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High-Speed Save
The glove save in this high-speed clip was made on a puck traveling nearly 90 miles an hour; each frame is equal to 1/200th of a second.

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What do you watch?

Imagine you're in goal and an opposing player is coming at you down the ice. What do you watch? The player's stick? His eyes? His center of gravity? No, you look at the puck. Goalies need to concentrate intensely on the puck the entire game, even when it's on the other side of the ice. It is not fun to be scored upon from center ice, and occasionally that happens. Opposing players will try to fool the goalie with "head fakes" and "pump fakes" to deflect his attention from the puck. Some players even put black tape on the blade of the stick to hide the puck.

Knowing where you are on the ice

With such intense concentration on the puck it would seem quite easy for a goalie to find himself moving out of position. Kelly Hrudey told us he thought the positioning was even more important than reaction time when it came to being an effective goal tender. Sometimes the shots are so fast and so accurate that a goalie will not have time to react. So a goalie can often make a great save by being in the right position. How do you know where you are on the ice? Goalies have developed a number of strategies. Hrudey mentioned that a combination of years of practice and being taught to "watch for markings on the ice, your blue lines, the center ice and the dots and so on," keeps him in position most of the time. Occasionally during a game you may see a goalie hit the post of the goal behind him with a stick or glove--this is to remind himself of his position on the ice.

San Jose Shark Kelly Hrudey
San Jose Sharks Goalie Kelly Hrudey discusses the importance of body positioning.

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In the zone

Mental preparation for Hrudey starts days before a game. He mentioned that he thinks about the players on the opposing team and their possible strategies. "Part of the mental preparation is being mentally tough; for instance if they (the opposing team) score one or two early goals you can't assume that the rest of the game is going to be a high-scoring game, and for the next 55 minutes or so you're going to stop every shot," Hrudey told us.

San Jose Shark Kelly Hrudey
 Kelly Hrudey on what it's like to be in the zone.

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The expression "in the zone" is used in a variety of different sports. When a goalie is in the zone he seems invincible to the opposing players. Most goalies who reach this mental state say that the game appears to slow down and that the puck seems much larger. Some goalies say that they just stick out their glove hand and the puck finds its way into it--that responses become automatic. After such saves, a goalie sometimes wonders how he did it.

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Making Saves:3-of-3

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