Why should we care how a goalie jumps?

By Maurice Tanel


Our training system has always made it a priority to build the foundation of the student’s ‘Athletic Structure’ by gradually setting in place the goalie specific techniques. This technical framework foundation will support the student’s Body and Edge Control that results in the Power and Agility needed to control the crease.

A ‘Reaction Ready Stance’ provides a goalie the structure to be physically prepared to deliver timely acceleration during dynamic situations.

This picture of a basic standing stance highlightsa squared body and creates a vertical silhouette that clearly exposes the jersey logo with shoulders and hands square to puck. The alignment establishes the structure necessary to create the force to execute crease positioning and save executions.

Our development partners at FITS have donated a great blog that provides insight and some quick testing that gives perspective on how alignment and sequencing can impact a goalie’s movement in the crease.

Why should we care how a goalie jumps?

Writing this article is interesting, to be honest, it is a bit of a re-write. I prepared this article a couple of years ago for the FITS Toronto blog. Looking back at it now, I still agree with what I had said previously, but where I am right now in my coaching career, I think there were some key points that I had missed.

The vertical jump is used in nearly all athletic combines, including those for the OHL and NHL. Which is great, but too often people get seduced by the numbers, or more often than not for hockey players, dejected. Line up our junior aged guys at our jump mat (measuring in inches), and the numbers start getting yelled out. “28.4!… 30.2!…. 29!… 35.2!… uh, 23.5. Typical hockey guys will just laugh it off “Haha, whatever, this has nothing to do with playing hockey, I don’t need to jump.”

For sure, hockey players don’t need to jump, on the ice. But if we assess the qualitative elements of how each player jumps, we are able to assess their force signature – how they jump, how they produce force, how much force they are able to produce.

Here’s a quick test – get any goalie.

Ask them to jump as high as they can. Ask them to jump laterally as far as they can; from left foot to right, from right to left.

  • Is there anything that you can pick up immediately?
  • Look closer, how do they load their leg?
  • Do they get low? How do they push off?
  • Do they extend through their hip and knee?
  • Do they have control through their body, or are they just flailing around in the air?

Let’s think about a goalie moves around the crease now. Would you ask yourself these questions? How low do they get in their stance? Do they have an efficient push across the crease? Do they control their entire body?

All of a sudden we are able to find out what a goalie needs to improve for their movement throughout the crease. We can focus on more, powerful efficient movement through the crease, and we can enhance control through movement. These are the building blocks we want to use off the ice, to help a goalie be more powerful on the ice.

We will continue our partnership with Team Shutout in the future, discussing what athletic qualities we need to consider while developing goalies, but even more importantly, developing them as athletes, to make them well-rounded and adaptable to all situations.

Feel free to ask me any questions you may have at [email protected].