June 30

Defending Bank Shots

Slowly but surely the game on our work table is evolving. Now we have a few guys who are developing wicked left hands and a combo near_bank/near_straight/far_bank from the corner on the defensive 3 bar out of a back and forth pass with the 2-man. Some of the other banks are starting to show up too as most goalies have learned how to work with the forwards to block the straight shots. Of course, hard banks do net you alot of slop too…

My question is: what are some of the zones you should try based on the banks you’re seeing? On the one above, if you set up inside as the goalie there’s no time to cover the far post if he banks it outside. It’s an open left hand, so it really cooks when it’s hit well. And if you cover the far post and leave the forward for straight the inside bank is there. It’s making my beginner goalie head hurt a little…

— Bill C


Ok, boys and girls, it’s a return to yesteryear and a little retro-defense lesson here. It is the forwards job to block banks, the forward has to cover the bank zones, the goalie covers the straight. As a forward you must cover the limited bank alleys on the Tornado which are basically the area where the five rod meets the wall with the three covering the alley.

The goalie covers the straight. Never cross your men in a post, you will leave a very large hole for the opposite bank, and be abused. If you’re playing goalie, and somebody is hammering banks, tell your forward to get with the program those are his shots to block, it’s not your zone.

— Pat


Pat’s right that the forward is the one who primarily needs to block bank shots, not the goalie. A well executed bank is extremely difficult for the goalie to block, since it comes in at such a sharp angle that it can go between his men even if he’s got both men push against the wall the bank is coming from.

Besides the zone Pat mentioned, another way for the forward to block is to “fork” the shot – that is, when the opposing goalie has the ball ready to bank, put your 3 bar so that the HOLE between two of the 3 men is directly in front of the ball. That causes the 2 men on the 3 bar to be on either side of the shot, blocking the bank angles (you may need to adjust the exact positioning of the 3 bar fork some depending on which wall you think he’s going to bank off if. This forking will often cover both banks at once, allowing you to put your 5 man in position to block a straight shot, in case you’re wrong about him banking.

Something the goalie can do to make the bank hole smaller, is twist his 2 man inward toward the goal a little (making a smaller angle hole between the 2 man man and the goalie man), but not too far or the bank will be able to go around the 2 bar man into the far side of the goal. If you’re playing a standard defense, and they are banking off the far wall, and you see that it is a bank in time, pull the goalie man a little off the wall (again making the hole between the men smaller) – but not too far or you’ll make a big hole behind the goalie man (between it and the the goal wall). If they bank off the near wall, since the wall doesn’t stop the motion of your 2 bar in that situation, you can pull the 2 bar almost in front of the goalie man, making virtually no hole for the bank to go in. You can also reverse (cross over) your defense like this for the other wall bank if you think they’re going there and you can do it in time, but generally that isn’t a good idea because you get can caught out of position if it isn’t a bank, or the bank can score while you’re crossing over.

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