How to Play Goalie in Hockey

In hockey, the name of the game is to put pucks in the net and score more than your opponent does. The player that has the biggest impact on whether these pucks go in the net is the goalie. Everyone plays a part, but it is ultimately the goalie who stops pucks or lets them in.

Goalies are under a lot of pressure and carry a lot of weight on their shoulders when it comes to stopping the puck. It is a very important role, and one that takes a very special individual and player to do well.

But there is a lot more to playing goalie than simply standing in the net and blocking pucks. With that in mind, this blog post is going to go over some tips and tricks for successfully playing goalie in hockey.

Get Your Positioning Right

Arguably the most important part of playing goalie in hockey is making sure that you get your positioning right. Your feet should be around a shoulder width apart, your knees and ankles should be slightly bent, your chest should be up, and your stick and blocker in position.

In addition to your body positioning, you need to ensure you are in the right position on the ice. You want to block off as much of the net as possible from approaching shooters, so try to work with angles to ensure you have most of the net covered.

You want to often be squared up to the puck, and make an effort to get close to the shooter. You don’t want to overcommit and have them blow by you, but the further back you are from the shooter, the more you will have to move to make a save.

If you want to learn more about angles and positioning for goalies, be sure to check out this video.

Perfecting the Proper Skating Technique

When you think of goalies, you might not think much about skating but the truth is, it is a very important part of being a successful goalie. Goalies are almost always moving, need to be incredibly balanced, and need to be able to drop and rise from the ice very quickly.

In most cases, you will need to learn how to crease shuffle well, which is essentially being able to glide back and forth in your net gracefully without tripping or catching an edge. You need to be able to do this quickly, and without having to take much time to think about it.

Be sure to check out this video to learn more about the crease shuffle and how it can help goalies.

Choose a Playing Style and Practice

When it comes to playing goalie, there are a few different styles you can use. There is stand-up, butterfly, and hybrid. Stand-up goalies generally stay on their feet, while butterfly goalies play down on their pads. Hybrid goalies play a little bit of both depending on the situation.

Most goalies today are generally hybrids, but this isn’t always the case. Some hybrids may favor one or the other, but this can vary on a player-to-player basis. Some may be more comfortable standing, while some may enjoy being low to the ice and being able to play off of their pads.

Try out the different styles, and see which you prefer. Once you have chosen the playing style based on your preferences or body, you need to practice with it and prepare yourself for in-game situations that may come your way.

Run Through Various Drills

Just like with any position in hockey, part of getting better is practicing. The best way to practice being a better goalie is by running through some drills. You should practice going back and forth across the crease, and practice dropping to your pads and rising back up quickly. 

In general, you will also want to go through drills that help you work on your weaknesses. For example, if you struggle with rebounds, practice making sure you can successfully cover up the puck in traffic after making a save.

Also, you want to make sure that you are good at saving shots not only with your pads and blocker but even with your stick and glove. In addition to drills, in particular, even simply saving shots from friends or teammates can help you to build up your skills over time.

As you can see, a lot goes into successfully playing the goalie position, and I hope that this guide has been able to help you learn how to play goalie. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below if you feel I left some important information out.

About Kale
Being from Canada, hockey is essentially a way of life. I instantly fell in love with the game since I was being put on skates. From playing as a child (and the occasional street hockey game with friends today) to being a fan for over 20 years, I’m here to share my knowledge and passion for hockey.

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