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4-on-4 roller hockey coaching advice

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08-22-2009, 02:34 PM
  #1
Mike Farkas
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4-on-4 roller hockey coaching advice

Hey guys,

I took over a 4-on-4 roller hockey team late last season after the other coach was let go in favor of me. I installed a system that's more ice hockey-ish (because I know that better in terms of strategy). They were used to being a talented, free-wheeling offensive team but a lot of the talent left and what remained was a lot of depth players for me to work with.

I can't really install my system (mimicks Bylsma's Penguins system: hard working puck pursuit, establishing the cycle, etc.) in roller hockey. At the end of the year, I preached this style as close as I could relate it to roller hockey.

I drew up a new breakout or two that didn't rely on dangerous homerun passes, instead it involved multiple options (ya know, in case they anticipate this, or this goes wrong, this guy's in the wrong position you can do this or this) and safety valves (if you don't like the way it's looking, drop it here and start it over)...I'm big fan of options and safety valves...

We had one upset in the playoffs against a higher ranked team and it was a game where I thought they really played my system the way I wanted it to be played. So there's promise (I hope).

I altered the power play (instead of the traditional box) to a unit that uses a box and one that uses a diamond...the box unit has a set up that allows a point-man to sneak in from the point on a backdoor play (see: again, the Penguins play with Ryan Whitney the year he was good [59 points or whatever he had])...

I altered the penalty kill because I thought that three players sitting in a triangle was an abysmal waste that just invited two minutes of attack time for the opponent. So I send the high forward to take a chance (within reason and he understands it well) on the cross-rink feeds and apply moderate pressure to the point-men with the puck, as he does that, the other penalty killers rotate into position to fill passing lanes...with the puck on the sideboards, the appropiate d-man starts edging towards the puck and limiting time and space for him - in the mean time, the other two killers rotate again to limit passing lanes (the other d-man of course patrols the front of the net as well).

It's the reciprocation of my breakout basically, where I favor options...on the PK I take it on as my job to limit the opponents options, fill passing lanes, take away time and space...the risk involved in the PK is that sometimes you can allow that backdoor cross-rink feed (the very thing you try to avoid, I know) but it's a risk I'm willing to take in this case...aggressive penalty kills make more sense than sitting back in a box (or triangle) all day long...

Now that you can get a fair idea of what I'm about, I'm just looking for maybe some tips or some ideas to help better my system but maybe from a roller hockey player's or (especially) coach's perspective...because like I said, my mind is more towards ice than roller so I probably don't understand all the caveats of roller yet and what makes sense and what doesn't...

I want a defensive-minded, high-tempo, high puck pursuit/pressure team that focuses on puck control (the key to roller hockey as it appears to me) not high-risk, one-time offensive ventures...

Any help would be greatly appreciated (PMs welcome if you don't want to reveal your secrets to the world )...

I look forward to some enlightening discussion...

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08-22-2009, 03:39 PM
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Hit long, 2 line break out passes. LOL

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08-23-2009, 12:51 AM
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Kevin27nyi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
Hey guys,

I took over a 4-on-4 roller hockey team late last season after the other coach was let go in favor of me. I installed a system that's more ice hockey-ish (because I know that better in terms of strategy). They were used to being a talented, free-wheeling offensive team but a lot of the talent left and what remained was a lot of depth players for me to work with.

I can't really install my system (mimicks Bylsma's Penguins system: hard working puck pursuit, establishing the cycle, etc.) in roller hockey. At the end of the year, I preached this style as close as I could relate it to roller hockey.

I drew up a new breakout or two that didn't rely on dangerous homerun passes, instead it involved multiple options (ya know, in case they anticipate this, or this goes wrong, this guy's in the wrong position you can do this or this) and safety valves (if you don't like the way it's looking, drop it here and start it over)...I'm big fan of options and safety valves...

