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How to improve hockey sense?

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Old
04-30-2012, 12:23 PM
  #1
FlyingEagle
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How to improve hockey sense?

Guys please can you help me with improving thinking in hockey? I have had my first season and I have still bad hockey sense. I just don't catch passes properly don't know how to plan things and what to do with puck, what type of shoot should I choose etc.... Is there any ways to improve things like this ? It makes me one of worst players on the ice and I'm ready to do everything to be better.
Sorry my english, thank you for every response.

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04-30-2012, 12:27 PM
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Dustin Peener
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Pick a good player who plays your position, when you watch their team play, focus on that one player and watch everything they do. Hockey sense comes with experience but that's one of the best ways to improve without being on the ice in game situations.

Hope this helps

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04-30-2012, 12:31 PM
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FlyingEagle
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Thank you gaining experience like this is good idea. I'm surely going to try this

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04-30-2012, 01:39 PM
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Try to stickhandle head up, you'll be much calmer making decisions. Also look around you BEFORE you get the puck, so you know what you're going to do, before you get it. Gives you extra time to act.

Hockey sense comes with experience. When in doubt, pass backwards (tp trailing forwards or to the point, in most beer leagues the D stands there wide open).

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04-30-2012, 01:52 PM
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predfan24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by izzy3 View Post
Try to stickhandle head up, you'll be much calmer making decisions. Also look around you BEFORE you get the puck, so you know what you're going to do, before you get it. Gives you extra time to act.

Hockey sense comes with experience. When in doubt, pass backwards (tp trailing forwards or to the point, in most beer leagues the D stands there wide open).
Agreed on the experience part but not so sure about the pass backwards when in doubt part. Only pass backwards if you are SURE. That means picking your head up and making sure the man your passing too is open otherwise your creating a turnover while your team is all heading in the wrong direction. If in doubt keep the puck moving forward.

Watch good players you play with. Watch professional hockey and really keep an eye on positioning and breakouts. Read up on positioning and breakouts. Try to think the game one or two steps ahead of what is happening. Try to know your options with the puck before it even gets to you. Most beginners do not keep their head up. That is a huge issue. How are you going to know who is the right option if your head is buried into the ice?

As far as catching a pass cleanly that comes with practice. Remember to use soft hands not hard hands. Try to cradle the pass as it comes onto your stick.

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04-30-2012, 01:52 PM
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If you are sitting around with nothing to do, just daydream about all the different options you have in certain areas. Just picture yourself skating into the zone along the boards, and where each player is and try and think of ways you can get them the puck. Then re-imagine that scenarion but with a different play. If you can learn to see the game from different viewpoints, and understand the timing of it that will go a long way. Watching a game on TV can be difficult to really learn how everything works. Finding a way to combine the traits (head up, awareness, timing, etc.) that are essential to 'hockey sense', and visualizing the game is key. The unfortunate thing is that the best way to do this is by practicing and learning with a team, that has a smart coach. The single most important part of the 'hockey sense', is anticipation. If you can teach yourself to just imagine several different plays to make, from different areas of the ice, when you get in that position in a game you will be surprised at the quality of plays you can make.

There's a reason when people rave about Gretzky and Lidstrom being smarter than everyone else, they always say they are 2-3 steps ahead of everyone on the ice.

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04-30-2012, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by predfan24 View Post
Agreed on the experience part but not so sure about the pass backwards when in doubt part. Only pass backwards if you are SURE. That means picking your head up and making sure the man your passing too is open otherwise your creating a turnover while your team is all heading in the wrong direction. If in doubt keep the puck moving forward.

Watch good players you play with. Watch professional hockey and really keep an eye on positioning and breakouts. Read up on positioning and breakouts. Try to think the game one or two steps ahead of what is happening. Try to know your options with the puck before it even gets to you. Most beginners do not keep their head up. That is a huge issue. How are you going to know who is the right option if your head is buried into the ice?

