Tag: defensive tips

Defense: Improve your two on One skills

Defensive Orientation – Two on Ones

When dealing with a 2 on 1 a defensemen must remember several key points.

  • Your goalies skill and preference
    • As a player you should know your goalies ability. If your goalie is confident and easily stops shots coming from an angle, this will help you know how to play to 2 on 1 . You should work with your goaltender by watching and talking with them to form a good relationship with them. Remember the goalie is your best friend.
  •  Hand of the player coming down on you
    •  If you have a 2 on 1 then chances are you will have a few seconds to take a breath and prepare. Always watch what hand (which way they shoot) the two players are that are coming down on you- if a right handed players is coming on the left side he will be trying to cut in or make a pass 90 percent of the time. Vice versa if a right handed is coming in on his forehand then there is a lower probability for a pass. And if a pass comes it will be crisp and off the ice.
  • Always keep yourself between the players and never commit early
    • The biggest mistake a defensemen can make is to commit to a 2 on 1 at the blue line or even top of the circle. You have to draw the opposing players as close as you can before attempting any play. If the offensive players get a shot from above  the hash marks they have a better chance to score. You want to try to make them play or shoot within 8 feet of the net. This creates a sense of panic and urgency in both the passing plays and the shooting, usually causing more mistakes.

Now to deal with most two on ones…

The main focus will be the most common two on one. A break out by the other team and a messy pinch by your defensive partner, this leaves you in the middle of the ice at the red line facing a breaking winger and center. At this point you must take several seconds and assess the players coming down. Check which way they shoot, an easy way is to use your peripherals. You will have a few seconds before the offensive players start to connect so do a quick glance at the player without the puck. Do this carefully and quickly as it only takes a few seconds for a good forward to notice and they will blitz by you or pass it off. Keep yourself between the two players and keep your attention on the puck carrier use quick glances and your peripherals to always have a eye on the person without the puck but make sure to focus on the puck carrier.

Now this is where we branch off.  Some coaches will teach you to take the person without the puck every time and allow your goalie to take the shot this effectively gives them a breakaway if done improperly, but if executed perfectly it creates an easy away to dissolve any two on one.
When doing this it is important to remember the key points. NEVER do it to early and know which way the offensive player shoots. If a right winger is coming down on the left side he will try to get a pass or attempt to stay as far out as he can to get a better angle for a shot.. This is because his shot angles are greatly reduced if he is not hugging the boards. Use this to your advantage the farther out he goes the greater the distance for a pass. Start pressing him to stay out near the boards until you are 10 to 15ft form the net then you take the passer and if your goalie is properly positioned scoring from that angle will be difficult.

Another way and one I always will recommend is to stay between the players till the end. You will see a demonstration in the video sections and I recommend watching it before proceeding. This is extremely difficult as you must have a high hand eye coordination as well as the ability to use your feet but if you can do it properly it is a great tool.
This play only works if you believe a pass will be coming. Stay between the two players as you normally would now at the 15ft mark drop to a knee keeping you stick about an inch above the ice and cutting off almost the entire passing area. This is where it gets tricky and sounds silly. Make sure you leave your back leg that is on the ice tucked in ever so slightly; this will leave what looks like an easy passing lane. Most forwards will take the bait as they will want to make it look pretty.
Now that the trap is set you only have to close it. As your leg is dropped and you are heading to the net start angling towards the puck carrier this will increase the likely hood of him using the pass. Now all that’s left is to time your strike. When you see him about to pass stick your back leg out and use a sweeping motion. This will stop any puck up to 5 inches off the ice and if done properly will cause the puck to be completely removed from harms way. Another neat part of this is that if the passer cuts in and the puck carrier tries to drop a pass back you can attempt to stop the puck with you stick and if that doesn’t work you are in perfect position to sprawl down and go for a block shot. Now it sounds like a lot but once you get the perfect angles you will love it.

