Sunday, April 10, 2011

DefenceTip: Covering in Front of the Net

Hockey Defence Tip

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.

Keep Your Body Facing the Play.
While you want to keep an eye on the puck, you also have to be aware of the player you’re covering. If he moves, you’ve go to react. If you’re just staring at the puck, your man can easily get away from you and be open before you know it.

Get in His Way
Get in right beside him and firmly stake your position between him and the net. Letting him know you’re there will help distract him from the puck, and may cause him to miss the pass when the puck comes out.

Tie up His Stick
If you can time it properly, you may be able to lift his stick, just as the he’s about to receive the pass. Don’t try this too early, as you may end up getting tangled with his stick. If your stick ends up in the air you could get a high-sticking penalty. This trick works better when you’ve just arrived at the play, and the forward isn’t expecting you.

I prefer to place my stick over top of the other player’s. When I lean heavy on that sucker, even the strongest forward has trouble getting to the puck.

Give Your Goalie a Chance
Be sure not to screen the goalie if the shot is coming in from high in the zone. Better to let the goalie see the shot so he can have the best chance of stopping it. Whatever you, don’t try to stop a fast shot with your stick. You’re more likely to deflect it your own net, and that’s just plain ugly when it happens. Let the goalie do his job.

Cover the Most Dangerous Player
Sometimes there may be more than one player to cover and you’ve got to make a crucial choice. The most dangerous player is usually the best player, even if the weaker player is in a slightly better position to score. In Rec hockey, there can be a huge difference in ability between players, especially in the lower divisions. Be aware who the best player is on the opposing line, and make sure they’re covered in the slot.

Check out excellent DVD's on Defense at Championship Productions - where the coaches shop.

Check out these other Tips on Defence:

How to Play Defence One-on-One
How to Block Shots

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