Hockey Lab Japan articles #5

Good Saving Circulation


"Save after Save"... Let's understand the mechanics of the

by Mikio & Hiroki WAKABAYASHI

Good Saving Circuration

fig.1 Good Saving Circulation


Great goalies like Patrick Roy or John Vanbiesbrouck can stop not only the first shot but the second, third or even the forth one. And surprisingly their movements often look simple and easy even in the toughest series of situations like SIDE REBOUND after the SCREEN SHOT. (watch for example, P. Roy stopped 4 continuous shots in the middle of the 1st period: 1995-96 Stanley Cup Final, Game 1)

Those kind of "Save after save" highlights won't come out from just 'great reflection and jumping around the net', nor just by luck.

When great goalies play their game, they'er all running on the track of the 'Good Saving Circulation'

Fig.1 will help you to understand the concept of the 'Good Saving Circulation'. Here you can identify five essential elements of goaltending plus the sports vision, and the relations between them.

Saving: Saving is undeniably the main object of goaltending. Thus saving technique is located on the top of the figure. Compact save, save the shot by the minimum movement, is ideal because too much movement always cost your balance and hurt this good circulation. You can make your saves compact and easy with following elements.

Positioning: Proper positioning will make your saves much easier. You have to position yourself right between the puck and center of the goal mouth, and square yourself to the puck on the top of the crease before the shot is fired.

Movement: In order to keep on following fast actions around the net and position yourself properly, quick and precise movement is strongly required. You have to develop powerful T-PUSH, SHUFFLE, BUTTERFLY SLIDE movements and so on. According to Francois Allare, "You can't catch up modern game situations by T-GLIDE or dull shuffle. No time to glide. You have to push hard and stop hard right after the push"

Basic stance: Good saving and movement comes from good basic stance. Your stance has to be ready for moving any direction and saving any kind of shots. Keep your feet wide apart and make no hole between your arms and body like Patrick Roy and John Vanbiesbrouck. This basic stance gives you advantage to move laterally and to close five-hole very quickly, and also give the shooter fewest targets.

Balance: The final element 'BALANCE' is, in fact ,the most important fundamental ability for goaltending. Because you can't make your saves easy without good balanced basic stance. And you need good body balance control to move quickly.

As you see clearly, these five elements are closely related each other and forming what we call 'Saving Circulation'.

Good BALANCED BASIC STANCE will provide you quick MOVEMENT, thus you can POSITION yourself well in front of the puck before the shot is fired, so you can make compact and solid SAVE to continue this good saving circulation.

Saving circulation is easily broken by one bad element and then starts to form the BAD CIRCULATION.

For example, if you lose your balance, your movement will be late for positioning yourself properly. So the shot is going to be the tough one, saving won't be compact. If you succeeded to save it like 'ACROBATIC BIG SAVE', bad circulation will continue unless your DF clear the puck or prevent the second and third shots. Because acrobatic big saves always cost your balance and limit next movements.

The only way to stop the bad circulation is to get back yourself in well balanced stance as quickly as possible.

Sports Vision: The center of this circulation, there is the SPORTS VISION ability. No element would be strongly established without good sports vision. As we mentioned in our previous issue about sports vision (see Back #3 or "Goalies' WORLD #7") sports vision ability is the backbone of the good saving circulation and so is the key to improve today's goalies.

We've already discussed how to train your sports vision. Now it's time to talk about how to train the second crucial element, BALANCE. (Continues to the next issue...)

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