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09-01-2011, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Boise, ID
It's ironic that they call it physicality when it is mostly mental. Nobody is going to be able to talk you into it or tell you to just do it. Playing physical is a mentality that you have to have. Bad thing is..... you don't have it. Good thing is.... it's something you can change. It's like anything else that you want, you have to make yourself do it. It mostly has to do with confidence so I would suggest to start by putting yourself in situations to succeed so that your confidence will grow.
Your best place to be physical and be the aggressor is in your offensive zone when your team loses control of the puck. Try and quickly diagnose how the opponent will be trying to get the puck out of the zone. If the defenseman takes the puck behind the net that is a great place to deliver a hit. You are moving and the defenseman is moving slowly or stationary in a confined space and looking for somewhere to pass and not concemtrating on you. Don't concentrate on anything except hitting his torso with your shoulder. Don't look at anything else, don't turn and chase the puck he just passed (unless it is long gone) He is still fair game for a second or two after he unloads the puck so just keep coming and tell yourself that you want to hit the boards and this guy is in the way. Hit THROUGH the guy.
Another place is the winger waiting for a breakout pass on the half boards. Same situation but with a little more space for the opponent to work without having the net in the way. Again, disregard whatever else is happening around you. Zero in and deliver your hit.
I would suggest leaving the neutral zone alone until you feel a lot more comfortable with your hitting ability. Just cover your guy and play defense.
Depending on what position you are playing and the circumstance, hitting in the defensive zone may vary. If you are in the slot you may be able to catch a forward coming behind the net or trying to cycle in the corner.
As far as not getting railed yourself. If you are chasing a loose puck in the corner, try to vary your speed going in and coming out. Coast in, accelerate out. Have a plan before you get there with what you want to do with the puck. Make a head fake before you get there and try and look over the ooposite shoulder as the direction you want to go. You want to try and get the opponent to stop skating and coast because he doesn't know where you are going. Try and skate directly at the puck. Most guys if they are going to go left they will skate towrd the right side of the puck or even further out. That tells me as a defender exactly where you are going to go. If you go straight at it the opponent will have to either guess or stay right behind you and shouldn'rt be able to get a clean shot at you.
Once you gain the mentality of being an aggressive hitter you will also know better how to avoid hits because you will know what the opponent is thinking about doing to you and you can counter act it.
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