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Best Way to Learn the Butterfly Slide


ilyazhito
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New ice goalie here. I've had a few lessons on how to play goalie, and I've had some practice in public skates and in stick time on how to move in the crease. I'm able to consistently shuffle now, I can C-cut both forwards and backwards appropriately, and I'm even starting to be able to use the T-push in game situations. What I'm having trouble with is the butterfly slide. If I have to slide to the side from a standing position, I can do it, but when I try to slide from a stationary position, I either don't move, or I end up spinning. What has helped y'all to learn the butterfly slide? Are there any exercises that help you to get a stronger push? 

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21 minutes ago, ilyazhito said:

New ice goalie here. I've had a few lessons on how to play goalie, and I've had some practice in public skates and in stick time on how to move in the crease. I'm able to consistently shuffle now, I can C-cut both forwards and backwards appropriately, and I'm even starting to be able to use the T-push in game situations. What I'm having trouble with is the butterfly slide. If I have to slide to the side from a standing position, I can do it, but when I try to slide from a stationary position, I either don't move, or I end up spinning. What has helped y'all to learn the butterfly slide? Are there any exercises that help you to get a stronger push? 

To avoid spinning, make sure you're bringing the ball of your pushing foot in line with the knee of the leg that's down on the ice. Also, lead your slide with the ball of your other foot. This is good practice for taking away the bottom of the net, and getting a good seal on the post if that's where you're going.

To keep from "not moving", bring your pushing foot closer to your sliding knee. Your issue here is probably lack of "grip" on the ice, i.e. the angle formed by your blade to the ice (you'll hear it referred to as "attack angle") is too small/shallow. You can increase your grip by switching to a sharper hollow (lots of NHL goalies will use 3/8in or 1/2in hollows), but best practice is to make a mechanical change; bring your pushing foot closer to the center of your body, and the angle (thus your grip) increases. If you're having trouble bringing your foot in, think about raising the knee of your pushing leg up; the rest of your leg will naturally follow.

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43 minutes ago, ilyazhito said:

New ice goalie here. I've had a few lessons on how to play goalie, and I've had some practice in public skates and in stick time on how to move in the crease. I'm able to consistently shuffle now, I can C-cut both forwards and backwards appropriately, and I'm even starting to be able to use the T-push in game situations. What I'm having trouble with is the butterfly slide. If I have to slide to the side from a standing position, I can do it, but when I try to slide from a stationary position, I either don't move, or I end up spinning. What has helped y'all to learn the butterfly slide? Are there any exercises that help you to get a stronger push? 

For sure sliding into a butterfly is technically very different when starting from your feet vs. down on your knees.   We have so much more leverage and ability to generate power from our feet and sliding to either side.  Sliding to the side from your knees requires more power, more core engagement, more intentionality or directional "steering" with your hands, shoulders, and head. 

Here is my favorite short video to show people who ask about this, or, just to refresh myself on technique. A few things to watch here with Saros: the angle of his skate blade/leg, how he pushes with his feet, how he uses his hands to point, how he dips and drops he lead shoulder, how he points his lead food, his head, and of course his core but that is kinda difficult to see in the same way.  He is using his entire body to make this movement happen and as you can see, he does with a great amount of power and agility.  It's probably not wise or reasonable for any of us to aspire to move just like an NHL goalie, but, we can still do the same technical things they are doing.  Saros looks almost like a pendulum swinging side to side here and he is engaging his entire body to do it. 

Also, outside of body mechanics and technique, keep your skates sharp, sharpen them more often, and consider going one step sharper than you are use to.  After my first goalie camp where I was taught butterfly and motion mechanics for the first time, at the advice of the instructor I went from a 1/2 to 7/16 and I now sharpen my skates twice a month ( I play 3 times a week). In order to generate power we need sharp skates so we aren't slipping out when we push and we need the blades to firmly support the weight we push down on them when pushing in a butterfly slide. 

Hope this helps.  Here's the Saros video

 

Edited by seagoal
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Keep in mind that Saros has mastered these movements, so he doesn't need to bring his push-leg foot further in toward his knee to get a good push. He also doesn't need to pick up his down knee to get a good push. Notice how quickly he can stop his momentum to push the opposite way.

