Goalie Glove Position: Up High or Down Low?

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goalie glove position
Mark Mauno

So many goalies hold their catching glove up high. Here’s why and what to do about it.

 

By Rick Parisi

 

For many goaltenders, their goalie glove position likely comes from playing baseball. After all, a goalie’s catching glove is a lot like a first baseman’s glove and so many of us played baseball when we were younger. As a result, it seems it’s only natural for a goalie to use their glove in that manner except that goalies are not attempting to catch a ball coming across a baseball diamond from shoulder height, as first basemen do. Rather, they are trying to catch a frozen, hard-rubber puck that is coming from ice level.

So, you may ask, what’s the difference? Well, to begin, consider the angle. When it comes to goalie glove position, that can make all the difference in the world.

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Keep it High or Low?

If a goalie has their glove up high and the puck is being shot from the blue line or the top of the circle, he or she is likely protecting the top corner of the net. But if the shot is coming from much closer, say the dots or bottom of the circles, then they are more likely protecting the spectator sitting in the 18th row of the stands. In other words, if the puck is coming from in close, the angle is steeper. The puck is rising, so any puck that is shot from in close that goes into a catching glove held that high was likely going over the net anyway.

When you see a goalie with their glove held down low and in tight, it may look like he or she is giving away a lot of room in the top corner of the net. But when you consider the angle the puck is coming from, there is probably just a tiny window of space. How many of us who play rec hockey can hit a small window top cheddar? Not too many. And if anyone can, good for them; they deserve to get the goal.

Goalies, by keeping your glove down low and in tight to your body, you are covering more of the net and making it very difficult for shooters to beat you on the glove side. Plus, if the shots come in high there is nothing cooler than catching the puck in that upward, highlight-reel-worthy, classic “flashing the leather” move.

Shooters Take Notice

If you’re not a goalie but a shooter, you’ll want to keep this in mind (and don’t wait until you have the puck and are ready to shoot): When you are on the bench, take notice of the other team’s goalie glove position. If he or she keeps it down low and in tight, consider looking for another place to shoot the puck. But if they hold it way up high, you’ve got a lot of room to shoot above the pad and below the arm and glove.

As Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky once said: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So take that shot!

Rick Parisi is the Chief Executive Warrior of the Weekend Warriors Adult Hockey Academy. Weekend Warriors is an experience that features fun, camaraderie, learning, and individual attention for the adult recreational hockey player. For more information visit weekendwarriorshockey.com, or call 814-673-2000.

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