Thanks to Jeff Serowik, former NHL’er and owner of Pro Ambitions Hockey, Inc. for these great face-off tips.
Tips for taking a face-off in hockey:
- Great knee bend
- Grip the stick with one hand on top of shaft and the other hand really low on shaft for leverage
- Watch the referees hand and try to bat the puck out of the air as he’s dropping puck
- If you’re having trouble winning face-offs in a particular game, at least neutralize your opponent and tie his stick up and have your winger come get the puck.
- Believe you can win every face-off and take tremendous pride in it.
- All forwards should be aware of how to take face-offs in case the center gets bumped out.
- Hand and wrist strength and quickness. Purchase a wrist gripper and use in the car. Also practicing dribbling a golf ball and work on hand-eye coordination drills.
- Communication with your other line mates, make sure your all on the same page.
- Read and react the situation of the game. Are you down a goal? Up a goal? Short-handed, Power play? Last minute of game?
- Practice taking face-offs on the pond, at the end of practice or in your garage.
- Also, Many coaches implement trick plays in all 3 zones, these are fun and sometimes work!! Coaches should practice face off alignment on a routine basis so at crunch time all players should know what to do depending on being down a goal, up a goal or if you pull your goalie. Preparation is very important and can be the difference between winning and losing.
- Make sure you and your linemates are ready for the hurry up puck drop that referees are instituting now.
I hope this helps
Note from Jeremy – Thanks Jeff for those awesome tips. I don’t have pro experience but I do play center and here are a few tips that have worked for me.
- Know your strengths – There is one spot that I can win the face-off to almost every time, so in clutch situations I try to win the puck there
- Learn how to win to all locations – As a centremen you should know how to win the face-off and put the puck to your left D, right D, and both wingers. You should also know how to chip the puck forwards and take off with the puck, and how to take a shot right from the circle.
- Watch the ref’s elbow – For some reason this always worked for me for timing. I found most refs would move their elbow before they moved anything else. Instead of watching their hand, I watched their elbow and I found that helped with timing.
- You don’t have to win the faceoff with your stick – There have been times where I would just tie up the other centremen and then kick the puck to where I want it. This is not the fastest way to get the puck where you need it, but it is good to know about this option.
- Pull with both hands – A common trick used by a lot of NHL players is to pull with both hands. Instead of holding a stick as if you were shooting some players will flip the bottom hand around and hold the stick as if they were holding a kayak paddle.
- Make sure your team mates know where you plan on putting the puck - there is nothing more embarrassing than winning the puck cleanly to your defencemen, only to have them miss the puck.
I hope these faceoffs tips have helped, winning faceoffs has a lot to do with hand eye co-ordination so make sure you practice a lot!
If you have any face off tips you can leave them in the comment section below