hockey goalie drills

Movement Drills

Movement drills are the foundation of a goalie’s skillset. They provide the goalie with the necessary speed, agility, and stability to anticipate, prepare, and make saves in all game situations and do use a puck. Movement drills are the most necessary basics to master and will lead into the development of all other areas of a goalie’s game. Movement drills include foot/skate work, sliding, t-pushes, cuts, and positioning in net.

Middle-out T-push: The middle-out T-push drill begins with the goalie “T” push or “C” cut to the top of the crease, setting to prepare for a shot. The goalie then t-pushes back to the opposite post from where they started. The goalie should be sure to focus on rotating their hips into strong pushes with the driving leg and to lead into the push with the blocker and glove.

Puck Movement T-Push: This drill consists of three pucks laid out in the crease. Puck 1 is on a post (drill can be reversed to either side), Puck 1 is laid at the top of the near side crease corner and Puck 2 is laid at the far side crease corner. To perform the drill, the goalie begins at the post, C-cuts out to Puck 1 and sets feet. From Puck 1, the goalie t-pushes to Puck 1 and sets feet. From Puck 3, the goalie T-pushes back to the post and sets feet. This drill should be reversed to focus on both sides.

Off-Post Small Shuffle: To begin this drill, the goalie positions themself on the post. They then t-push to the opposite side crease corner and set their feet. Once positioned, they shuffle to center themself in the net at the top of the crease. Once centered, the t-push back to the post opposite from that started. This drill should be repeated from both sides. In this drill, the goalie should focus on small shuffles and performing strong, explosive t-pushes across the crease.

Out, Over, and Butterfly Side Back: In this drill, the goalie begins on the post and T-pushes out to the center of the top of the crease and sets feet. The goalie then makes a small t-push to the corner of the crease on the side started. Finally, the goalie rotates hips and makes a butterfly slide to the opposite side post to complete the repetition. In this drill the goalie should focus on sliding with pads together and sealed and using the inside skate edge to stop the slide to prepare for a change in shot position.

Fundamental Drills

Fundamental drills are designed to provide the basic architecture for a goalie’s movements and typical saves they will encounter throughout the game.  This includes blocker, glove, and pads saves from common angles and without auxiliary complications such as screening or deflections from a player in front of the net.  These saves are designed to be easy to build a goalie’s confidence in a game.

Middle Out Butterfly Saves: This drill requires 1 player and is designed to focus on the goalie’s use of his/her stick in the butterfly position with a direct shot. In this drill, the goalie begins at the post and T-pushes out to the top of the crease. Once his/her feet are set, the shooter shoots the puck low on the ice at the goalie’s 5-hole. The goalie should focus on cleanly dropping into the butterfly position and minimizing the amount of motion with his/her stick hand while still directing the puck to the desired corner. Once the save is made, the goalie recovers to the post nearest the rebound.

On-Ice Rebound Control Drill: This drill requires 2 players and is designed to focus on the goalie’s recovery from a save made in the half-butterfly position. The shooter is positioned above the hash marks and the goalie begins the drill with feet set at the top corner. The goalie t-pushes to the center of the top of the crease and the shooter shoots a shot low to the ground and favoring the side opposite from the starting corner. A second shooter is positioned just off the crease on the weak side to attack any rebound given up. The goalie should focus on making the save in a half-butterfly position and recovering to the far side to make a save on the rebound chance.

Glove and Tracking Drill: This drill requires 3 (or 4) players. Passer 1 is positioned below the goal line with pucks, while Shooter 1 and Shooter 2 are positioned level with the top of the circles and in line with the hash marks in the slot. The drill consists of the goalie beginning on the post closest to Passer 1. Passer 1 passes the puck to either Shooter 1 or Shooter 2 who shoots high corners to test the goalie’s tracking of blocker and glove. Repeat with Passer 2 on the opposite side of the net below the goal line. The goalie should focus on strong T-pushes to the top of the crease to reduce the shooter’s angle. The shooter does not shoot until the goalie has set his/her feet at the top of the crease.

