Part Three – WHEN TO ATTACK

Part 3 of 3

Welcome to the final instalment of the Phantom Stick Phenomenon article. We discussed the importance of STICK SIZE in part 1 and HOW to lead with the stick in part 2. This final article focuses more on advanced stick positioning.

WHEN TO ATTACK THE PUCK WITH THE STICK?

When I was playing nets, all my coaches use to tell me to make every low save with my stick. This was pretty good advice back in the day as their logic was to direct all the pucks to the corner in order to control rebounds. However, there has been a growing movement away from the habit of making ALL low saves with the stick. I was working with Tom Dempsey, Goalie Guru and Ottawa 67’s goalie coach, and he was consistently instructing his goalies to keep their sticks in their 5 hole whenever sliding towards the sides of the net (dead angle shots). At first, this technique seemed strange but upon further review, it is a great addition to any goalie’s game.


The logic of not moving the stick away from the 5 hole is that the pad, when in a butterfly, is already facing the corner. Therefore, moving your stick in front of your pad is not creating any advantage as the blade of the stick has the same angle and is covering the same area as the pad. However, moving the stick towards the pad does create a big hole between the legs. The threat amplifies when the goalie is transitioning into his/her sliding butterfly as the legs naturally spread open for a split second when the goalie starts his/her downwards push. If the goalie is also leading with the stick in front of his/her pad, it leaves the 5 hole wide open for the player to make you look really bad.

In light of this evolved technique, I have created a rule that I consistently apply at my Goalie U clinics. When there is a direct shot and you are set and have time to react, you should move your stick to make the save and direct the pucks to the corner or above the glass. Whenever you are in transition (moving throughout the crease) or on the dead angles you should not attempt to make the save with the stick. You should also never lead with the stick when beginning your slide as this creates a big gap between the legs. In these two situations, try to keep your stick between the 5 hole and let your legs do all the work. I guarantee the number of 5 hole goals will decrease.

This is a very unnatural technique to apply, so in practice, work on lots of dead angle shots or sliding butterfly drills towards the post. Remember to always keep your stick between the legs and eventually this will become second nature. Until next time, keep the pads tight and be the hero and post the zero.

2 Responses to “Part Three – WHEN TO ATTACK”

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