|Holding Steady Written by Billy Stubbs|
Originally published 04.30.99.
Owen Giraldo and Ehab Shoukry are widely known to have the best defenses against blocking straight shots. What do these two players do differently than others to block straight shots (cuts, crosses, power straights, off-speeds, etc.)? The answer is right in front of you (and them): They hold steady.
Once their defenses are set, they simply do not move their mallets after a straight shot is executed. Thus the reason for the out defense (movement is reserved for blocking banks). The mallet should already be in the correct position to block ALL straights: About 14" out from the goal, directly on the path between the center of the goal to the center of the puck. Once the mallet is in this position, there is only one type of straight that will score: A perfect one. And unless you are playing Jesse Douty or a small handful of others, you won't have to worry about too many dead-on accurate shots. When a straight is hit against you, don't move the mallet to the left, right, back or to the center-line. The mallet is already in the path of virtually all of the straights. Just make sure that your mallet is centered correctly in relation to the puck and goal.
A few other pointers to help you block straights effectively: Keep your wrist limp so that when the puck strikes the mallet it will be deadened. Once the puck makes intial contact with the mallet in its out position, then move the mallet so that the puck is not redirected off the bank back into the mallet and into your goal.
Easy enough, right? Now all you have to do is the hard part...figure out when the straights are coming!