We had one upset in the playoffs against a higher ranked team and it was a game where I thought they really played my system the way I wanted it to be played. So there's promise (I hope).

I altered the power play (instead of the traditional box) to a unit that uses a box and one that uses a diamond...the box unit has a set up that allows a point-man to sneak in from the point on a backdoor play (see: again, the Penguins play with Ryan Whitney the year he was good [59 points or whatever he had])...

I altered the penalty kill because I thought that three players sitting in a triangle was an abysmal waste that just invited two minutes of attack time for the opponent. So I send the high forward to take a chance (within reason and he understands it well) on the cross-rink feeds and apply moderate pressure to the point-men with the puck, as he does that, the other penalty killers rotate into position to fill passing lanes...with the puck on the sideboards, the appropiate d-man starts edging towards the puck and limiting time and space for him - in the mean time, the other two killers rotate again to limit passing lanes (the other d-man of course patrols the front of the net as well).

It's the reciprocation of my breakout basically, where I favor options...on the PK I take it on as my job to limit the opponents options, fill passing lanes, take away time and space...the risk involved in the PK is that sometimes you can allow that backdoor cross-rink feed (the very thing you try to avoid, I know) but it's a risk I'm willing to take in this case...aggressive penalty kills make more sense than sitting back in a box (or triangle) all day long...

Now that you can get a fair idea of what I'm about, I'm just looking for maybe some tips or some ideas to help better my system but maybe from a roller hockey player's or (especially) coach's perspective...because like I said, my mind is more towards ice than roller so I probably don't understand all the caveats of roller yet and what makes sense and what doesn't...

I want a defensive-minded, high-tempo, high puck pursuit/pressure team that focuses on puck control (the key to roller hockey as it appears to me) not high-risk, one-time offensive ventures...

Any help would be greatly appreciated (PMs welcome if you don't want to reveal your secrets to the world )...

I look forward to some enlightening discussion...
ok well for the breakout its nice to have one guy break out down the ice. it causes the other team to back out a little and create room for the puckmen to have a little more time. and it is useful when you get in there zone. what i recommend is that one guy is behind the net or around there and 2 guys halfway down the ice. then one guy goes to the other side and one guy drops back usually the winger or centerman with the dman going across because that way the offenseman doesn't look rediculous going up then down. so when he drops down the puck-man passes it over to him and then you skate up with a give and go and with the man going across cuts through the middle and the man down there gets in a scoring position. jic there is a guy back and he will take the top point.

on the pk i find that as long as the dman is reliable then this works out well. it involves a nice two-way player, a speedy player and the reliable dman. its an upside down triangle. the dman covers the front and the two guys up top cover the passes and the point. the speedy guy mostly covers the top and upper sides and the two way player get corners and guys coming down the middle.
if there is a turnover the speedy foward can easily break through on a breakway. if you have these players i find that this plan is very effective.

on the powerplay i also use a diamond. if you have a very good player to take control of the power play then this works. what i do is we have a slanted diamond. a man on the side, in front but towards the size away from the guy on the side, and a guy on the top point. he is the distribuator. then theres a guy away from the points but isnt at the helm of the point. he would be on the other side of the man on the boards. the main tool is the passer on the point. he can either set up the other point man to take a slapshot/one-timer and the guy in front can deflect it and if its wide can battle for the puck. he can also pass it to a moving in player on the other side. the man on top can effectively stop a breakaway becuase he os towards the red line.

on 4-4 i like using a combo of zone and man on man. guy in front and the rest play man. we have a very reliable tough nosed dman so it fits. on offense we use constant circling. no board play though. effective for the point. involves a dman moving in and the other dropping back. crashing the net and then having a man back. our top line ( and top pk and pp ) has a speedy winger. a reliable centerman and two reliable two way dmen. they are what our play is based on.

if you have more q's on anything let me know. i recomend trying this in practice (obviously) to see if this fits your roster because thats what its used for on our team.