As far as catching a pass cleanly that comes with practice. Remember to use soft hands not hard hands. Try to cradle the pass as it comes onto your stick.
I agree, but forcing the puck forward could be just as bad as passing it backward for a turnover. Something that I always tell people I play with that have trouble grasping the game, is to focus on their next move. One of the first things I tell them, is that most games are won in the zone five feet on either side of both blue lines. If they catch the pass on the half boards in the defensive zone, their only job is to get the puck out of the zone. The three options, skate it out, pass it to your center and out, or chip it off the glass and chase it down. If you catch the pass on a breakout in the neutral zone, and feel rushed, chipping it into the corner is never a bad idea. If people who were never taught the game just jump in after watching some NHL games, they will look like fools. You need to be able to simplify the game.

Pavel Datsyuk, for example, has the reputation of confusing other teams and being very fancy, but some of his nicest plays come from the simplest of moves. He is just so smooth that it looks so effortless. But he always gets the puck out of the zone, in the zone, and he can slow the game down for everyone and turn it into easy give-n-go plays. It's beautiful to watch when he's at his best, not because of how fancy he is, but how simple it is.

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04-30-2012, 02:33 PM
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Get a smart ball and stickhandle everyday, focus on being able to keep your head up. The more you are able to look around while you play, the entire sheet of ice opens up for you. A few peeks here and there while stickhandling can give you a great idea of what your next move is.

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04-30-2012, 03:32 PM
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FlyingEagle
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Thank you all for your responses and ideas. Everything just make sense and everyone here at this topic gave me really important features to learn. I must say looking into the ice is really my big issue and I didn't even realized that this is issue I was thinking that this is normal in hockey thanks again

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04-30-2012, 03:35 PM
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Have a radioactive hockey player bite you

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04-30-2012, 04:03 PM
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neksys
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The best piece of advice I ever received was that you almost ALWAYS have way more time than you think you do. I was always in a hurry to get rid of the puck - pass it off, dump it in, take a shot. Most of the time, though, you have at least a few seconds to take a good look around. Sure, there are times when you have a person right on you and you have to make a decision, but there are plenty of times where you have so much time and space that you can actually even come to a stop and wait for an opening.

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04-30-2012, 04:09 PM
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shawn1331
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This may be tough to hear but the players with really good hockey sense, are just born with it. I have exceptional hockey sense for my league/skill level which is about AA/AAA but I am a rather poor skater, I'm kind of small etc so I won't be going far in hockey lol. But one thing I was always good at was passing, stickhandling and shooting as well as positioning. I got good at positioning because my dad made a pizza box into a rink with some magic markers and scissors.

He made 2 colours of "players" out of cardboard and showed me almsot every possible situation before I started hockey and as I was beginning so I didn't develop bad habits yet. This may be the way to go for you as you are rather new and haven't developed bad habits yet, or hopefully nothing to serious. I was about 8-9 then.

I worked on my passing at the same time as my shooting. When I was 8-9 all I did was play road hockey all summer every day and as long as I could in the winter/fall. I would come home from school and all my buddies would have a big game at the culdasac and we played til dark. So imagine how many shots I took, I've taken probably somewhere close to 2 million shots including road hockey(which I still play at least 3 times a week), pond hockey, regular hockey, varsity highschool hockey, gym class floorball(kinda the same game but a little different) and ministicks etc. Just get as much shooting as you can and make sure you have a good shooter teach you the fundamentals. I'm 16 now and shooting about 77-80mph slapshots because I've put so much time into it.

This helped my passing because I got a good feel for the puck/ball and it helped my accuracy. If you can make good passes then your hockey sense will improve because you don't need near as much time to make a nice backhand saucer pass to your center for the breakaway.

Lastly, if you play with good players or players that think like you then you'll know exactly where they are on the ice and that pass becomes a lot easier to make. And maybe play non contact for awhile to make it easier.

