Goalie Dojo

Goalie Development => Goalie Development => : Sensei Dec 01, 2012, 02:06 PM

: Understanding Puck POV vs Shooter (and Spectator) POV
: Sensei Dec 01, 2012, 02:06 PM
Watch these YouTube videos to understand the difference in the point-of-view (POV) of the puck and that of the shooter (and spectators).

Click to watch YouTube videos (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5262D0ED757C0188)

Many spectators and coaches sometimes criticize goalies for leaving too much room at the top of their nets without realizing the shooter and spectator's point of view (POV) is much different than the POV of the puck. The trajectory of the puck comes from the ice moving in an angle upwards. Ideally, goalies should hold their catching glove angled slightly downward according to the projected trajectory of the puck. Some young goalies tend to hold their gloves facing up because most of the "high" shots are lobbed in (i.e. the "basket catch"). Shooters get better at the age of 8-10 so goalies should be taught to hold their gloves facing more downward rather than upward.

To prevent goals along the ice and in the 5-hole, especially when the shot is from close in, the butterfly will cover more of the bottom of the goal as well as top (with the upper body and arms) in relation to the puck's POV. Young goalies should not be criticized for using the butterfly as it has a higher net coverage than just standing up. Goalies who play according to the puck's POV will have greater success than playing the shooter or spectator's POV. Young goalies should be taught about puck POV and the proper butterfly at an early stage.

Coaches, parents and spectators should not be so disappointed when "high" shots go in on goalies who are barely over 4 feet tall. For young goalies, the net is like a soccer net to them because they are shorter than the crossbar. And because of the length of their arms they cannot even reach far over their heads. At this age, it is very difficult to stop high shots even when standing up (even the width of the net surpasses their full arm span). Even if the goalie is in the proper position and depth, better shooters can lob the puck high over them just like in soccer. Unlike in soccer where they use smaller nets, most youth hockey goalies have to guard a net that is NHL size and way too large for their scale. As they grow taller they will be able to reach with their arms and use their upper body to stop high shots.

New young goalies tend to go down on every shot, even if they are high. This is just a lack of experience, confidence and patience. As the goalie gains more experience with shots from every angle they will be more confident and select the appropriate save. This is all part of maturing. People always say "stand up" though they do not even know why they are saying this. Of course when the goal comes in from a high shot, in hindsight you can say that maybe the goalie could have stopped it if he had just stood up. But in reality, the majority of shots are low and the butterfly has a higher probability of saves. It is the predominant method in the NHL and high level hockey. That is why new goalies should be taught the proper butterfly first and recovering quickly from the butterfly to get into the next position. As the goalie matures and gets practice with higher shots then he/she will understand the situations where to stand up and use the gloves, chest, shoulders, and arms (and even head).

How Puck POV relates to glove positioning

If we understand puck POV, then that tells us the glove (i.e. palm) should be aimed at the puck which will travel from ice level in an upward angle (trajectory) - unless it is a shot along the ice or a shot batted in from mid-air. To play the puck POV, then goalies should have their palm/fingers up (preferably anywhere between 3 and 12 o'clock position - 2 is a nice stance) and arm out forward - meaning the elbow should be off the body, forearm in front and elbow bent about 40-60 degrees. This allows for greater arm mobility and is much like the way we play catch or baseball except the palm is aimed at the puck on ice level instead of higher as when a ball is thrown or hit from a height above ground level. Shooters might not understand this because their eyes are usually 5-6 feet off the ice (and higher for spectators). It may look like the goalie's glove positioning is wrong when in fact it is perfectly aimed at the puck. Great scorers will pretend they are the puck and try to see the net as if they were the puck. Good thing not many shooters do this and are fooled by the "POV illusion".

I do not teach "fingers up" or "fingers down" but teach goalies to follow the puck with the palm of their hands (like you have a magical magnetic force in your hand). This usually means their palm/fingers are up and changing at times between the 3 and 12 o'clock position depending on puck distance and the expected trajectory of puck. The key is to keep the arm mobile by not locking the elbow to the side and keeping the forearm in front of body which will allow it to move to the side, up and down freely and naturally.

Note that there are still some goalies who use the "Fingers Up" position incorrectly or inefficiently. With the Fingers Up position do not hold your hand high in front of your face or shoulder because that is double coverage, and your glove is covering above the net instead of the crossbar down. The glove should be around waist/stomach high to the side (if in stance), but will depend how close the puck is from you, how tall you are, and whether you're in a high, medium or low stance. Of course, you may have to move your hand to high/low/inside/outside places when you make the catch but if you are in a stance or trying to get set, make sure you maximize the net coverage in relation to the puck.

See the photos below or click here to watch YouTube video (http://youtu.be/63D1ZLQv-VI).



With fingers down position the goalie looks "spectacular" when making a glove save because he has to bring his hand up as in "flashing the leather". With fingers up or slightly up, the hand is already there for the puck to just enter and it does not look so "spectacular" because there is no or very little upward movement of the arm. Sometimes the puck may even go in and out if the shot is so hard (a block). But it is a save rather than a goal.

The glove hand will move between 3 and 12 o'clock and be held high-med-low depending on the ever-changing situations of a live game (drills and practices might be different). There is not one right way. You must be adaptable to different situations. Goalies are not robots and should not move like one.