Hockey Goaltending Techniques And Styles

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Written By Margaret Satchell

I love helping people get in shape by playing sports instead of just boring gym routines. Live life to the fullest.





In the world of hockey, goaltending is a crucial role that requires a unique set of skills and styles. Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve your technique or a seasoned goalie seeking new strategies, this article is here to guide you. With a focus on providing valuable information and insights, this content aims to educate and inspire hockey enthusiasts to enhance their goaltending abilities. Ditch the mundane gym routines and discover the thrill of getting fit through the exhilarating sport of hockey. Embark on a journey of technique and style as we explore the fascinating world of hockey goaltending.

Types of Goaltending Styles

When it comes to goaltending in hockey, there are different styles that goaltenders can employ to protect their net. These styles, which include the stand-up style, butterfly style, and hybrid style, each have their own unique characteristics and techniques. By understanding these styles, goaltenders can determine which one suits their skills and preferences best. So, let’s dive into each style and explore their definitions, techniques, advantages, and disadvantages.

Stand-up Style


The stand-up style of goaltending is characterized by the goaltender primarily remaining in an upright position, using their skates and stick to make saves. This style relies on quick reflexes and reading the play to react to shots. Stand-up goaltenders typically keep their legs close together and their gloves and blockers positioned in front of their bodies.


In the stand-up style, goaltenders utilize various techniques to make saves. These techniques include using the skate blade to make low saves, holding the stick in a paddle-down position for shots along the ice, and relying on quick hands to catch or deflect high shots. Stand-up goaltenders also utilize their positioning and angles to minimize the amount of net available to shooters.


One advantage of the stand-up style is the ability to quickly move and react to shots. With their legs close together, stand-up goaltenders can easily shift their weight from side to side, allowing for quick lateral movement. Additionally, this style can be less tiring on the goaltender’s legs, as they do not rely as heavily on butterfly slides.


A disadvantage of the stand-up style is the increased vulnerability to low shots. With their legs close together, stand-up goaltenders may have difficulty sealing the bottom of the net, making them more susceptible to shots along the ice. Furthermore, the stand-up style may be less effective against the modern trend of high, quick-release shots that aim to beat the goaltender’s gloves.

Butterfly Style


The butterfly style of goaltending is characterized by the goaltender dropping down to the ice, with their knees and thighs together, to make saves. In this style, the goaltender’s pads are crucial for making saves, with their upper body often leaning forward for balance and to cover the top part of the net.


Goaltenders utilizing the butterfly style employ various techniques to make saves. These include the butterfly slide, where the goaltender pushes off with their skates to move laterally across the crease, and the butterfly flare, where the goaltender extends their legs and rotates their hips to cover more net. The butterfly style also involves utilizing the pads to make saves along the ice and relying on reflexes to make reactionary saves.


One advantage of the butterfly style is its effectiveness against low shots. With their knees and thighs together, butterfly goaltenders can create a seal along the ice, minimizing the amount of net available to shooters. Additionally, the butterfly style is well-suited for making quick, powerful pushes across the crease, allowing goaltenders to cover more ground and make saves in a short amount of time.


A disadvantage of the butterfly style is its reliance on the pads for saves. Since butterfly goaltenders often drop to the ice, they may be more vulnerable to high shots. The upper portion of the net may be exposed, as the goaltender’s body leans forward to cover the bottom part of the net. Additionally, the butterfly style can be more physically demanding, as it requires more frequent drops to the ice and powerful pushes.

Hockey Goaltending Techniques And Styles

Hybrid Style


The hybrid style of goaltending is a mix of both the stand-up and butterfly styles. Goaltenders utilizing this style will adapt their techniques based on the situation, employing either upright positioning or dropping to the ice to make saves. The hybrid style allows goaltenders to combine the advantages of both the stand-up and butterfly styles.


The hybrid style involves a combination of techniques from both the stand-up and butterfly styles. Goaltenders may start in an upright position, using quick lateral movement and reflexes to make saves. However, when facing low shots or needing to cover more net, they may drop to the ice and utilize butterfly techniques. The hybrid style requires goaltenders to be adaptable and make split-second decisions based on the play.


