Ice Hockey Tips | Defense, Positioning & Beginner Tips


Scoring. Skating. Defense. Hockey Tips

Stick Handling Tips and Drills

One of the most important stickhandlings basics is to always keep your head up. You've got to be able to be aware of what's happening around you on the ice without looking at the puck. If you're staring at the puck while stickhandling, you're likely to be checked by somebody you didn't even know was near you.
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Playing Defense One-On-One

When learning how to play defense in Hockey, you can never go wrong with the basic principal of keeping yourself between the opposing player and the net. One-on-Ones are a perfect example.

When a hockey player on the other team is heading into your zone with the puck, your goal is to keep him to the outside towards the boards. His chances of scoring from the outside are far less than if he beats you on the inside. The best way to do this is with your body position. If the player is coming in down the middle of the ice, position yourself directly in front of him.

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How to Get More Wrist Shot Power

The wrist shot is the most commonly used shot in hockey, but you would be surprised how many players, young and old, are not harnessing all of their power and putting it into their wrist shot.
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How to Block Shots

Blocking shots is an exiting defensive play. Done properly, it can be a safe way to create an opportunity for your team to regain control of the puck.

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How to Cover the Front of the Net
Protecting the area if front of the net is crucial when you’re playing defense.Most goals are Scored from the Slot. When the opposing forwards decides to camp out in front of the net, your job is to make it as difficult as possible for him to get his stick cleanly on the puck.

Position Yourself Between the Player and the Net. If you let the forward get in behind you, he’s home free if he gets a decent pass.

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How to Get Your Teammate to Pass You the Puck

There’s something about hearing your own name that grabs your attention like nothing else. Psychologists call this the ‘Cocktail Party’ phenomenon. No matter how much noise is around you, or how distracted you are, you always seem to overhear your own name from a conversation across the room. It’s the same on the ice.

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Hockey Defense: Gap Control

The 'Gap' is the distance between a defnseman and a forward coming towards you with the puck. When playing defense, it's important to be aware of the gap, and control the Gap. Judging the amount of gap to leave is not easy, especially if the forward is a faster skater than you.
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Line changes on the fly
Line changes in ice hockey are usually pretty straight forward, but sometimes things can get a little tangled up. Here’s a couple tips to make sure your shift change goes smoothly.

When the hockey player you’re taking off is nearing the end of their shift, keep a close eye on him. Watch him wherever he goes on the ice. Don’t take your eyes off him. When your player makes his move to change on the fly, it's up to you to be ready. Not having a drink of water, not tying your skate, and not watching the play at the other end of the hockey rink. Be ready.
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Yoga for Hockey
Yoga can do wonders for your flexibility. The incredible stretches and deep breathing increases the blood supply to your muscles and ligaments which reduces the chance of injury.

Yoga a powerful tool for stretching and strengthening the muscles and increasing flexibility. Physically, hockey demands a lot of strength from legs. This mean that hockey players keep a lot of stress in their legs. Calves, quads,glutes, and lower back muscles are heavily used. There are many yoga stretches that can help after hockey play, to relieve tension and prepare for the next game.

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Hockey Positioning


Hockey Positioning Tips

Hockey positioning is a complex topic. It's not something you can learn over night. Here are a few basic positioning tips for offense and defense to get you started.

Hockey Offense Positioning


Standard Hockey Breakout
There are tons of different breakout positioning systems your team can use to quickly and safely move the puck out of your own end. Unfortunately our team doesn't practice, so we tend to keep things pretty simple on the ice. Typically we just use the standard breakout.

Every player should be aware of the standard breakout regardless of the position you play. Defense, Centre and Wing all play a role.

Here is How the Standard Breakout Works:
  • The defenseman has the puck behind his own net, and sees a winger positioned along the boards.
  • He passes the puck to the winger or rings it around the boards.
  • Meanwhile the Center comes back into his own end from the blueline, turns, and curls up ice making himself available for a pass from the winger.
  • The winger can then either pass is to the center, or chip it up the boards and out of the zone.
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Go Hard to the Net
You may have heard other players yell "Go hard to the net!!" but might be unsure exactly what they meant or when you're supposed to do it.

What your helpful teammates are referring to takes place during a two-man rush in the offensive zone. The player who crosses the blue line with the puck is often in an outside lane (coming down on the right or left wing.) The second forward then drives 'hard to the net', ready for a pass.

The defenseman's job on a rush is to push the forward with the puck to the outside boards. If he does his job right, eventually the forward will run out of ice and be forced to make a pass. The puck carrier may not have time to look up and see exactly where you are as he's blazing down the wing trying to fight off the defense. If he manages to get a pass by the defenseman that's checking him, the puck is going to come hard, right in front of the net. That's where you are expected to be. That's great offensive hockey positioning.

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Defensive Hockey Positioning

Always Cover the Front of the Net 
When it comes to defensive positioning, your primary responsibility is to control the slot area. This is the prime scoring area for the other team in front of your net. Let your wingers worry about covering the point men.

When one D-man is in the corner, the other must position themselves in front of the net. If you decide to head into the opposite corner that you started your shift, let your partner know. Switching sides is quite common on defense, but you've got to communicate with each other. You definitely don't want to caught out of position with both of you in the corner with nobody covering the slot. More slots at spinbonus.com

Read more at Covering the Slot in Hockey

Playing the Point
When you’re playing defense, and the puck is in the offensive zone, your job is to keep the puck in the zone on the other side of the blue line. The 'Point' is the position at the blue line on your side of the ice.

When the other team rings the puck along the boards towards the blueline, your first priority is stop the puck, then try to get a shot on goal or make a pass to an open teammate. If the puck gets by you and crosses the blueline, your entire team has to clear the zone to prevent an offside.

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How to Control the Gap
Gap control is one of the trickier decisions you will have to make when playing defense. The 'Gap' refers to the amount of space between you and an opposing player entering your defensive zone with the puck - usually a one-on-one.

The first step in controlling the gap in to skate backwards at the same speed as the oncoming forward. This is definitely no easy task. If the forward with the puck started his rush deep in his own end, I will usually start skating forwards hard towards my own net, then turn to face the forward skating backwards to make sure I have enough speed.

While you're still in the neutral zone, your gap can be fairly wide (maybe two stick lengths) as the forward still has a lot of options as to where he will skate, and what he'll do with the puck. Once he reaches the blue line, you've got to narrow the gap to put some pressure of the forward.

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