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Coaching basics? Builidng forward lines

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08-30-2010, 11:27 AM
  #1
BigFatCat999
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Coaching basics? Builidng forward lines

What is the best way to build a forward line for a game? Do you base it on chemistry or the opposing line's shift?

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08-30-2010, 11:41 AM
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AIREAYE
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Im no coach, but you'd think both right? I always like a goal-scorer, playmaker/passer and a defensive forward to cover their *****. But obviously, you won't send your weakest line against their strongest

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08-30-2010, 11:54 AM
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Jarick
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Are you asking for coaching youth, beer league, or competitive hockey?

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08-30-2010, 12:01 PM
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BigFatCat999
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Are you asking for coaching youth, beer league, or competitive hockey?
Self knowledge, Trying to figure out depth charts for teams. I see so many combination I could throw out there. An all defensive forward corp. A balanced corp. I'm just an amateur when it comes to hockey. My knowledge of hockey basics comes from youtube videos of pirated Canadian coaching videos, my power skating classes (Which I have to admit is a lot easier than I thought it would be, and watching games.

I'm just trying to build a deeper knowledge of hockey and I can't seem to find anything that talks about building your lines. Building a roster yes, but not building lines.

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08-30-2010, 12:10 PM
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Jarick
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Well the approach is different for each level of hockey.

For youth, I go with the Lou Nanne approach, which is that every kid should get equal ice time and rotate through positions. Get him exposure to everything. When you're young, you play the game to have fun and improve, not to win. Lines are constantly shifted around, let everyone play with the best players from time to time.


For competitive hockey, typically the coach will put together complimentary lines based on skill level and speed. That's when you get the specialized scoring, checking, energy lines and line matching. And that's high level stuff that takes many years of experience and knowledge.

For beer league, everyone gets equal ice time, there's no matching lines or defensive guys. Roll through the lines, even during PP and PK. Typically what I like to see is the three strongest skaters playing center and pairing a stronger and weaker player on each wing. There is some finagling to make sure people aren't complaining and that they get along, but usually your best players will score no matter what.

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08-30-2010, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Well the approach is different for each level of hockey.

For youth, I go with the Lou Nanne approach, which is that every kid should get equal ice time and rotate through positions. Get him exposure to everything. When you're young, you play the game to have fun and improve, not to win. Lines are constantly shifted around, let everyone play with the best players from time to time.


For competitive hockey, typically the coach will put together complimentary lines based on skill level and speed. That's when you get the specialized scoring, checking, energy lines and line matching. And that's high level stuff that takes many years of experience and knowledge.

For beer league, everyone gets equal ice time, there's no matching lines or defensive guys. Roll through the lines, even during PP and PK. Typically what I like to see is the three strongest skaters playing center and pairing a stronger and weaker player on each wing. There is some finagling to make sure people aren't complaining and that they get along, but usually your best players will score no matter what.
Thank you! For me, I more interested in competitive

Youth approach gives the coaches and the players a chance to learn what skills they have at each role in hockey and which skills they need to work on so they know what their skills are for competitive leagues.

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08-30-2010, 01:29 PM
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I will say this - that, as hockey has evolved, the traditional notions of what defines a LW, RW, or C have eroded.

Especially when you're talking about forechecking, a lot of coaches don't use positions on their diagrams anymore. Instead, they'll denote the responsibilities of the first forward into the zone, second, and so on. Better yet, think about cycling, where players are constantly filling in the position that another player just left. Players don't skate in lanes the way they did years ago, and so forwards' responsibilities have evolved. And to the OP's question, I think this has probably changed the way pro coaches build lines, to an extent.

Line matching certainly matters more now than it did 30-40 years ago, and the average shift is shorter.

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08-30-2010, 01:35 PM
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So, that brings a new question, do you build lines with a mindset for offensive balance or defensive ability, or for a balance of both?

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08-30-2010, 01:45 PM
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tarheelhockey
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When in doubt, I just let the computer set the lines.

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08-30-2010, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
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When in doubt, I just let the computer set the lines.
LOL!

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08-30-2010, 02:08 PM
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HFNHL Commish
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I think chemistry matters above all else. However, it's a lot easier to find chemistry in pairs than it is across a whole line, and I think this is where a lot of coaches start their process - find two guys who play well off each other, and find someone to play with them that complements their game.

In my opinion, your average player is a more complete player (for better or worse) these days because he's had defensive hockey drilled into him from a young age. So I don't think the issue with line balance is quite so often one of offensive vs. defensive balance as it is having lines complete with guys that will take a hit to make a play, be strong on the boards, etc.

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08-30-2010, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HFNHL Commish View Post
In my opinion, your average player is a more complete player (for better or worse) these days because he's had defensive hockey drilled into him from a young age. So I don't think the issue with line balance is quite so often one of offensive vs. defensive balance as it is having lines complete with guys that will take a hit to make a play, be strong on the boards, etc.
Heh, see: Predators, Nashville.

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09-04-2010, 10:50 PM
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Well the way I look at it is too go at it one line at a time.
Line 1: Put maybe two of your best players on this line with the fourth best guy (Manily offencive line but atleast one of them should be able to handle themselves in their own end)
Line 2: Put the top three skater your kept off the first line with the next strongest players, to give you a kinda 1B offensive line. (Get some secondary scoring going if the top line does not produce.)
Line3: This is a combo of speed and grit for this line. They need to be able to land a few good hits and really get the oppent riled up.
Line 4: Defense and grit are the best skills for these guys, play them against the other skill line to just make their time on the rink a living hell.

So using those basic line formats you can pick which line should go out against the other teams lines, if the chemistry is not there then you can mix up the first and second line fairly easily. Past this point it is making sure you choose the right guys in the try outs, get 7 high skill players and 7 bottom line guys to give yourself good flexibility as far as chemistry goes.

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09-08-2010, 12:59 AM
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Trojan35
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If you've got a wide variety of skill on a beer league team, I say match speed. Guys with similar speeds will work better together and be better positioned on breakouts and entries. The range of player speed in beer league is so much wider than the NHL that it needs to be one of the top factors in setting forward lines.

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