Thursday, May 31, 2012

Scoring on Butterfly goaltenders

No style is perfect.  Goaltender's come in all different shapes, sizes and skill sets.  The dominant style in today's training model is for kids to learn, understand and use some variation of the popular "butterfly style of goaltending.

For those who don't know, here is a brief history-  "In ice hockey, "butterfly style" is a technique of goaltending distinguished by the goaltender guarding the lower part of the net by dropping to the knees to block attempts to score. The butterfly style derives its name from the resemblance of the spread goal pads and hands to a butterfly's wings. The butterfly style is contrasted with stand-up style, where most shots on a goal are stopped with the goaltender on his or her feet. Many factors helped make it a defacto standard style of play today, including the invention of the goalie mask by Jacques Plante, Vladislav Tretiak's outstanding use of the style at the 1972 Canada–USSR Summit Series, the National Hockey League (NHL) emergence of Tony Esposito in the 1970s and Patrick Roy in the 1980s, the development of lightweight materials for pads and the influence of professional goaltending coaches such as Warren Strelow, Benoit and Francois Allaire. There are few who exclusively employ a stand-up style in the NHL.[1]
Although it is effective and popular among goaltenders, the butterfly style can leave the upper portion of the net more vulnerable to scoring attempts. The modern "profly" derivative was made most popular by Roy and is the style most commonly used and taught.[2]" Reprinted courtesy of

Here are four ways shooters can be proactive in their approach to Butterfly goaltenders.
1) Quick and unexpected release- Catch him off balance and before he can set up.  The faster the release the quicker he'll need to reacte, and the less time he'll have to prepare to control any rebound.
2) Miscommunication- Get the goaltender to make his move first by utilizing a fake shot.  It's like playing poker, you'll know what you are dealing with. 
3) Creating Rebounds It may take two shots to score, but aiming low and far pad will create a rebound for a teammate.
4) Understand your angle- A left hand shot coming down the right way, or a right hand shot coming down the left side has an unbelievable angle shooting advantage.  A players vision is actually 1-3 feet to the left or right of their stick and several feet higher than were the actual puck is.  What you see is not what the puck sees.  Generally speaking, lower and closer to your body is better.

* A 1996 NHL study revealed trends in goal scoring. A whopping 72% of NHL goals were scored from within 15 feet of the net, to the stick side, and between 0-18 inches off the ice.

Here is a video of Brett Hull.  Brett Hull was a natural goal scorer with one of the quickest releases and hard shots in NHL history.  In addition to that, he read goaltenders amazingly well, and exploited their first move.  You can learn a lot by just watching...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Run Hills to Improve Speed and Confidence

Hill running is a great way to build up power in your legs.  Utilizing bodyweight and gravity, hill running is one of the simplest ways to develop explosive power in all the muscles in your legs. When you improve the strength and power in your legs, you will skate faster by maximizing each stride.

The goal of the hill run is to get up the hill as quickly and explosively as possible.   For hockey, you should pick out a hill that can be conquered in at the start 10-20 seconds.  Short bursts of speed most closely replicate the activity you will perform during a hockey game.  Gradually, you should aim to work your way up to 30-45 seconds by conquering longer and/or steeper inclines.  The 30-45 second hill will match that of a typical shift in a typical hockey game.  The longer the hill, the greater the cardiovascular training element. 

To start, these hills should be sprinted up 10 times to start, with gradual increases in the amount of repetitions.  It is important to note that you should jog down at three quarters speed back to the starting position.  The jog return is an important part of resistance training.

Hill training, is a very simple yet very effective exercise. Always try to push yourself past to your limit, as this is the only way to see results!  NFL great Jerry Rice built his off-season training around Hill running, and had amazing results.  Here is a video: