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by Ed Kesell  |  May 8th, 2017

Butterfly Slide Power Recovery & Active Hands

Many of the goalies I coach will recall two key points we review regularly. First is butterfly slide power recovery leg and second is the active hands.  My methods are not to be over technical with younger goalies, while still working on muscle memory.

A key consideration with butterfly goaltending is the speed and efficiency with which the goaltender recovers from both reactionary and percentage type saves. This efficiency is defined as economy of movement or motion. Developing proper muscle memory and efficiency are key factors will all goaltending techniques. 

However, due to the prevelance of butterfly goaltending and the speed of today’s game, quick recovery will enable any goaltender the best opportunity to follow the flow of play and to be in the proper position as much as possible. The power leg principle is such a technique presently used by goaltenders at all levels of competition. 

With the game getting more dynamic and shooters getting more space to pick corners more often, goalies will “activate” their hands. Surely some of it comes from watching the success of active-handed goalies who have some of the most active hands, often catching pucks on both sides of their body. Perhaps goalies are returning to their roots, to a time before the drop and block. My experience leads me to believe the continued success of those same European goalies are also playing a significant role in the reversal of the sealed blocking routine.

For many it starts with initial glove positioning, with some goalies trying to free up their glove side by getting it out in front of their bodies and off their hip, a position commonly associated with more of a “blocking” save selection. Similarly on the other side, some are altering their blocker position, again “activating” that hand by not locking the elbow in so tight, but also freeing up the stick. This allows them to control shots along the ice and help close a 5-hole that has been opened up by cuts to the thigh-rise length and kneepad width over the past few years. It’s a subtle, but significant change from a pure “blocking” mentality, where the blocker is turned over at the side and the stick isn’t necessarily kept between the legs.

Goalies will find that active hands will lead to easier lateral movement and reduce the amount of goals scored high over the shoulders and under the arms or six holes.