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Rebound Control: Taking away the Second Shot

Controlling the rebounds is one of the most sought after skills by today’s goaltenders. It is the difference between winning and losing hockey games while in the tightest playoff races.

Once a goaltender learns to execute the basic skills (reading and reacting to the puck and positioning) the goaltender must acquire the ability to quickly identify low traffic areas on the ice while the puck is being set up for the shot on goal. The best way to describe this would be a “2 camera approach.”

Camera 1/ Your Eyes: The goaltender has strong visual attachment on the puck and constantly positions and repositions his/ her body to prepare to stop the puck.

Camera 2/ Your Mind’s Eyes: The goaltender uses peripheral vision to identify higher traffic areas, then sees the flow of the play moving through his / her mind to identify low risk areas. Once the shot is taken, the goaltender uses a skill set that favours the save (if unable to smother), and places his body in the position to the redirect the puck to a low risk area.

Stop and Block (in a butterfly position)
A goaltender that uses only the stop or block method will stop the puck (1st shot) and that’s where it ends. If the shot is taken straight on, the rebound will most likely end up in either corners.

When the same approach is used with the shot coming from the left or right side points, the inside shot will end up in a high threat area. This example shows the inside rebound ending up in the exact opposite side in the furthest point away from the goaltender leaving the team vulnerable.

The sign of a stronger and more mature goaltender will be the goaltender who not only stops but directs or steers the puck into areas that alleviate the pressures for their team. In the photo below, you will see that Marty Turco is angling his body to redirect the puck into the appropriate corner. He is guarded and not over rotating, his eyes are on the puck and is protecting the net nicely. This rebound will end up on his strong side where little movement is required to set up for the next attack from the opposition.


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

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

2 Comments

  1. Jason Power

    Its amazing this little subtlety is overlooked (or unknown) by about 100% of youth coaches out there. Another great article Pasco…

  2. CB

    How fortunate for me to find this article. My son is now discovering the need to prevent shots off rebounds. I’ve tried explaining the concept of paying attention to two things simultaneously and the 2 camera approach succinctly conveys exactly what the goalie needs to do to.

    Thank you for the insight.