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01-08-2010, 11:28 AM
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Gap Control and minimize crossovers.

One thing we have been trying to teach our minor hockey team is gap control. Knowing/deciding when to attack the forward before being backed up on top of your goalie. I would rather see them attack and miss the puck/player than for the forward to use the D man as a screen.

On a 1 on 1 coming down the boards, his inside should and your outside shoulder should be lined up. You can easily force the forward to the outside as well as have an advantage when you transition from forward skating to backward skating. Along with high stick hand elbow (helps in surprising the forward with a poke check).

One issue we see in young kids is that they have been taught while skating backwards to keep the off stick hand out and palm facing up. IMO this causes an imbalance. I taught our team to put the thumb on their chest. Keeps everything centered over the skates and allows for an explosive movement if you have to direct someone into the boards.

Crossovers. In minor hockey it is emphasized too much. Great to initially teach, but how many D have been caught up in their own feet while being beat to the outside. IMO Lidstrom is a fantastic player to watch, rarely does he cross his feet over, but they are always moving.

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