One advantage of the hybrid style is its versatility. Goaltenders can choose the most appropriate technique based on the situation. By incorporating elements of both the stand-up and butterfly styles, hybrid goaltenders can effectively make saves against a wider range of shots. This style also allows goaltenders to conserve energy by utilizing the stand-up style when possible and dropping to the ice only when necessary.


A potential disadvantage of the hybrid style is the need for advanced decision-making skills. Goaltenders must quickly assess the play and determine whether to utilize stand-up or butterfly techniques. This requires experience, practice, and a deep understanding of the game. Additionally, hybrid goaltenders may face challenges when transitioning between the two styles, as the techniques and muscle memory differ.

Save Techniques

In addition to different goaltending styles, goaltenders utilize specific techniques to make saves. These techniques include the glove save, blocker save, pad save, and stick save. Each technique has its own nuances and variations, allowing goaltenders to adapt their saves based on the type and angle of shots they face.

Glove Save

Deflection Technique

When making a glove save, goaltenders can utilize the deflection technique. By angling the glove and deflecting the puck away from the net, goaltenders can redirect shots to the corners or into the protective netting. This technique requires precise timing, hand-eye coordination, and awareness of the shooter’s tendencies.

Catch Technique

Another technique for making glove saves is the catch technique. Goaltenders will position their glove with the palm facing outwards, ready to catch the puck mid-air. This technique is particularly effective against high shots and allows goaltenders to quickly control play and prevent rebounds. Skillful catching technique can also contribute to a goaltender’s overall style and presence in the net.

Blocker Save

Techniques for Blocking Shots

The blocker is an essential piece of equipment in a goaltender’s arsenal. Goaltenders use their blockers to redirect shots away from the net, often referred to as “steering” the puck. This technique involves angling the blocker to guide the puck to a specific location, such as the corners or the boards. Goaltenders must have precise control over their blocker to effectively make saves and prevent rebounds.

Pad Save

Techniques for Making Pad Saves

The leg pads play a significant role in goaltending, especially in the butterfly style. Goaltenders use their pads to cover the lower portion of the net and make saves along the ice. Techniques for making pad saves include proper positioning, utilizing the “butterfly slide” to make lateral saves, and employing a variety of pad angles to seal off the lower corners. Goaltenders must have strong leg muscles and precise control over their pad movements to execute pad saves effectively.

Stick Save

Techniques for Using the Stick to Make Saves

In certain situations, goaltenders may use their stick to make saves. This technique, known as a stick save, involves positioning the stick in front of the body to intercept or redirect the puck. Goaltenders can use the stick to poke-check opposing players, break up passes, or make quick saves in close-quarters situations. Stick saves require excellent hand-eye coordination, timing, and awareness of the play unfolding in front of the net.

Rebound Control

Techniques for Controlling Rebounds

Controlling rebounds is crucial for goaltenders to prevent second-chance opportunities for opposing players. Techniques for controlling rebounds include directing the puck to a specific location away from dangerous areas, absorbing the puck into the body, or actively playing the puck to a teammate. Goaltenders must be aware of their surroundings and make split-second decisions on how to handle rebounds effectively.

Importance of Rebound Control

Effective rebound control not only prevents opposing players from capitalizing on second-chance opportunities but also contributes to overall defensive play. By controlling rebounds, goaltenders can limit offensive zone time for the opposing team, allowing their defensemen to gain possession and transition to offense more efficiently. Good rebound control requires a combination of positional awareness, stick and glove skills, and efficient puck-tracking abilities.

In conclusion, goaltending in hockey encompasses different styles and techniques that goaltenders can employ to protect their net. The stand-up style, butterfly style, and hybrid style each offer their own advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, specific save techniques, such as the glove save, blocker save, pad save, and stick save, contribute to a goaltender’s arsenal. Lastly, the ability to control rebounds effectively is a crucial skill that can have a significant impact on a game. By understanding and practicing these various techniques and styles, goaltenders can elevate their game and become a vital asset to their team’s success on the ice.

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