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Terrible Offensive/Defensive Awareness..how to fix this?

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01-10-2009, 07:23 PM
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Terrible Offensive/Defensive Awareness..how to fix this?

So I've never played any level of organized hockey growing up. I've watched hockey since I was young (probably about 7-8) and have an intense love for the game.

The last 2 years I've been playing organized men's ball hockey in the summer. I'm not a terrible athlete, probably about average stamina, not too big only about 5'8 but I don't give up on a play and try to do all the little things (block shots, be aggressive, etc.)

However, one thing lacking from my game is awareness. I don't really know "where" I'm supposed to be when our team has the ball on a breakout, in the neutral zone, in the offensive zone on a rush, etc. I'm a d-man and this pretty much limits me to a stay-at-home defenseman. I have an okay slapshot and get most of my shots on goal but again having not played organized hockey before my technique is lacking.

On defense its a similar story. I know how to get myself in the shooting lane, and if I have to tie up somebody in front of the net I can, but other than that I don't know where I'm supposed to go...off a faceoff in our zone, where to go if my partner has the ball, etc.

How can I improve this? I don't get too many chances to play shinny, and even if I do its not very organized so I'm not sure how helpful that would be. Do I watch more hockey games? If so, what do I look for?

Thanks a lot for your help in advance!

headcoach if you're reading this I'd love some input from you, I really respect your posts!

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01-10-2009, 07:36 PM
Gunnar Stahl 30
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off of faceoffs, if you are playing left d and the faceoff is to the right, you are lined up on the hashmarks right next to teh oppositions right winger, because your teammate, the winger needs to break to teh point to cover their defenseman.

in the zone, its a pretty easy philosphy. if you are the left defenseman, and the puck is on your zone down low, you go out from the front of the net and cover that area, then when the puck is on the right side of the zone, you cover teh front of teh net and your partner covers the right side. you needs to keep your stick on the ice as close to the puck carriers stick and in the passing and shooting lanes. dont have your stick at your hips. have it on the ice, with one hand on it. also very important, DONT TRY AND BLOCK A SHOT YOU KNOW YOU CANT GET ALL OF. you might tip it in. dont try and stop a high shot with your stick. and DONT GET IN THE WAY OF THE GOALIE. if you have teh puck in your zone, DO NOT PASS IT IN FRONT OF YOUR NET, if you are unsure of where to put the puck, put it HIGH OFF THE GLASS and out of the zone, do NOT pass it infront of your net.

when your forward is skating it out of the zone, or has it in the zone, stay behind the play and have 2 hands on your stick ready to recieve a pass. be in front of the net until the puck is cleared and you have to be at an open area so if your teammat needs a out he can pass it to you and reset things.

and when i say puck i mean ball

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01-10-2009, 10:02 PM
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If you have the opportunity, you should go watch some game in a arena, of a somewaht high level, and focus yourself on one player and how he moves depending of where the puck is. When you're playing, which I suppose is not pro, a good way to know where the puck is gonna go is to check where its owner looks to pass or go. Not many can do effectively no-look pass.

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01-10-2009, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by hsing View Post
If you have the opportunity, you should go watch some game in a arena, of a somewaht high level, and focus yourself on one player and how he moves depending of where the puck is. When you're playing, which I suppose is not pro, a good way to know where the puck is gonna go is to check where its owner looks to pass or go. Not many can do effectively no-look pass.
Yup. Every time you watch an NHL game focus on the guy that plays your position. Great way to learn.

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01-11-2009, 11:02 AM
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Like others have said, watching is a great way to learn. I would suggest however that each time you watch a game you watch a different position each time. I've played for 40 years and coached on and off for about 25. Everything from mites to Juniors. Hockey is definately a game that is about anticipation. When I coach younger or less experienced players I try and have them play every position before they settle on one. Even if their skills seem to lead them to one position or another. My philosophy behind this is is that by playing each position you know where that position is supposed to be in given situations. An example being, by playing wing first a defenseman knows where the wing would like a defenseman to be when the wing has the puck behind the net, or in the corner or on the half boards. This may even change by the wing being left handed or right handed. In a nutshell the defenseman will know that if the wing has the puck "here" then he wants me "there". It still is a matter of processing information very quickly but that thought process will put you one step ahead of someone who is waiting to find out where to be by reacting to what their teammate has already done.
Hope that makes some sense. PM me if you would like more detail I don't want to make this 4 pages long. Good Luck.

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01-12-2009, 12:20 AM
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I think some of that advice might not work as well considering its ball hockey. The fundamentals are there, but its a very different game than playing on the rink.

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01-12-2009, 08:25 AM
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ask your teammates to help, maybe get with them and run some practices.

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01-12-2009, 10:42 AM
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I'm in the same position as the OP. I started playing pickup hockey and joined a league just a few years ago. Going from pickup where everybody joins the rush and nobody plays defense to having to know your position was a tough transition. I've read everything I could get my hands on about playing defense and it's helped quite a bit. Here are a few topics to look for:

Offense (offensive responsibilities of a defenseman)--
Keeping the ball in the offensive zone
Shooting from the point
Cycling the ball, umbrella formation, etc.
Joining the rush

Steering the ball carrier to the outside
Anticipating the pass
Gap control and poke checking
Clearing the crease, covering the slot, covering the post
Playing a 2-on-1, a 2-on-2 or a 3-on-2 situation

Much of this you can find simply by googling "hockey defense strategy" or something similar. The better you know your responsibilities and where you're expected to be the better you'll think the game, anticipate what's going to happen and react appropriately. Watching live games is great but not everyone plays their position by the book and you can learn a lot of bad habits that way. Of course, watching the analysis of why a defensive play broke down can be instructional, too.

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