On-Ice Butterfly Recovery: This drill emphasizes on recovery after a save in butterfly position. It features 3 shooters with Shooter 1 at the hash marks and Shooters 2 and 3 flanking the sides of the crease about 4ft out. Shooter 1 shoots a puck to the goalie’s glove side and goalie makes the save in the half-butterfly position. Goalie recovers to take a shot from Shooter 2. Goalie recovers to the top center of the crease with a T-push to take a second shot from Shooter 1, who shoots blocker side. Goalie replicates recovery and movement to take a shot from Shooter 3 and finishes with a T-push back to top center of the crease.

Skating Drills

Box Drill - T-Push/Butterfly Slide/Shuffle: This warmup style drill is designed to engrain the rotational butterfly slide into the goalie’s skillset. The drill is set up with 2 pucks placed 3-4 feet outside the corners of the crease. The goalie starts at one post and T-Pushes to the puck on the opposite corner, then slides across to the puck on the opposite corner. The goalie then T-Pushes back to the opposite post; and finally shuffles across the goal line post-to-post. Repeat starting on the opposite post.

Box Drill - T-Push: This is a variation on the Butterfly Slide Box Drill. Pucks are placed 3-4 feet outside the corners of the crease and the goalie utilizes T-Pushes to get from puck to puck, with the goal of centering the puck in front of the goalie on each push. Repeat drill for both left and right T-pushes.

Box Drill - Down-push: Another variation of the Butterfly Slide Box Drill. In this variation, the goalie uses down pushes (in butterfly, pushing with one leg while other leg remains in butterfly) to get from puck to puck. The goalie should practice turning hips prior to push and utilizing an adjustment/stop after each push to center themself on each puck.

Butterfly Slide: This drill is designed to simulate a puck moving from low in the corner to the slot where a shot is taken. The goalie begins standing at the top of the crease and T-Push to a puck sitting just off the top corner of the crease. The goalie then slides in a butterfly push back to the opposite post, ending in RVH position. Then the goalie should recover to their feet and shuffle to the opposite post, and finally T-Push back to the starting position at the top of the crease. Repeat going the opposite direction. The goalie should focus on good butterfly slide control.

Puck Handling Drills

Puck handling drills are important for goalies at intermediate and advanced levels of play to master in order to help control the game for his/her team. The stop/set of a dump-in can assist his/her team in regrouping and countering a play on offense.

Puck Play Forehand: In this drill, the goalie is positioned below the goal line (not in net) with a marker (puck, puck bag, etc) positioned on the goal line. The goalie will receive a pass on the forehand, drag the puck around the marker, and pass it back to the player on his/her forehand.

Puck Play Backhand: Similarly to Puck Play Forehand, this drill is a repeat with the goalie receiving the pass on the backhand and passing on the forehand.

End-Boards Stop/Set (On Ice)/Puck Play Forehand and Backhand: Simply enough, this drill focuses on stopping the puck from both sides of a dump-in around the boards with the puck low to the ice. The drill consists of a player shooting a puck from the blue-line to around the boards and behind the net. When stopping the puck from the glove side, the goalie should focus on maintaining a handle on the shoulder of the stick and using his/her skate to support the back of the stick. When stopping a puck from the blocker side, the goalie should create a trap with his/her stick and skate by placing the skate parallel to the boards and the backhand of the stick firmly against the back of the skate perpendicularly. The goalie should focus on maintaining control of the puck and minimizing time spent preparing the puck to handle to a player. Once the dump-in is made, the player skates from the blue-line to the dot, while the goalie makes the pass to the player either on the forehand and backhand depending on the side of the dump-in and makes the pass to the player.

Situational Drills

Situational drills are designed to replicate in-game situations at game speed. These drills feature skaters moving in the zone, screens, and rebounds. Many of these drills can easily be tailored to the goalie with different variations as the coach sees fit.

