defense strategies

Defensive 1 on 1 Coverage

Practice these 4 main points:
1. Stay between the forward and the net
2. Control the gap
3. Watch the forwards hips
4. Keep your hockey stick out in front

Point 1. Stay between the forward and the net.

  • Basic principal of playing defence is to give yourself some room between the opposing player and not allowing the player to the net.
  • Keep the opposing player who has the puck to the outside close to the boards especially entering your own zone.
  • If the opposing player is coming through the middle of the ice position yourself directly in front of him.
  • Always own the center lane, if the opposing player is coming down the wing position yourself just off the players shoulder closes to the center of the ice. This encourages that player to try to beat you to the outside which you can control much better.

Point 2. Control the Gap.

  • If the gap between you and opposing player is to wide this will allow that player more room to move to the inside of the ice instead of you forcing him to go outside along the boards.
  • Try to keep the gap between the opposing player at a 2 stick length gap, if the gap is to narrow this might allow the player to go around you as you might be unable to check him.
  • One idea is to keep your own stick closer to your body but still in front of you. This giving the opposing player the idea he has more room then really what he actually has. As that player decides to make a pass or another play, you can ‘poke’ check him or intercept a pass.

Point 3. Watch Their Hips.

  • Watching the opposing players hips will allow you to determine which way he is trying to go.
  • Once positioning yourself properly between the player coming at you and staying focus on the hips you will not be ‘fooled’ into anything that you can’t control.
  • Do not stare at the puck.
  • Most earlier coaches always suggested watching the players chest but that can still be a fools quest as a experience player can drop his shoulder one way and go the other. That is why watching the hips is now the standard coaching technique as the hips move the entire body moves.

Point 4. Keep the Stick out in Front.

  • With the stick on the ice and in front of you allows you to move the stick to which ever side the player moves to.
  • Let the opposing player make the first move, be patient, as this will help you in the long run.

Follow up on these Tips in practice and you will become the defence man that the coach can rely upon.

By Warren Nye,
Photo by u16panthers
March 6th, 2012