Box Control in Goaltending (Videos)

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As far as box control is concerned, the concept is pretty simple. The net a goalie plays in is a “box”, right?

And if you draw a line from all four corners of the net to the puck, it forms a pyramid.

“Box control” comes into play when the goalie takes his position between the puck and the net. Or, just being on your angle.

So, imagine that wherever the goalie takes his place between the net and the puck–we’ll connect all four lines of our pyramid to make a much smaller box.

Starting to make sense? We cover box control and other advanced goaltending concepts (like the Royal Road) in our training app for goalies, get it at the link below.

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Box Control, What Does It Mean In Goaltending?

Obviously, if your angles are off–you’re going to get scored on. However, it is incredibly important to know where you’re at inside this small box. We wouldn’t want to make overly dramatic movements if we didn’t have to, correct?

Learn to be efficient with your movements, doing what is necessary to make a save while at the same time keeping yourself in position to make the next save should there be a rebound.

Here are a few great video examples from YouTube that demonstrate the concept well.

Justin Goldman Explains Box Control

FIO simply stands for Figure It Out. It’s another term for observational coaching, which basically puts the onus on the student to discover different ways that he or she can solve some of the many problems they face in whatever sport they are playing. For goalies, this usually means optimizing their angles, depth, and positioning.

One way we do this with our students is by teaching Box Control in an open environment. Instead of jumping from drill-to-drill and skill-to-skill, a coach or group of coaches can slow things down by explaining the concept, and through direct feedback and insight from the student, both sides work together to improve and optimize his or her net coverage.

When I was first introduced to the concept of Box Control in the summer of 2015 in Vierumaki, Finland by Thomas Magnusson (the Godfather of Swedish goaltending), I was instantly drawn to its simplicity and functionality. It is a truly universal teaching tool; almost any goalie, regardless of age, size, or style, can greatly benefit from seeing exactly how much space they fill from the puck’s perspective. While I know many goalie coaches have used the ropes before, or have recently learned about Box Control via other videos and articles I’ve posted, it is important for me to state that this is NOT a new concept. Box Control has been around for nearly two decades and has been used extensively by Swedish and North American goalie coaches at all levels!

However, if this is new to you, please know that I am always available to discuss and explain it over the phone or via e-mail; that’s a big part of The Goalie Guild’s mission as a non-profit foundation! I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to learn it from the man who mastered and popularized it (Magnusson), and through his teachings, I have seen its effectiveness at all levels first-hand, from youth goalies all the way up to current NHL goalies like Ben Bishop, Scott Darling, and Kari Lehtonen.

In this video, which was shot during a two-day Box Control clinic I held with Jack Hartigan from FinnGoalie in Nova Scotia, you can see how I spend ample time openly discussing glove placement, butterfly flare, and other aspects of body positioning with Evan Mosher, who is currently playing pro hockey in Denmark. As a smaller goalie, Mosher was able to see with video footage from the puck’s perspective just how much space he was filling while in a compact butterfly just off the post.

When the puck is in tight like this, it’s remarkable to see the lights go off in a goalie’s head when he or she sees just how much space they’re filling, and how the tiniest movements can have the biggest impact on covering open spots and holes.

The audio is pretty self-explanatory, so I hope you enjoy this clip and I hope it gives you a good example of how Creativity and the “FIO” Method can have a positive impact on goalie training and development. It’s not always the most effective use of ice time, as I know many goalie coaches are very limited during the season. But if you ever get the chance, even taking just an hour or two to work on Box Control can have a huge impact on your student’s game! Bring out the ropes and grab some video of a goalie’s net coverage (from the puck’s perspective) from as many different spots on the ice as possible! Not only is it a good change of pace, but it’s a lot of fun. Your students are way more engaged in the learning process, they creatively discover solutions all on their own, and it sets a positive environment that improves coach-student relationships.

Regardless of how you train, where you train, or when you train, it’s important to understand these little concepts that can make a big difference in your game.

Is one new fangled thing going to get you to the NHL?

Absolutely not.

However, half the battle is knowing how to learn and wanting to do so. If you can do that, you’ll be successful not only in goaltending but in life. If you want to become a better goalie, start by committing yourself to studying and practicing the stuff that will actually set you apart from your peers. If continuing your playing career is something you’re after, it just might help you get scouted.

If you got this far, thank you. You’re probably a die hard goalie and you should definitely join our (free) private Facebook group for goalies and goalie coaches.

Box Control Drills

We’ve built an entire library of box control drills for goalies that will help them better understand what it is and how to use it. If you want the ability to save drills, create practice plans for yourself, or to simply study advanced goalie concepts in one place consider downloading the app we’ve built for training goalies.

Get The Goalie Training App

Put a goalie coach in your pocket with the Goalie Coaches training app, built specifically for hockey goalies. The Goalie Coaches app has been used at every level of play, up to the NHL. Unlock hundreds of drills, game specific scenarios, and more inside the free app, today.

📲 Download The App