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30+ Hockey Goalie Drills To Master The Fundamentals

By Biraj Khanal / 23 December 2023 04:18 AM

Source : sportsmomsurvivalguide

Hockey goalie drills are essential for any player who wants to improve their skills and performance in the net.

Being a hockey goalie is no easy feat. It takes dedication, athleticism, and mental toughness to excel in the net. 

But with the right training, you can take your skills and become a wall in front of the goal. There are hockey drills for all skill levels, from beginners to pros.

Drills help goalies develop fundamental movements, puck handling, reaction time, and decision-making skills. 

1. Movement Drills

NHL goalies need lightning-fast reflexes and precise movements to shut down the league's best shooters. To reach that level, your training needs to push you beyond basic drills.

Here are some NHL-caliber movement drills to elevate your game:

1. Middle-out T-push:

Source : youtube

  • Begin in a standard butterfly stance facing the center of the net.
  • Push off with your non-dominant leg in a diagonal direction towards the post on your dominant side. This is the "T" part of the push.
  • Rotate your hips towards the open ice, bringing your body parallel to the goal line. Keep your knees bent with a low center of gravity.
  • When you reach the post, push off again with your left leg, explosively driving towards the opposite post (the right post in this case).

2. Off-Post Small Shuffle:

The Off-Post Small Shuffle focuses on quick, controlled lateral movements while maintaining proper pad angles and readiness for saves:

Source : usahockeygoaltending

Here's how to do the drill:

  • Stand in a butterfly stance close to a post.
  • Take small, quick shuffle steps with both feet away from the post.
  • Simultaneously extend your glove hand slightly towards the imaginary attacker.
  • Reverse your shuffle direction and head back towards the post.
  • Repeat 5-10 times on each side.

3. Out, Over, and Butterfly Side Back:

The "Out, Over, and Butterfly Side Back" is a dynamic goalie drill designed to challenge your agility, positioning, and reaction time across the entire crease. 

Source : hockeyshare

Here's how to do the drill:

  • Start in a butterfly stance in the center of the net.
  • Push off with both legs towards the top of the crease.
  • Turn 90 degrees to your left as you reach the top.
  • Drop into a full butterfly slide diagonally towards the near post.
  • Push off with your right leg and explode back towards the center.
  • Repeat on the other side.

4. Reactive Drill with Deception:

Source : pin

How to:

  • Have a partner skate with the puck, using deceptive moves and varying shot speeds.
  • React to their body language and movement to save the puck at the last second.
  • Imagine real-game situations where the shooter fakes shots

5. Post-to-Post Scramble:

Source : hockeyshare

How to:

  • Start with one post.
  • Explosively push off with both legs and launch yourself across the crease to touch the opposite post with your glove.
  • Immediately reverse direction and return to the starting post.
  • Repeat for multiple sets.

6. Mirror Drill with Blind Spots:

Source : besthockeydrills

How to:

  • Have a partner skate with the puck behind a net or screen, simulating an obscured view.
  • They can then quickly emerge and shoot from various angles.
  • React to their movement without directly seeing the puck, relying on reflexes and anticipation.

2. Fundamental Drills

NHL goalies need razor-sharp agility, precise positioning, and lightning-fast reflexes.

Here are 6 drills to build your foundation:

1. Butterfly Glide Mastery:

It focuses on the smooth movement and pad angle control of the NHL goalie.

Source : youtube

How to:

  • Start in a butterfly stance
  •  Glide back and forth across the crease.
  • Focus on maintaining a low center of gravity, proper pad angles, and controlled leg movements.

2. Explosive T-Push

This drill targets improving your Lateral agility, and power generation as a goalie:

Source : seltytending

How to:

  • Push off explosively with one leg diagonally towards a post, glide on the other
  • Then push back to the center with the opposite leg. Repeat in the opposite direction.
  • Increase push-off force, vary glide distances, and add quick direction changes.

3. Post Recovery Reflex:

NHL goaltenders can opt for this drill for fast recoveries and coordinated puck control during the game:

Source : icehockeysystems

How to: 

  • Throw pucks off the post at unpredictable angles.
  • Drop into a butterfly, control the rebound, and quickly return to center ice.
  • Use different pucks, vary bounce angles, and add stick handling after recovery.

4. Mirror Drill with Deception:

The goaltenders can grind on these drills to boost up their anticipation, tracking, and reflexes in the game.

Source : minnesotahockey

How to: 

  • Have a partner skate with the puck, faking shots and changing speeds.
  • Re-do their movements, anticipate the real shot, and make the save.

5. High-Pressure Reaction Drill:

It helps you to guide decision-making and how to make quick saves in a high-pressure situation.

Source : hockeyshare

How to: 

  • Have a coach shoot pucks quickly from various angles and distances.
  • React instantly, choose the best save type, and execute with precision.

6. Breakaway Shadow Save:

The breakaway shadow save drills help with the positioning, anticipation, and breakaway defense for the goalie.

Source : youtube

How to: 

  • Simulate a breakaway scenario with a teammate approaching on goal.
  • Shadow their movements, anticipate their shot, and make the save before they reach the net.

3. Skating Drills

NHL goalies rely on exceptional skating skills for agility, positioning, and reaction time.

Here are the 6 skating drills to elevate your skating skills as a goalie:

1. Box Drill -  T-Push/Butterfly Slide/Shuffle:

The drill is set up with 2 pucks placed 3-4 feet outside the corners of the crease.

