Coaches Corner: Less Rebound and Quicker Outlets from Offstick-High Shots
Beyond just “making saves”, we want our goalies to be sharp with the little things, give up fewer rebounds, and get the ball down the field quicker after saves. When goalies make saves coming over the top to an offstick-high save, we see all kinds of different things happening AFTER the initial save; they’ll “windshield wiper” their stick back across their body exactly the way it came, spin it down towards their hips and give it a few cradles, and any number of other movements.
This “windshield wiper” movement we see the most leads to rebounds where the ball just slips out, but it ALSO leads to goalies “snapping” at the ball, rather than finishing the save through the shot, THEN bringing the hands back across. One quick drill we warm our sticks up with is to have goalies partner up and INTENTIONALLY throw the ball to their partners’ offstick side. This catch mimics an offstick-high save, allowing each goalie to get a handful of quick reps in what you see above, which is the most effective way to transition from the save to the outlet.
In this clip, notice not only what the goalies do with their hands/stick, but the way their front foot is linked up to their hands. When they bring their stick across to the throwing position, their feet/hips follow, so they are completely positioned to make an outlet as quickly as possible. Remember, our job as goalies is to get the ball from our D end to our O end, and great clearing is the final piece! No need to do this drill for more than 2-3 minutes at a time, as the muscle memory kicks in quickly, but a few minutes here and there goes a long way.