Ice Hockey Skills
Getting your hockey team ready for competitions means building up their ice hockey skills. There are various ways you can do this. You may already know the basics, such as keeping your head up while playing -- this is a bad habit for newbies. Another well-known option is to offer off-season training. This is very important in keeping your best players in shape; this is also a great way to build up the skills of your slacking players. Now, if you are looking for some ways to increase the skills of all your players, consider the following.
Defense in the Defensive Zone
If you are looking for a way to increase hockey skills in the defense arena, you can try these plays. When in the defense zone, it is important that your players keep the front of the net covered at all times. Keep one guy up front, particularly someone tough. Being aware of the other team is highly essential for face-off plays. Your players should always finish checks in corners and beat their opponent to the net. When playing three on three or four on four, one of the players should take on the shooter. Teach your players to also avoid backing in. When the puck is at the point, your players should clear the front of the net and use the opposition sticks to control and seal the outside.
If you have a weak side defense player, have him cover the wide winger when the backchecker isn’t doing so. If the wingers are covered, have your players stay up at the blue line -- on a two on two or three on three, have the play meet at the blue line. If an opponent is coming out of your zone, don’t allow your players to let him to stay behind without being covered.
If your defensemen is in the offensive end, have him keep these tips in mind:
Always be prepared to pinch when covered by a forward.
Stay a few feet behind the blue line -- this prevents the puck from getting out.
Stay alert for when breaking forwards -- have him stay on them and don’t try to knock down the pass.
Don’t hit the puck into blind spots; always ensure they are safe.
Shoot the puck into the corner when on backhand at the point.
The Neutral Zone
Increasing ice hockey skills includes working the defense zone as much as the neutral zone. In most games, the back checking forward goes after the puck carrier, which then causes a back pressure in the neutral zone. In historic games, this player would instead have cover over the wide offensive wing. Have your backchecker players finish the check if he has a good checking angle and when the opponent is too far up, have the player cover the supporting forward instead. Always have the wide defender over the opponents in the wide lane. If the last two players of your team are coming back, it is important that they beat the attacking defensemen to the red or defensive blue line. You should also quickly outnumber the attacker at this point. The amount of coverage all depends on the forchecking system that is being used on the opposing hockey team.
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