Also this play can be preformed skating forwards. If you had to pivot to keep up with the offensive rush then simply do the same play, drop the knee and leave the back bass wide open. When the forward bites sweep the leg and close the pass. Just remember this is risky and you should try perfecting it in practice before attempting it in a game.


Tips and Tricks Every Defensemen Should Know

Hockey tips every defensemen should know

Being a great defensemen isn’t about the hits or the shots its about being the entire package.  When I was on the ice I knew what was going on in both my own players heads and my opponents. I had the tools and I used them all with great success. In this article I will try to show you a few easy skills, and a few difficult skills that can greatly increase your ability to play defense and love of the game.

Defense is typically for the grinders and fighters, guys who want the big hits and the big shots. But there will always be 2 or 3 defensemen on every team who play for the true meaning of the position. The purpose of defense is to stop anything and everything from getting remotely close to the net and to be able to set up and assist their forwards.

Big hits are part of playing defense, however I have seen the following scenario too many times. The defensemen will pinch for the big hit to make everyone cheer only to see a two, and sometimes three on one result immediately afterwards. Big hits are a part of the game and give both the fans and players something to talk about but always remember your main job as a defense. Stop the players, stop the pucks.

Hockey Defense Tips and tricks


Keep your Head on a swivel

I have always been taught and trained to keep my head on a swivel. This means that when there is a  play going on the offensive end behind the net I am not transfixed I am watching where my players are, and what the defensive team is doing.

Using Your feet in Hockey

Too many players only use the stick as their tools. I consider myself to have three sticks on the ice at all times. You can hold a puck between your feet easier then any stick and they are great tools to stop even the most complex deke. This is one skill you should always master.

Keep your stick on the ice

Don cherry (and Red Green!)  said it so it’s got to be true. In all honesty your stick does no good when it’s not on the ice. It’s like taking the sword away from the night or the guns away from the soldier.

Know Your goalie

A goalie is a defensemen’s best friend and to be the best at your job you need to know their weaknesses and strengths. If your goalie has an amazing glove but and atrocious blocker your going to want to try to keep shots to the glove side and if all possible block any chances for a blocker side shot.

A defensemen must also be talking to their goalies at all times. If they can’t see they’ll tell you, if the see a play being set up make sure they yell at you it will allow you to be one step ahead. Also ask a goalie about the breakouts they are always watching the game and half the time they aren’t in the action and can pick up on certain plays the other team might be trying which will give you a chance to intercept and stop them.

Your defensive partner

Just like the goalie you must know your partner and their style. I remember playing with one defensemen that, for the life of him could not keep a puck in the offensive end. I would always be 5 to six feet off the blue line whenever he got the puck in preparation for a 2 or 3 on 1 and it helped my team more times then I could count. I also remember having a partner that I could rely on completely, he would always make the plays and if I ever got caught he would back me up. This knowledge of the partner’s should always affect how you approach the puck in any situation.

 Keep your eyes on the body

Never allow a forward to mesmerize you with a puck, focus on an x right between their shoulders. If you look at players eyes or at the puck your will be beaten.  Remember to use your peripherals, their great tools to get a quick poke check when the forwards doesn’t expect it

Defensive Tricks

The glass – Here is a neat tip, when I am retrieving a puck from a dump in or on the power play I always look into the glass to see who’s behind me. Ninety percent of the arenas I have been in have a great reflection and you can see your forwards setting up and even their forwards trying to rush you. Doing this allows you to have a advantage and will create a lot of great passing opportunities.

Always Play smart

Here is a well known fact, most forwards don’t enjoy scoring garbage goals. They want the pretty passes and magic plays so that they can talk about them with their friends. Use this to your advantage. A key tool for a defenseman is to be able to give that perfect passing lane to the forwards only to shut it down the minute they try to use it.

I hope you enjoyed this article about defense in hockey. Defensive hockey is very important to learn at any stage in a hockey players life. Practicing alone is not enough to improve your game, you must study the game and learn the proper techniques before you can utilize them on the ice.