But because you're just learning this technique, @CJ Boiss advice is spot on. Get the push foot close to the down knee and slightly lift the down knee as you push. The better you get at it, the less you'll have to do either of these things. I've heard that pushing the ankle of your lead foot down toward the ice helps keep the pad rotated while you slide and prevents rolling over onto the face of the pad. You won't get your ankle to the ice, but it's the feeling of trying to do so that will help keep the pad rotated.

Also, make sure you look where you're aiming to go before you push. Point your head toward your target, rotate your shoulders, lead with your hands, pick up the push leg and plant your foot so the skate blade is perpendicular to the line you will be traveling at. If you get to the point where you can practice these movements on a diagonal, like moving from the top of the crease back to the post, the head, shoulder, hands and body rotation will really come into play. In this scenario, you'll also need to put your plant foot almost in front of you as you rotate your body so you can travel diagonally back to the post.

Edited by WillyGrips13
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1 hour ago, WillyGrips13 said:

 

Also, make sure you look where you're aiming to go before you push. Point your head toward your target, rotate your shoulders, lead with your hands, pick up the push leg and plant your foot so the skate blade is perpendicular to the line you will be traveling at. 

Looking where you're aiming can not be emphasized enough.  A goalie coach I worked with used to say "eyes first, eyes first."  It was eyes, hands, load, push.  This helps too with tracking pucks as they hit you when making saves, too. 

I like to practice what @WillyGrips13 describes in his post by going to stick and puck sessions and setting up cones, either in a full circle or half circle and then just practice sliding from cone to cone, changing directions, and really focusing on eyes, hands, load, push.  When you do it reptitively like this you can really start to see how little things, like lifting your down knee or dropping your ankle, really help with the mechanics of sliding. 

It's worth pointing out that the 3 goalies in the video are basically looking forward, perpendicular to their movements, which makes me think they were instructed to do so in this clip. 

Edited by seagoal
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2 hours ago, WillyGrips13 said:

Keep in mind that Saros has mastered these movements, so he doesn't need to bring his push-leg foot further in toward his knee to get a good push. He also doesn't need to pick up his down knee to get a good push. Notice how quickly he can stop his momentum to push the opposite way.

Look at Saros' movements at half-speed: the knee of his pushing leg is more than twelve inches on the ice (in fact, it never drops lower than that), and his pushing foot is coming almost as close to his planted knee as his pads will allow (he also isn't fully extending on those pushes). At full speed it doesn't really look like he's raising his knee and bringing his foot in, but he is; he's just really fast.

Most of the time, when I see guys having trouble sliding in the butterfly, the knee of their pushing leg barely comes up off the ice, and their leg stays more-or-less extended like they're making a save. No grip, no power.

Edited by CJ Boiss
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Good discussion here, @CJ Boiss, @WillyGrips13, and @seagoal hit on a lot of good points.

The cool thing with the Saros vid - these are all NHL-quality prospects, and Saros just smokes them with speed and power.  Goes to show how good you need to be to play in the NHL these days, especially for an undersized guy.

On the technique side, I'd like to add a couple touchpoints:

  • Grab the ice with the front third of your blade.  Sharp skates help, getting your weight on top of your pushing leg also helps.
  • Make sure your loaded blade is perpendicular to the new push angle.   This should help curb any spinning.  If you've followed advice above, your head and hands should be perpendicular already, but it's important your blade follows as well.  If you draw an imaginary line straight out from the toe of your skate, it should hit 90* with the new angle.  See pic below.  Goalie is the orange triangle (in retrospect, probably not the best shape to illustrate this).  Purple is the new puck angle.  Green is the square angle of the shot, blue line bisecting that is the angle your foot needs to take to get you to land square to shot.
  • Get your ankle into dorsiflexion (toes to shin) so when your edge does engage with the ice, the foot can't flex forward anymore (if it does you'll lose power). 
    As you push, you can snap your foot down to grab an extra couple inches of slide if you need it.
  • Don't forget to learn to stop with your opposite foot.  Stopping fast is just as important as pushing fast (again see the Saros clip) - once you stop you can start again

image.png.e99a86a7fabd5025b05aa3ea08eea957.png

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Tried to find some video which I know to be in the Youtube but didn't. Anyways simple drills for butterfly movements are going around the faceoff dot (or just a puck) and around the center (or B) circle line. In these you have to learn to control the direction you are going and sliding. 