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08-23-2009, 03:00 AM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin27NYI View Post
ok well for the breakout its nice to have one guy break out down the ice. it causes the other team to back out a little and create room for the puckmen to have a little more time. and it is useful when you get in there zone. what i recommend is that one guy is behind the net or around there and 2 guys halfway down the ice. then one guy goes to the other side and one guy drops back usually the winger or centerman with the dman going across because that way the offenseman doesn't look rediculous going up then down. so when he drops down the puck-man passes it over to him and then you skate up with a give and go and with the man going across cuts through the middle and the man down there gets in a scoring position. jic there is a guy back and he will take the top point.

on the pk i find that as long as the dman is reliable then this works out well. it involves a nice two-way player, a speedy player and the reliable dman. its an upside down triangle. the dman covers the front and the two guys up top cover the passes and the point. the speedy guy mostly covers the top and upper sides and the two way player get corners and guys coming down the middle.
if there is a turnover the speedy foward can easily break through on a breakway. if you have these players i find that this plan is very effective.

on the powerplay i also use a diamond. if you have a very good player to take control of the power play then this works. what i do is we have a slanted diamond. a man on the side, in front but towards the size away from the guy on the side, and a guy on the top point. he is the distribuator. then theres a guy away from the points but isnt at the helm of the point. he would be on the other side of the man on the boards. the main tool is the passer on the point. he can either set up the other point man to take a slapshot/one-timer and the guy in front can deflect it and if its wide can battle for the puck. he can also pass it to a moving in player on the other side. the man on top can effectively stop a breakaway becuase he os towards the red line.

on 4-4 i like using a combo of zone and man on man. guy in front and the rest play man. we have a very reliable tough nosed dman so it fits. on offense we use constant circling. no board play though. effective for the point. involves a dman moving in and the other dropping back. crashing the net and then having a man back. our top line ( and top pk and pp ) has a speedy winger. a reliable centerman and two reliable two way dmen. they are what our play is based on.

if you have more q's on anything let me know. i recomend trying this in practice (obviously) to see if this fits your roster because thats what its used for on our team.
This. Absolutely this. It's "Babcock system of roller hockey".

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08-23-2009, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael Scott View Post
This. Absolutely this. It's "Babcock system of roller hockey".
thanks lol.

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08-23-2009, 10:00 AM
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if you're playing with a ball, i love to flip a pass over whoever is between me and the target. if you use the good balls with very little bounce (the hard plastic ones with a little bit of water inside are what i use) it works especially well. gives you a good option for the breakout (or breakaway) pass if the opposing player is right in your passing lane. that's probably so obvious you already have your guys practicing it?

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08-23-2009, 02:17 PM
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Cycling the puck in roller hockey? No. The best system I played in was a re-group system similar to what the Oilers used in the 80's. You attack as a 4 man unit, if there is no play since there is no offsides you simply wheel back into your own zone and try another 4 man attack. Puck possession is key. The only thing I'd bring from ice hockey is physical play. I stopped playing roller about 4 years ago but the 1 thing I learned very quickly is the most skilled roller hockey players hate to get hit or play physical. They are out there to show off and when somebody can shut them down early on and control the game they lose interest. Roller hockey is an individual sport where guys can show off their toe drags and big slap shots, the way to beat that is to play a team oriented style and eliminate the fancy BS that happens in the sport. Focus on the fundamentals such as faceoffs, positioning, puck possession and the game becomes very easy because most guys are clueless when it comes to fundamental hockey in roller. Make the game hard for the other team. When they leave the rink they have a bruise or 2, a sore hip, an aching shoulder, the next time they play you they'll remember who you are and go even further into their shells. Why? Because you made the game unfun.