Post Awareness: This drill features three shooters and the goalie will face 3 shots per repetition. The three players begin in the corner with pucks. Two cones are placed on the ice; one at the top of the circle and the other on the same circle dot. Player 1 skates from the corner and up the boards, curling around the top cone to take a shot. After the shot is taken, Player 1 goes to the front of the net for a rebound on subsequent shots. Player 2 skates up the boards and curls around the center dot cone and takes a shot. Likewise, Player 2 remains in front of the net for a rebound on shot 3. With the puck, Player 3 crashes the net for a goal line scoring chance.

Stacking Traffic: This drill is designed to focus on shooters from multiple angles and can replicate common situations in a penalty kill. Four players are used for this drill, all begin with a puck. Two players are positioned at each faceoff dot and the remaining two are positioned below the blue line. Beginning left-to-right, Player 1 shoots from the faceoff dot and crashes the net. Player 2 shoots from the high position beneath the blue line and follows through for a rebound and crashes the net. Players 3 and 4 each follow, subsequently adding more opportunity for deflection and rebounds. In this drill, the goalie should focus on seeing around the traffic in front of the net and rebound control.

One Timers: This drill features two shooters set at either face-off dot. The goalie will start square to one shooter, who will make a pass across to the second shooter while the goalie tracks the puck and moves in a butterfly slide side-to-side, eventually squaring up to the second shooter who shoots a one-timer. Repeat with the shooter and passer roles reversed, practicing movement to both sides.

Two on Zero: Two skaters start at the blue line and approach the goalie on a two on zero odd man rush. The goalie needs to track the puck as the players pass between them until ultimately one shot is taken.

Behind Net Angle Change: This drill features one shooter and one passer. The passer starts in the corner behind the end line, with the goalie tight against the near side post closest to them. The passer carries the puck around behind the net and passes out the far side to the shooter, who is positioned at the face off dot on the far side. The shooter receives the pass and takes the shot while the goalie has moved across the net, following the passer, to square up.

RVH Drills

RVH or “Reverse Vertical Horizontal” is a relatively new fundamental of butterfly goaltending.  The RVH position is most commonly used when the puck is behind the net and consists of the goalie’s post leg sealing the ice in butterfly (horizontal) with the opposite leg still on edge in the vertical position.  Drills oriented specifically to RVH positioning can give the goalie the confidence to use this technique in a game situation. 

Basic Net Drive: This drill is designed to engrain the RVH positioning in the goalie’s skillset by creating a basic game situation of a player crashing the net from behind the goal line.  A cone should be placed on the goal line about 6 feet from the near side post to ensure the shooter remains in-tight to the goal.  The shooter begins in the corner below the goal line and skates between the goal and the cone and attempts to “stuff” the puck in tight.  Alternately, the player can make a pass to a shooter positioned in the circle on the opposite side, in which case the goalie will need to push off the post to be in position for a shot from the opposite side. The goalie should focus on retaining post coverage as long as possible and ensuring a tight seal to both the post and the ice.  This drill should be repeated for both sides.

Basic Net Drive with Rebound Recovery: This drill is an addition to the “Basic Net Drive” drill and requires an additional player.  Part one of the drill is the same as above.  Once the first net drive shot is taken, a second player is positioned at the top of the near circle to take a shot.  The goalie should practice recovering out of the RVH position to set feet and accept the shot.

Drills are a necessary part of the game and can be the key to becoming consistent and fluid in making movements around the crease while becoming comfortable making saves from all angles. Through this, goalies should find comfort and consistency in their gear as the proper fitting gear can help form good habits in practice and increase confidence in high-pressure game situations. Whether you’re a new goalie looking to adapt to the basics, or an experienced goalie working on mastering every aspect of their game, finding the perfect goalie equipment doesn't have to be an overwhelming process. With our buying guides and the deepest product inventory, at GoalieMonkey you’re sure to find the exact goalie gear for your needs.

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