as a contributor to inGoal Magazine. Pasco will also be serving as Chief of Athlete Services for Hockey at the 2010 Olympic Winder Games in Vancouver – so we’ll also look forward to an interesting perspective on the games in a few months. Welcome to the team Pasco!

Pasco Valana, is a professional goaltending coach and consultant based in Vancouver Canada. He started coaching goaltenders in 1994 and in the process developed 41 NCAA scholarship goaltenders, 3 Hobey Baker Finalists,  2 National team members and 10 NHL draft choices. In 2009, Pasco’s clients won national championships at the Junior A Level, NCAA and Professional levels.  Pasco has joined forces with Dallas Stars goaltending coach Mike Valley in the development of Elite Goalies Canada, a Professional Development Camp designed to bring professional services to amateur athletes.

Pasco’s contact information is [email protected] and www.elitesportsmanagement.ca


Professional Positioning Strategies

Think of your body divided into 4 main sections, 2 in the top and 2 on the bottom. The lines below represent the 4 main areas as described in this article.

hockey goalie positioning technique
The goaltender should have strong Visual Attachment on the puck, locked on to every movement that it makes. The puck should be directly in line with your head, evenly between your gloves and your stick and small Micro Moves should be used to maintain
squareness to the puck.

On the shot, the goalie should immediately recognize the angle that the puck is traveling otherwise known as the Puck Trajectory. This movement will enable the goaltender to react to its Vertical or Horizontal Angles.

hockey goalie positioning technique

It is important for the goaltender to not only become proficient in using the glove, blocker, glove and stick, but include your main body frame as well. The goaltender will use the Point of Decision Making to position his/her body to eliminate the shot.

Key Points to Remember

  • The Vertical Angle is located slightly above the waist of most goaltenders where the gloves are to be in position. On the shot, release the position of the player’s stick at the point of impact will begin to show how and when the puck will rise.
  • The same goes with the Horizontal Angle.
  • Gloves should always be in front of the goaltender’s body in the peripheral range of vision. This is one of the single biggest mistakes that goaltenders make causing massive problems with balance, puck and rebound control, squareness, and positioning.
  • The Gloves represent the high posts and elbow of the net. Each skate represents either Horizontal Posts.
  • As the goalie begins to cut down the angle, the Net Space reduces and the shot eliminations become very economical.

hockey goalie positioning technique

  • It is very important to remember that each of the 5 Zones create lanes to your net, and drastically affect the Net Space.
  • The shapes range from Narrow and Tall in Zone 1, Wider and Tall in Zone 2, and Wider and Shorter in Zone 3
  • The red blocks to the right of the ice surface document displays the shapes of the Netspace when the puck is occupying the assigned area.

hockey goalie positioning technique

  • Your body should be positioned to cover the appropriate net space. In order to ensure that you gain and maintain proper net space coverage here are some general skate positioning areas (please keep in mind, customization may be required):

Zone 1 Toes of your skates, Zone 2 Heals on edge of crease, Zone 3, 1 Stick Blade Length on top of the crease.

hockey goalie positioning technique

If these guidelines are followed and become apart of the subconscious mind of the goaltender employing these tactics, increased save percentage and consistency will be the reward.

About The Author

Pasco Valana

Pasco Valana, is a professional goaltending coach and consultant based in Vancouver Canada. He started coaching goaltenders in 1994 and in the process developed 41 NCAA scholarship goaltenders, 3 Hobey Baker Finalists, 2 National team members and 10 NHL draft choices. In 2009, Pasco's clients won national championships at the Junior A Level, NCAA and Professional levels. Pasco has joined forces with Dallas Stars goaltending coach Mike Valley in the development of Elite Goalies Canada, a Professional Development Camp designed to bring professional services to amateur athletes. Pasco's contact information is [email protected] and www.elitesportsmanagement.ca

9 Comments

  1. Jason

    The Best article explaining angles and depth I have read in a long while. Keep up the great posts!

    Reply
  2. paul szabo

    Great article. The thing I notice so often with out goalie school kids is that while they may take a strong forward position when the puck is direcly in front of the goal, when the play moves towards the circle they tend to retreat to the post (instead of the chevron at the edge of the blue ice). So they end up losing all their advantage and get scored on with a shot to the far side.
    Also, this explanation of angles suggests how clearly the younger or small goalie cannot play the deep butterfly style that we see in the NHL (see the article in Goalies World Magazine on Henrik Lundqvist). They are totally different games…

    Reply
  3. Andrew

    This is the most complicated description of goaltending I think I’ve ever read! If I had to think about all that during a game I’d need a clipboard on the top of the net to refer to!

    Reply
  4. Bill

    Angle is THE most important part of any save. If you have time add depth to up the odds of a successful save or save and recovery.

    That is what this is showing you in a visual representation. Andrew if you put on a mask and want to win this all is in your practice. You are doing this in your drills now. This just breaks it down. Plus when some fellow wants to justify big bucks to teach you he has to do something special to make you get the value you paid for…
    I have coached all types of goalies since 1999. The good ones got better and the ok ones worked hard and got good. They ALL won more than lost and where not on great teams. The gave their teams a chance to win every time out.
    When you get good you enjoy the game more because you know what you are doing in the net. Anything else is just being a target. Goalies aren’t targets. The net is the target…. We have one simple job on the ice and that is to stop pucks. When you are good it makes everyone want to play goalie because it looks so easy anyone can do it… till they try it…

    Reply
  5. zach

    great info, helped alot with my math project

    Reply
  6. Mark

    Great breakdown of angles. I’ve been trying to find info on angles for a while, I’ll definitely incorporate this into my practice and warn up drill. Thanks, and I’ll make an update with my progress.

    Reply
  7. kahrina

    Thank you very much. I think that know I know all of these tips and reminders, i will play a way better game out there.

    Reply
  8. Pasco Valana

    Thank you very much for all of your emails regarding the positional mastery articles. The system is very simple and someone can immediately enter this into their game after 1 session of practice. This eliminates the need to over think while the games is going on and instead move to the appropriate position to defend the entrance way to the net with massive confidence. If you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to contact me personally! [email protected]

    follow me on twitter : @goaliecoach for online video analysis

    Reply
  9. Char

    This seemed complicated at first but then I just kept it simple and remembered the red boxes. It tried it in my last game and made great saves simply because I was in position. Thanks

    Reply

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