How To Hockey

Playing the angles in defense

One of the most important things for any defensemen to learn is how to properly angle players. when a forward has the entire ice they are extremely difficult to stop, they have more options then you can close down. to properly stop forwards from getting around you and your defensive partnre you must learn to angle  them in the direction you want. 90 percent of being a defensemen is the ability to manipulate or dictate the offensive teams plays. This gives you the control when they are advancing on your end.  think of the sheep dogs hearding the sheep to the kennel.
When a forward is coming down on a defensemen you  never line up shoulder to shoulder (PICTURE) Make sure you have your boardside shoulder in the middle of his chest.  aslo make sure you are within 10 feet, if you are to far back they will cut inside easily and if your to close they can add a quick speed boost and get around you before you can act.This small difference in postioning  makes a huge difference in the forwards options. They now can attempt to cut inside but their lane is severely restricted if not complelety blocked. What they will see is a larger openeing towards the boards and believe that they can get around you as long as they are fast enough.  This is manipulating the play to give you the most advantage. Timing is everything from this point on if you cannot keep up skating backwards you must time your pivot so that the forwards has no option to cut inside, if you can keep up to them keep skating backwards and start closing the gap. Three things will happen form this point:
Panic: the forward will see the boards then see you and realize he is going to be in a world of hurt. He will either throw the puck away or attempt to stop and recalculate his atack both of these are great options for you as now your team will be able to assist.
Speed through: if the forward feels he can sneak by you around the boards you should be thanking the stars these are the perfect occasions to get a great team boosting hit that can change the flow of any game. you have to make sure you are a 100 percent confident you can skate with the player. As he puts on the speed boost you need to delay by a second, make him feel he may just get by, if you have been closing the gap as before and were still skating backwards a hipcheck would be perfect. If you had to pivot  to keep up with him just follow through and aim ten feet beyond the boards with your hit. it will make the forward think twice next time he touches the puck.
He beats you: if the forward is faster then you and cuts around do not be to worried. since you have herded him towards the boards he is going to have to try to cut in or face a severely restricted shooting lane, when he cuts in you still will have a chance to stop him with your stick. also your defensive partner should be reading that you have been beaten and he can assist.
Angling is a defensemen’s secret weapon, it starts everything from the poke check to the perfect hit, using angling properly will increase your skills tremendously and it contributes to so many areas within hockey development.

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