Know Your Arc

Now that you’ve nailed down how you want to stand in goal, the next topic we want to talk about is where to stand in goal. It is extremely important to be “on angle” or in other words, in a position relative to the shooter such that you take away their vision to the back of the net as much as possible. The less they see, the less opportunity they have to score. Think about it as if the shooter was holding a flashlight, if they are shining it on the goal, you will want to be in a position to block as much light from shining on the goal as possible.


Let’s take a quick look at angles to get a better idea of what we mean. In the diagrams below, you’ll see three different positions of a shooter (X). You’ll notice the angle is drawn to the pipes of the goal, not to the crease. Based on the angle created, is where the goalie should line up, so that the point of the triangle runs directly through the center of the goalie’s feet and equidistant from either pipe.


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So it would stand to reason that as the shooter moves, so does the goalie. How do we decide where to move? Well it is predetermined and something you should commit to muscle memory. This is where the whole concept of the “arc” comes into play. There are many different styles to playing goalie, but generally speaking, players either have a high, mid or shallow arc. There are both pros and cons to each type of arc, so try out them all until you find what is comfortable for you!


Let’s go over the different arcs with a summary below:


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Arc Type Color Pros Cons
High Arc Solid Blue Takes away more of the shooter’s angle Requires more steps to stay on angle, less time to react
Mid Arc Solid Yellow Best of both worlds, gives you more of an angle than a shallow arc, gives more time to react than a high arc Don’t benefit from taking away the most angle or having the fastest reaction time
Shallow Arc Dotted Blue More time to react, less steps to take to stay on angle Takes away less of the shooter’s angle


So, just how do you decide what kind of arc you want to play? Well, as mentioned before, you definitely want to play around with all three. If you have quick hands or fast reactions, you may opt for a high or mid arc since you won’t need as much time to react. If you’re a bit taller and take up more of the goal naturally, you may want to stay closer to the goal with a mid or shallow arc since you already reduce the shooter’s angle. That being said, there is no right or wrong arc to choose and you shouldn’t choose an arc strictly based off of body type. Try one in each practice and see what works for you.


Last, we mentioned muscle memory earlier in the post. This is essential so that when you’re in the middle of the game, you’re not thinking about where you are, only where the ball is. To master this, you’ll want to have a set number of steps or positions on your arc. We like to recommend that for high arcs you have 7 positions, for mid arcs you have 5 positions, and for shallow arcs you have 3 positions. This may vary slightly based on how long/wide your steps are, but whatever you decide, make sure it is consistent. Below is where your positions should be:


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High Arc- 7 Positions Mid Arc- 5 Positions Shallow Arc- 3 Positions


So, now that you know, it’s time to get out there and practice! Once you’ve figured out what kind of arc you want to play, you need to commit it to memory. Practice following a person as they walk across the 8m or from ally to ally about 10-15 yards away. Have them stop every time you are off angle so you can correct yourself and get familliar with where you should be standing. If you don’t have anyone to help you, no worries! Just start on one pipe, close your eyes, and see if you can get to the other pipe in the correct amount of positions. Sounds easy, but you’ll find it’s a lot harder than it sounds. The trick is to visualize a real shooter as you’re stepping along your arc, get yourself to center and open your eyes to make sure you’re there, then get yourself back to the opposite pipe. Make sure you work both directions. When you get good, go from pipe to pipe without checking center!


That’s all for today, if you have any questions, be sure to submit them to our question bin by clicking here!



About the Author


Our mission is to use mental and physical training to help our athletes succeed not only as players, but as people off of the field as well. We live by 2 basic principles: Be Fearless, Never Stop Learning.

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