Home > Technique > Keep Your Stick Down!

Keep Your Stick Down!

So many goals can be prevented if the goaltender keeps their stick firm on the ice. What tends to happen is as you are looking through a screen or T-Pushing to the other post or being drawn off angle by a player going east to west, you lift your stick just ever so slightly off the ice. It is around this time that a shot is taken along the surface and scoots right in under your stick and between your legs. The other situation where a goaltender typically lifts their stick is right when a shot is taken or when they drop into butterfly. The goalie flinches when the shot happens and the instinct is to bring everything closer to the body including the arms and the stick comes up.

Until it becomes automatic you have to figure out a way to remind yourself to keep your stick down on the ice. Face-offs are always a good time to practice this. As you are setting up make sure one of the first things you do is firmly plant your stick into the surface. Whenever you are about to get into a ready stance as the play is coming towards you, same thing, get your stick down. Imagine the ice has a gravitational pull on your stick and you can’t resist it. 🙂 Anything you can think of as long as you get that stick down.

When you are off-ice you can practice at home by getting on your skates and leg pads in the basement and focus solely on not letting the stick raise even a hair off the carpet as you drop into butterfly. Eventually it will become second nature to keep your stick down and you will no longer give up those ugly goals that sneak right under you. One thing to remember is that if you keep you stick down, there is less dependency on your leg pads to seal up the five-hole and the ice when you drop into a full or half butterfly save. The area you need to worry about is just over the stick and with a fast butterfly you should be able to seal that area up in time.

Another reason to keep your stick down is the advantage you have of better control of the puck. Having your stick down and in place for a save will allow you to direct the puck safely out of harms way instead of the puck ricocheting off your pads back out into the slot onto an opposing player’s stick for an easy goal. When you drop down for a shot along the ice your stick should be the first thing the puck hits, not your pads.

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