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08-23-2009, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tikkanen View Post
Cycling the puck in roller hockey? No. The best system I played in was a re-group system similar to what the Oilers used in the 80's. You attack as a 4 man unit, if there is no play since there is no offsides you simply wheel back into your own zone and try another 4 man attack. Puck possession is key. The only thing I'd bring from ice hockey is physical play. I stopped playing roller about 4 years ago but the 1 thing I learned very quickly is the most skilled roller hockey players hate to get hit or play physical. They are out there to show off and when somebody can shut them down early on and control the game they lose interest. Roller hockey is an individual sport where guys can show off their toe drags and big slap shots, the way to beat that is to play a team oriented style and eliminate the fancy BS that happens in the sport. Focus on the fundamentals such as faceoffs, positioning, puck possession and the game becomes very easy because most guys are clueless when it comes to fundamental hockey in roller. Make the game hard for the other team. When they leave the rink they have a bruise or 2, a sore hip, an aching shoulder, the next time they play you they'll remember who you are and go even further into their shells. Why? Because you made the game unfun.
it depends on the competition

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08-24-2009, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin27NYI View Post
it depends on the competition
Agreed. There was a team like that in a league I play in that was just destroying everyone. The first time they played us it took them a period just to figure out what the hell to do when the other team didn't just pack it in.

Not that I think Tikkanen is wrong. I think he is right for different reasons than he is saying. Good hockey is good hockey, and soft players are soft players, no matter where you're playing.

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08-24-2009, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by I am The Mush View Post
Agreed. There was a team like that in a league I play in that was just destroying everyone. The first time they played us it took them a period just to figure out what the hell to do when the other team didn't just pack it in.

Not that I think Tikkanen is wrong. I think he is right for different reasons than he is saying. Good hockey is good hockey, and soft players are soft players, no matter where you're playing.
yeah i agree. in the league that i was talking about there is a lot of rough stuff but what we do still works. although year two we took a hit in the physical department becuase we lost two tougher players and got two pansies

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08-24-2009, 03:47 PM
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My team plays the same type of system Tikkanen is talking about. 4 man unit, move the puck and if there aren't many options just shoot the thing back and re-set the play. The easy thing to counter this would be to play man to man. This is where you test a team's patience and it will determine if you can stretch the rink or not.

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08-24-2009, 04:12 PM
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I add that sometimes roller players lack previous experience with coaching and instruction.

This isn't a knock as I've played both and love both but in my experience it takes longer to install new concepts and strategies in roller leagues than ice.

So keep on it and reinforce your ideas at every chance they'll pick it up eventually.

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08-27-2009, 09:40 AM
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This is a fantastic book that you can get for cheap and well worth it:

http://www.amazon.com/Roller-Hockey-.../dp/1570281181

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09-01-2009, 11:43 AM
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hi i'm philip from holland! i started playing last year i'm very interested but i need some drawings of the gameplays you all play because here in holland we don't have any! can you help me?

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09-01-2009, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tikkanen View Post
Cycling the puck in roller hockey? No. The best system I played in was a re-group system similar to what the Oilers used in the 80's. You attack as a 4 man unit, if there is no play since there is no offsides you simply wheel back into your own zone and try another 4 man attack. Puck possession is key. The only thing I'd bring from ice hockey is physical play. I stopped playing roller about 4 years ago but the 1 thing I learned very quickly is the most skilled roller hockey players hate to get hit or play physical. They are out there to show off and when somebody can shut them down early on and control the game they lose interest. Roller hockey is an individual sport where guys can show off their toe drags and big slap shots, the way to beat that is to play a team oriented style and eliminate the fancy BS that happens in the sport. Focus on the fundamentals such as faceoffs, positioning, puck possession and the game becomes very easy because most guys are clueless when it comes to fundamental hockey in roller. Make the game hard for the other team. When they leave the rink they have a bruise or 2, a sore hip, an aching shoulder, the next time they play you they'll remember who you are and go even further into their shells. Why? Because you made the game unfun.
I see cycling in roller all the time. It's not like every team has a Paul Coffey on their team.

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