And in addition ofcourse when going around dot or puck, keep your stance towards the puck at the same time. 

The last mentioned has helped me somewhat as I'm really struggling to keep my hands in position when butterflying side-to-side and also keep my stickblade in position to stop those fiveholers.

Edit: And what helps a lot when learning the technic is that your pads really do slide so you don't have to use all your focus to just get the pads sliding.

Edited by ArdeFIN
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On 12/31/2021 at 10:17 PM, CJ Boiss said:

To avoid spinning, make sure you're bringing the ball of your pushing foot in line with the knee of the leg that's down on the ice. Also, lead your slide with the ball of your other foot. This is good practice for taking away the bottom of the net, and getting a good seal on the post if that's where you're going.

To keep from "not moving", bring your pushing foot closer to your sliding knee. Your issue here is probably lack of "grip" on the ice, i.e. the angle formed by your blade to the ice (you'll hear it referred to as "attack angle") is too small/shallow. You can increase your grip by switching to a sharper hollow (lots of NHL goalies will use 3/8in or 1/2in hollows), but best practice is to make a mechanical change; bring your pushing foot closer to the center of your body, and the angle (thus your grip) increases. If you're having trouble bringing your foot in, think about raising the knee of your pushing leg up; the rest of your leg will naturally follow.

I use a 3/8 inch high inside edge hollow. Ball of the foot is a good point. I'll try to aim to have my weight shifted towards the ball of the other foot after the push.

I don't quite understand what you say about attack angle. Do you mean that my angle between the ice and my drive skate should be closer to flat (my skate blade is almost parallel to the ice, or as close to it as my foot will allow) or closer to 90°? 

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20 hours ago, Chenner29 said:

Good discussion here, @CJ Boiss, @WillyGrips13, and @seagoal hit on a lot of good points.

The cool thing with the Saros vid - these are all NHL-quality prospects, and Saros just smokes them with speed and power.  Goes to show how good you need to be to play in the NHL these days, especially for an undersized guy.

On the technique side, I'd like to add a couple touchpoints:

  • Grab the ice with the front third of your blade.  Sharp skates help, getting your weight on top of your pushing leg also helps.
  • Make sure your loaded blade is perpendicular to the new push angle.   This should help curb any spinning.  If you've followed advice above, your head and hands should be perpendicular already, but it's important your blade follows as well.  If you draw an imaginary line straight out from the toe of your skate, it should hit 90* with the new angle.  See pic below.  Goalie is the orange triangle (in retrospect, probably not the best shape to illustrate this).  Purple is the new puck angle.  Green is the square angle of the shot, blue line bisecting that is the angle your foot needs to take to get you to land square to shot.
  • Get your ankle into dorsiflexion (toes to shin) so when your edge does engage with the ice, the foot can't flex forward anymore (if it does you'll lose power). 
    As you push, you can snap your foot down to grab an extra couple inches of slide if you need it.
  • Don't forget to learn to stop with your opposite foot.  Stopping fast is just as important as pushing fast (again see the Saros clip) - once you stop you can start again

image.png.e99a86a7fabd5025b05aa3ea08eea957.png

So, while my pad is on the ice, I turn my upper body and push off the drive leg as if I'm T-pushing? 

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37 minutes ago, ilyazhito said:

I use a 3/8 inch high inside edge hollow. Ball of the foot is a good point. I'll try to aim to have my weight shifted towards the ball of the other foot after the push.

I don't quite understand what you say about attack angle. Do you mean that my angle between the ice and my drive skate should be closer to flat (my skate blade is almost parallel to the ice, or as close to it as my foot will allow) or closer to 90°? 

No, the opposite; if your blade is parallel to the ice when you're trying to push off you won't go anywhere.

