What does RVH in goaltending stand for?
It means Reverse, Vertical, Horizontal. This relates to a goalies leg positioning on the post. The acronym “RVH” stems from “Vertical Horizontal”, which meant a goalies post side leg was vertical, inside leg horizontal. Reverse simply means the opposite.
If you’re following closely, that means the post side leg is tightly sealed on the ice (not vertically positioned as in the VH) with the inside leg acting as a pivot.
Playing in the RVH allows goalies, especially larger goalies to use their body very efficiently during plays in the dead angle area and wrap arounds behind the net. In this article, we’ll cover RVH drills, common misconceptions about the RVH, and use cases (and mis-use cases).
What does the RVH look like?
In the photo below, Frederik Andersen demonstrates a perfectly executed RVH. The photo was taken while Andersen was in motion, so his head is towards the ice and his upper body is a bit slouched.
The RVH Position Explained
Below is a video from our friends at Goalcrease in Edina, MN and Jeff Hall explaining the RVH as it relates to goalies. In this video, you’ll hear Jeff also refer to the RVH as the “post-lean” position.
Whatever you decide to call it, build an understanding of when to use it and when not to use for best results on the ice.
Understanding When To Use And When Not To Use The RVH
Goalies in today’s game pick up on and adapt to new concepts quicker than every before. The RVH is no different. In fact, a large percentage of goalies probably saw their favorite NHL goalie in this position and decided to give it a try, before ever knowing what it was called.
The RVH position works extremely well in wrap around situations for a couple reasons. First, it’s quick and efficient. Moving from a standing position either on the post or in the crease to the RVH is a matter of one movement. Second and more importantly, it provides excellent coverage not given from a standing position.
When used correctly, the RVH takes away virtually every hole a shooter would have to shoot at.
It is critical, however, to note that the RVH position should only be used in certain placements of the puck.
When a shooter is very close to both the net and the goal line, the RVH takes away more than it gives. On the flip side, as a shooter nears the hash marks and has the opportunity to move towards the slot, a goalie is challenged on both the near pipe shoulder and glove sides.
Related: Foot positioning in the RVH
Scenario 1: Puck in the corner
Let’s take a look at this clip of Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen. The puck moves into and out of the corner, a position some goalies prefer the RVH, behind the net and into the slot.
Should Andersen have used the RVH in this situation?
Many people would argue for both sides. However, as the RVH becomes more and more mainstream, shooters have started to exploit it’s overuse. By remaining in a standing position with no direct wrap around threat, Andersen is able to quickly challenge a shooter in the slot area and make an excellent glove save.
Had he been in the RVH position, instead of gaining depth quickly on his feet (simultaneously cutting down large amounts of angle: see box control for goalies) Andersen would have had to bump off of the post. This would have put him in the butterfly position and allowed the shooter a much larger target to shoot at.
Scenario 2: Shooter directly behind the net
In this clip of a game situation training scenario, the shooter is directly behind the net with his/her choice of options.
Should the goalie use the RVH here, or stay on their feet?
In this case, the immediate threat is a wrap around attempt. As a goalie, facing these immediate threats is our first priority. Second, playing situations in such a way that we are not out of position for secondary/tertiary threats.
Learning how to effectively seal the post, yet maintain control of your body is imperative for any goalie who plans on implementing the RVH in their game. The goaltender should quickly and efficiently seal off the first target area, the post (if you haven’t read our foot positioning in the RVH article yet, do it) while simultaneously moving into a complete post seal / active stick position with his/her body.
RVH Drills for Goalies
We’ve got a completely separate library of RVH drills both here and on our YouTube channel (with more on the way).
Here are a couple great RVH drill videos worth watching. When it comes to training on ice, it’s important to remember that doing is better than nothing. You do not have to come up with the perfect drill, so long as you understand what you’re doing and why.