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05-30-2012, 03:41 PM
  #25
Sojourn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C h a n c e View Post
How do you pick up speed doing the knee to knee thing? I'm not a good skater, so my understanding of the knee to knee technique is that you're just using the inside edges and shifting your knee side to side quickly to keep going backwards. But if the forward picks up speed and I keep doing the knee thing he'll blow past me so I have to end up switching to a forward stride.

I wish there's a video of that segment you're talking about on youtube or something. In my beginner league I play defensive dman a lot cus my partners always seem to like being the offensive dman and pinching in every single time. I end up having to always stay back and be the first dman to cover a forward.
A deep knee bend, and practicing a lot of C-cuts. The C-cuts help you get more out of each "stride", so that each one is more efficient. This is an area where leg strength can really pay off too, as well as explosiveness.

Really, a lot of being able to play good defense comes from a good skating foundation. It will help you face the player with the puck, but stay mobile while doing it. This helps prevent inexperienced defensemen from making the mistake of turning their back on the player, and losing track of what they are doing. A good foundation also helps you maintain balance. You can body up to players, without ending up on your butt. Even in a non-checking league, you want to be able to make contact and stay on your feet. It also helps when you're working with your stick, and because you can extend yourself a bit further without throwing your sense of balance off.

Not to mention the confidence associated with skating well. It's arguably the most important thing about ice hockey, and if you get comfortable doing it you're able to focus on other things without needing to worry about skating. Simple things are easier. Keeping your head up, for example. Going into the corner with confidence. Handling your man in front of the net, while also keeping tabs on the puck.

As for the rest of the topic, good defense, beyond hockey fundamentals, is mental. It's about awareness. A willingness to earn a few bruises, and take one for the team. Making your priority keeping the puck out of the net, which means making the safe play, and not necessarily the one that will lead to you getting points(though, the better ones learn to pick their spots in that regard). Also, don't try to do too much. Let your defensive partner do his job, and let your goalie do his job. If you start trying to do their job, you're not going to be doing your job, and that's how goals wind up in your net.

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