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Would a 30° angle work? AFAIK, parallel doesn't work, but 90° also doesn't work when pushing. When I tried T-pushing and shuffling, I was able to get the most distance when my skate on my push leg had about a 30° angle from the ice. 

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47 minutes ago, ilyazhito said:

Would a 30° angle work? AFAIK, parallel doesn't work, but 90° also doesn't work when pushing. When I tried T-pushing and shuffling, I was able to get the most distance when my skate on my push leg had about a 30° angle from the ice. 

You might be overthinking it. I was just explaining the geometry of the body mechanics. I don't ever hit the ice and think "yeah, I need my blade to make a perfect 40° against the ice when I push", it's a feel thing; if I find myself losing my edge on a push then I go "alright, need to bring my knee up a bit more", and I adjust accordingly.

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On 1/1/2022 at 5:45 AM, ArdeFIN said:

Tried to find some video which I know to be in the Youtube but didn't. Anyways simple drills for butterfly movements are going around the faceoff dot (or just a puck) and around the center (or B) circle line. In these you have to learn to control the direction you are going and sliding. 

And in addition ofcourse when going around dot or puck, keep your stance towards the puck at the same time. 

The last mentioned has helped me somewhat as I'm really struggling to keep my hands in position when butterflying side-to-side and also keep my stickblade in position to stop those fiveholers.

Edit: And what helps a lot when learning the technic is that your pads really do slide so you don't have to use all your focus to just get the pads sliding.

Really good discussion here. Just wanted to add - I also struggle with my hand position with butterfly slides (and any other movement from, to, or during the butterfly). Another user on here aptly dubbed my problem "Rodeo Arms" lol. 

Anyway, the best drill I've found is to do a butterfly movement, slides for example, with a player stick balanced on top of my gloves at the wrists. Basically you have to keep the stick up and parallel to the ice or it will fall over. Might be worth a try. 

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On 1/1/2022 at 7:53 PM, ilyazhito said:

So, while my pad is on the ice, I turn my upper body and push off the drive leg as if I'm T-pushing? 

Only turn if you're transitioning to a new angle.  Head finding the puck and hands getting square to the new angle should guide the rest of your body. 

How far you bring up your push knee should also correlate with much time you have and/or how much distance you need to cover.

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  • 1 month later...
10 hours ago, ilyazhito said:

Update: I've gotten the hang of sliding from my feet. What should I do to practice sliding when I'm already down? I try to push when I'm down, but sometimes my edge slips. Is there anything y'all do to combat that? 

What pads did you use? If there is some padding between ice and your skates that might have some influence here too. Second thing to come to my mind right away is remember to raise your pushing knee enough to retain the attack angle of the pushing skate.

I've lost part of this muscle memory once again as we had a Covid break from december-february and only have had a few skates now where I didn't have time to exercise these moves. I feel like I'm not getting the skate angle up and steel against the ice properly. Maybe being lazy to lift my knee. 

This is a constant repeating of basic things as I'm only once-twice on ice in a week. 

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5 hours ago, ilyazhito said:

I use CCM Premier II Pros. I wonder if that has an impact. 

Shouldn't have any, just checking. You can check if there is any effect from the pads when you drop to BF and start the push and see at that point how your feet, skate and pad are aligned together. In the warmup ofcourse 😉

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  • 4 weeks later...

Update: I can consistently slide if I'm going from my feet. When I'm in my butterfly, I'm having trouble consistently getting my skate to dig into the ice and push. I have to get my toe into the ice, because if I push from the heel, I start spinning. Is there any type of exercise that can help with that, or is this a question of blade profile? 

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17 minutes ago, ilyazhito said:

Update: I can consistently slide if I'm going from my feet. When I'm in my butterfly, I'm having trouble consistently getting my skate to dig into the ice and push. I have to get my toe into the ice, because if I push from the heel, I start spinning. Is there any type of exercise that can help with that, or is this a question of blade profile? 

Just practice my friend. I remember it taking me some time to learn how to do it with some sort of consistency and it's still something I work on to perfect. 

The more ice you can get to work on this, the more results you'll see. Don't stress too much about how your gear could be impacting your ability as 90% of this is technique. 

Practice, practice, practice. 

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