Switching from Forward to Defense
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12-13-2012, 12:29 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
I really appreciate the tips in this post. For someone who is relatively new to the sport it's great to cross reference my experience with a wider body of knowledge.
I will share some tips I have received from coaches/players I respect:
1. One stick rule behind the net: As a D, if you are chasing a forward behind your net, only follow him to the other side if you are within a stick length. Anything more and you should be sliding in front of the net and your partner should take over. MAKE SURE your team mates know this rule as well so they can anticipate what you are going to do.
2. A**holes and Eyeballs (aka: compress and contain): In the corners, if you can see their eyeballs (they are facing you) you contain them. If the forward has his back to you, compress quickly.
3. Leverage: In front of the net, use your top hand to push on the lower back of the forward screening. This works great in the lower divisions where balance is an issue for most players.
4. Gap control: By the time the opposing forward hits your blue line, you should have no more than a stick length between you. Use your stick to guide the forward to the outside. This is a problem for guys that don't skate well backwards. If this is the case for you, practice at every opportunity you have.
5. Stick-Hands-Body: As others have said, stick-on-puck, stick-on-puck, stick-on-puck. Once you get the forward on the boards, follow the stick-hands-body rule to rub them out. Get your stick on the puck, then aim for the gloves and finally take the body on the boards. If you do this right, you will skate away with the puck or at the very least, separate the forward from the puck into a safe area.
6. Up the boards: More often than not, in my league, the forwards are all headed straight up the ice and NOT posting up on the half wall during a breakout, NOT crossing lanes, or swinging back in a regroup to help out. The simple rule 8 year old kids learn is that if you see your forwards numbers (his back to you), bank it off the boards. This is a percentage play.
Remember, the defensive zone is all about STRUCTURE and the offensive zone is about creativity. DO YOUR JOB!
I can only speak from my limited experience but these are some of the things I hear over and over from coaches and experienced players.
Hopefully you will find value in some of it.
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