Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Standard Hockey Breakout Play

Standard Hockey Breakout Play

There are tons of different breakout plays and 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 play.

Every player should be aware of the standard breakout play 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 open along the boards.

  • He passes the puck to the winger or rings it around the boards.

  • Meanwhile the Centre 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 centre, or chip it up the boards and out of the zone.

The good folks at Athleon Sport sent me this cool tool for diagramming plays.

The Center

The key to this play is timing. The center should be passing by the winger as the winger receives the puck. The winger can then make a short, quick pass to the center, who now has some speed, and is able to take the puck out of your own end.

The Winger

The winger must be ready for any type of pass from the defenceman. It's rarely going to be right on your stick. If the puck has been flung along the boards into the corner, it can be tricky.

The best way to control this type of pass is to line up facing the high slot with your butt against the boards, stick on the ice, and the heel of your front foot (the foot closest to the blueline) right against the boards. If you tilt your front foot outwards at an angle, and keep your stick in front of you, the puck should bounce off your skate blade towards your stick as it comes in behind your trailing leg.

The puck can take a weird bounce at any time, so this method doesn't always work perfectly. Even if the puck gets caught up between your skates, you still have a good chance of getting it under control.

Breakout Drills

Breakouts are necessary to create the dangerous 2-on-1 plays. Mark Carlson, the USHL's Coach of the Year in 2004-05, covers the key breakout ingredients - quick, move the puck, timing, talking, read pressure and maintain puck support - in these hockey drills.
Details include getting to the puck quickly, check shoulder, not handling the puck, forwards in position and support of the puck. The defense drill uses only the defensemen in a 2-on-2 alignment.
The next drill involves one defenseman and one forward and can be run out of both ends. The Mohawk Turn is a skill used in this drill where the player's chest is facing middle rink, ready to receive a pass.
Breakout options include adding two defensemen with two forwards at both ends. Other drills focus on support and positioning, reading pressure in the neutral zone and reading pressure in breakouts. These hockey drills are fundamental in nature and rely on many small details to assure execution.

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