Source : hockeyshare

How to:

  • Starts at one post and T-Pushes to the puck on the opposite corner
  • Then slides across to the puck on the opposite corner.
  • The goalie then T-Pushes back to the opposite post and finally shuffles across the goal line post-to-post.
  • Repeat starting on the opposite post.

2. Edge Work Ladder:

It guides on sharpening edge control and footwork for the goalie:

Source : icehockeysystems

How to: 

  • Skate through an agility ladder, focusing on precise turns and transitions between forward, backward, and lateral movements.
  • Vary speeds and add puck handling for an extra challenge.

3. Butterfly Slide:

Source : icehockeysystems

This drill is designed to simulate a puck moving from low in the corner to the slot where a shot is taken.

  • First, stand at the top of the crease and T-Push to a puck sitting just off the top corner of the crease.
  • Then slides in a butterfly pushback to the opposite post, ending in RVH position.
  • The goalie should recover to their feet and shuffle to the opposite post
  • Finally, T-Push back to the starting position at the top of the crease.
  • Repeat going in the opposite direction. 

4. Puck Handling Drills

Puck handling drills are important for goalies at intermediate and advanced levels of play to master to help control the game for his/her team. 

1. One-Hand Dribble Maze:

Source : youtube

  • Set up cones in a maze-like pattern.
  • Dribble a tennis ball with your glove hand, navigating the maze maintaining a low crouch and butterfly stance.
  • Increase difficulty by adding time pressure or incorporating shuffles and turns.

2. Paddle Pass and Receive:

Source : seltytending

  • Use your paddle to stop the puck
  • Then transfer it to your glove hand and throw a pass back to your partner who will deflect it back at you.
  • Challenge yourself with varying shot speeds and locations, practicing catching while in a butterfly stance.

3. Rebound Roulette:

Source : minnesotahockey

  • Have a shooting pad or partner shoot pucks off the boards at random angles. 
  • React instantly, choose the best way to control the rebound (smother, direct, stickhandle), and execute cleanly.
  • Add variety by incorporating quick passes to targets after controlling the rebound.

4. Blind Pass Shadow Match:

Source : bostonglobe

  • Have a partner hide a puck behind the net and simulate passing it out. 
  • Shadow their movements, read their body language and cues, and react explosively to smother the puck when it emerges.
    Increase difficulty by adding screens or obstacles in front of the net.

5. Reactive Puck Battle:

Source : youtube

  • Set up a small area with a partner holding a puck.
  • Engage in a mini-game where you both scramble for possession using your stick and pads.
  • Challenge each other with quick pokes, stick checks, and body positioning, practicing both offensive and defensive puck-handling skills.

5. Situational Drills

NHL goalies need to thrive in the chaos of real-game situations. Here are 6 drills to refine your positioning, anticipation, and decision-making:

1. Screened Shot Scramble:

Source : youtube

  • Have teammates set up screens in front of the net while a coach shoots pucks from various angles. 
  • React to the screens, shift your position to maintain sight of the puck,
  • Then, make the save despite the obstruction.

2. Breakaway Battle:

Source : youtu

  • Have a teammate skate in on a breakaway. 
  • Challenge them at the top of the crease, utilizing stick checks, pokes, and aggressive positioning to disrupt their shot or force a missed attempt.

3. Net-Front Chaos:

Source : youtu

  • Set up a mini-game with teammates crashing the net and vying for rebounds. 
  • React to deflections, scrums, and loose pucks, showcasing your ability to control the crease and prevent second chances.

4. Face-Off Reaction Relay:

Source : icehockeysystems

  • React instantly to the puck's direction, make the initial save,
  • Transition into a breakout play by throwing a pass to a teammate or initiating a controlled dump-in.

5. Power-Play Defense:

Source : icehockeysystems

  • Set up a power-play scenario with teammates circling the net and firing shots. 
  • Anticipate shot locations, especially one-timers from the point, and adjust your positioning to react quickly and block them.

6. RVH Drills

RVH or “Reverse Vertical Horizontal” is a crucial movement providing exceptional agility and positioning for close-range shots and deflections.

Here are 6 drills to sharpen your RVH skills:

1. Mirror Drill with RVH Transition:

Source : youtube

  • Have a partner skate around the crease with the puck, mimicking offensive movements. 
  • Shadow their movements until they shoot, then explosively push off with your outside leg and
  • Enter an RVH stance to make the save.

2. Post-to-Post RVH Shuffle:

Source : youtube

  • Start at one post in a butterfly stance. 
  • Push off explosively and launch yourself across the crease to touch the opposite post with your glove.
  • Immediately transition into an RVH shuffle along the far crease wall,
  • Then return to the starting post using a butterfly slide. Repeat for multiple sets.

3. Rebound Control with RVH:

Source : youtube

  • Set up a shooting pad or have a partner shoot pucks off the boards. 
  • React to rebounds at various angles, drop into an RVH stance, and smother the puck.
  • Focus on specific targets for the rebounds, and incorporate quick stickhandling after control.

4. RVH Footwork Ladder:

Source : youtube

  • Set up an agility ladder on the ice.
  • Skate through the ladder in an RVH stance, focusing on precise footwork and transitions between forward, backward, and lateral movements.
  • Maintain a low center of gravity and control throughout.

5. Blind Pass RVH Defense:

Source : hockeyshare

  • Hide a puck behind the net. 
  • Practice reacting to sounds or partner cues and quickly smothering the puck when it's passed out from behind the net,
  • Transition into an RVH stance for optimal control.

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