About Scoring:


iStopShots™ is no substitute for a bona fide goalie coach.  If you want to help your goalie improve, the single best thing you can do for him or her is find a qualified goalie coach and commit the time to allow them to develop your player.  Goalie coaches teach the fundamentals of form and technique.  They see things and can sensitively set the pace of player development and expectations.  iStopShots™  can’t do that.

What iStopShots™ can do is offer supplemental support when that coach is not around. Consider it a form of “steadying sail” when the winds of ignorant or subjective criticism may be knocking your goalie around. At a minimum, this application can help establish baselines of performance by which your goalie can measure their own progress.


The number one objective when keeping goalie statistics is to correctly capture objective information that helps your goalie understand how they played and what they can do to improve.  Scoreboards are essentially useless to goalies because they provide only one narrow measurement of what happened during a game: the numerical tally of shots that got by.   

Goals happen; that’s not news.  But learning what kind of goals happened and under what circumstances can be extraordinarily valuable to a goalie and anyone committed to helping that goalie improve.  An 80% save percentage may sound great – unless that goalie faced only five shots, all stick-side-high, fully defended, from over 15 yards out.  Compare that perhaps to the player at the other end who battled mightily to achieve a 54% save percentage, braving 33 shots, half from inside ten yards, with eight being undefended one-on-nones.  The final scoreboard may have read 18 – 1, but which player earned your respect that day?  

The position takes not only athletic ability but a mental and emotional toughness not required by the other positions.  Part of that toughness is developed by learning to view events objectively and to do that, the player needs information.  Scorers cannot stand in the crease for their goalies, they can’t absorb the shin bangs, broken thumbs, frustration and disappointment; all that must be borne by the player alone.  But a scorer can help their goalie by capturing this critical shot data for later consideration and review and that constitutes the scorer’s mission.

Err on the side of accuracy

Record only data you are sure of. The game is so fast that all sight scoring (as opposed to video scoring) is necessarily subject to some degree of error.  But if you have any doubt whatsoever as to the facts of a specific shot, record only those elements of the shot that you saw and leave the rest out.  Sometimes that may be only “save” or “goal”.  If that’s all you saw, hit “save” and “dk” (“don’t know”).  If you saw the goal clearly in zone 6 but missed the defense, enter only “goal” and “zone 6” then stop.  Your job is to capture known data.  Incomplete data can be dealt with in later analysis but erroneous data is truly harmful. 

Know your limitations

It is okay to be new to the game, just be sure to adjust your scoring to your level of experience.  At first, you may record only saves and goals.  As long as you have learned what separates a true "shot on goal" from a shot "at goal", you are gathering valuable information because from these numbers you can derive a true save percentage. 

Later, as you develop an eye for the flow of the game you may begin to add shot placement, distance and direction.  Of course, if you know the game and the position, you may be qualified to add the finer levels of detail available within the application.  

Operate on the principal that erroneous data is worse than no data at all and add detail as you develop your scoring skills.

If you’re related to the goalie, work extra hard to be consistently objective

Many scorers will be parents, friends or fans of the goaltender.  It’s only natural to care how they fare. You may be inclined to soften bad news or boost confidence but try not to let this color your scoring.  No matter what kind of day they had, let the accurately recorded data speak for itself.  Frankly, there is little that non-goalies can say to real goalies after a game that holds any meaning anyway; it’s such a difficult and high-stress position that most want to be left alone for a little while.  The only weight they give to remarks will be the few (and very carefully selected) words from their fellow goalies or their goalie coaches.  If you’re out there keeping their stats, you are doing enough right there. 

Learning to see the ball

It’s an amusing coincidence that those who wish to help goalies improve must themselves learn to see the ball better.  It’s not always easy, especially for newcomers to the game who may have difficulty following which attacker has the ball to begin with.  But with practice, one can improve and with it, so will your scoring.

  • Rookies: focus on the ball and simply try to become consistent in seeing saves and goals and the zone to which the shot was placed.  Know what is and is not a “shot on goal” and work to see those carefully as well. 

  • Reminder:  shots “at" the goal are not shots “on” goal.  A “shot on goal” is any shot that but for the goalie’s presence would have resulted in a goal.  Shots that hit the pipe are not shots on goal, no matter how hard or dramatic.  And the reverse is true: a dribbly sad little rolling ball that meanders back into the crease from top center that is simply picked up by the goalie but had enough inertia to have crossed the goal line counts as a shot on goal.  A shot or pass that traverses the crease is not a shot on goal. 

Learning to distinguish between shots on goal, saves, and goals is a good start.  Seeing shot placement (zone) is next best.

Learning to see the fuller play

Once you feel you can see the ball well enough to record shots sufficiently well, it’s time to bring your focus back out a little and try to start seeing the whole play.  The bounce, defense, distance and direction data all derive from this broader picture.  Once you’re used to the rhythm of the game, you will actually begin to anticipate where shots are coming from by the movement of the players and the evolving play. 

Focus less on the ball itself and keep your general vision centered a few yards out in front of the goalie.  You will see the shots themselves well enough yet now your peripheral vision will begin to fill in the additional details.

Go light on the subjectives found in the “secondary” screen

Even though iStopShots™ provides the option to attach subjective data to a shot (such as identifying a goal as “soft”), go easy on these or don’t use them at all.  Unless you consider yourself an expert at the game or you have watched this particular goalie enough to know what is and is not a routine stop for them, you may do more harm than good.  Information is useful, subjective criticism is not.  Your primary job is to provide objective information; it is up to your goalie to digest that information and to harness that to improve their game. 

Game Film and Corrections

If you have access to game videos and wish to confirm the accuracy of your records, by all means view them and correct any shot data that you may wish to correct upon seeing the game a second time.  Slow motion can help in some instances, particularly with zone placement.  If you have made corrections, be sure to re-upload your data to the web so that viewed reports include the corrected data.

However, be aware that scoring off a 2-D image alone can make the shots harder to see.  A game scored solely off game tape may or may not be more accurate than one scored in real time.  The best combination may be live scoring, backed up by video review of any shots in question.


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