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Perhaps the most exciting of goalie saves to both make and witness is a glove save. The proper execution of the glove save has seen a number of evolutions in both preference, style, equipment features and types of new scoring threats the game of hockey has developed. As the most mobile piece of equipment goaltenders have. It is very easy for the glove to find itself in less than ideal positions. The ideal glove save will be described in a way that accounts for the newest catch glove equipment styles, the ideal human stance, and the type of scoring threats today’s game presents to a goaltender.
Where should my glove be?
The fundamental concept of a quality glove position is that the humorous bone hangs directly down from shoulder socket. The forearm then is extended out in a loose manner, in front of body so eyes can see puck on the blade of the stick and their own glove in their peripheral vision.
This primary point will impact the success of your glove save greater than the sum of any of the following. Therefore it is crucial that the arm and hand positioning is done in such a manner and reinforced regularly.
Why have my hands out?
The hand out position allows the goaltender a greater opportunity to catch the puck well in front of their body. This is ideal in that it gives space for the goalie to catch up to the puck if needed and it also allows the goalie to maintain visual contact with the puck from the point of its release and along its path to the glove.
In addition, the closer the goalie can place their body or piece of equipment towards the point of the puck’s release the less time the puck has to reach the vertical angle required to find the top portions of the net. Therefore if a goalie is holding their catch glove out in front of their body they will be covering vertical angle and have less area to defend and less area to move their glove to.
New Glove=New hand position
Due to the recent manufacturing of gloves where equipment suppliers are placing the opening of the glove slot and pocket of the glove in a way for the fingertips to be facing towards the ceiling. Teaching goaltenders to hold their catch gloves with their fingertips slightly up or in an 11 o’clock position is key..This positioning will allow goaltenders to catch pucks with a thumb to the chest motion or pinky to the hip motion (wax on wax off) rather than scoop the puck or absorbing the puck by drawing their hand backwards.
Loose hands equal fast hands
Hands should be held out and in front, maintaining their general distance and plain, despite all movement. This should be accomplished without creating stiffness in the arm’s muscle groups. Think about carrying a glass of water while walking and keeping it from spilling. It is this balance between stiff and loose that needs to be executed in order for your gloves to be out, stable and still loose.
If you find your glove becoming a weak spot in your game, try these few concepts and you will quickly see your gloves saves as a strength.
Article by Justin Johnson, Founder of MEGA Goaltending and University of MN Men’s Goalie Coach