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04-30-2012, 04:17 PM
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04-30-2012, 07:57 PM
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Steelhead16
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Best thing I can tell you is to play multiple positions. If you play wing, play dfense for a few games. Seeing the game from all positions will help as will your knowledge of what each position would like from the other positions. Playing defense you will know where you would like to see the forwards. Then when you are a forward and the defenseman has the puck you will know where your defenseman would like you to be.

One more thing. Most people spend at least half the game on the bench. Use that time wisely by watching what is going on. Try and anticipate the plays on the ice before they are made. Or if bad plays are made, what would have been the right play.

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04-30-2012, 08:40 PM
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hockeymass
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn1331 View Post
This may be tough to hear but the players with really good hockey sense, are just born with it. I have exceptional hockey sense for my league/skill level which is about AA/AAA but I am a rather poor skater, I'm kind of small etc so I won't be going far in hockey lol. But one thing I was always good at was passing, stickhandling and shooting as well as positioning. I got good at positioning because my dad made a pizza box into a rink with some magic markers and scissors.

He made 2 colours of "players" out of cardboard and showed me almsot every possible situation before I started hockey and as I was beginning so I didn't develop bad habits yet. This may be the way to go for you as you are rather new and haven't developed bad habits yet, or hopefully nothing to serious. I was about 8-9 then.

I worked on my passing at the same time as my shooting. When I was 8-9 all I did was play road hockey all summer every day and as long as I could in the winter/fall. I would come home from school and all my buddies would have a big game at the culdasac and we played til dark. So imagine how many shots I took, I've taken probably somewhere close to 2 million shots including road hockey(which I still play at least 3 times a week), pond hockey, regular hockey, varsity highschool hockey, gym class floorball(kinda the same game but a little different) and ministicks etc. Just get as much shooting as you can and make sure you have a good shooter teach you the fundamentals. I'm 16 now and shooting about 77-80mph slapshots because I've put so much time into it.

This helped my passing because I got a good feel for the puck/ball and it helped my accuracy. If you can make good passes then your hockey sense will improve because you don't need near as much time to make a nice backhand saucer pass to your center for the breakaway.

Lastly, if you play with good players or players that think like you then you'll know exactly where they are on the ice and that pass becomes a lot easier to make. And maybe play non contact for awhile to make it easier.
Nobody is born with good hockey sense.

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04-30-2012, 09:29 PM
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Learning some plays and strategies will help a lot. Being able to watch a hockey game and predict where the puck is going next, when the puck carrier has the defender beat vs when the defender is going to stuff him, and when/where the open man should and will move will make you a much smarter hockey player. This, of course, comes with experience. I'd recommend learning different strategies and formations (IE 1-4 trap, 1-2-2 forecheck, 2-1-2 aggressive forecheck, powerplay formations, etc etc) and trying to see when and how they're being used in hockey games.

Also, if you have the luxury of being able to watch a high level of live hockey, try to get a higher seat for a full view of the ice and focus on one player every time he's on and off the ice. I learned a lot by watching some of the stay-at-home defenders from the Toronto Marlies a few years back.

If you *really* have the luxury, have someone film your games. Watch them afterwards and try to identify every play you made. Did you make the best decision? How did your decision based on the information you had at ice level differ from the decision you think you should have made now that you have a bird's eye view of the ice. Why was that difference made? Eventually you'll start finding patterns in things you're missing and will be able to address them. We had a guy film a few of our pick up games and I realized that one of my linemates liked to set up below the goal line when I was on the boards. I never identified his position and as such missed out on some potential cycle opportunities by not passing to him. It wasn't until I saw this on camera that I was able to adjust.


I've also learned three things through experience that really helped me improve my game:
1. Speed is best measured in puck movement speed rather than pure skating speed... meaning don't skate so fast that you can barely control the puck or react in time (basically don't be Janik Hansen out there) but on the same hand make crisp, hard passes once you've identified a passing option. The puck moves faster than anyone can skate.

2. You have more time than you think. Don't be afraid of the puck... take your time to take a peek around and make a decision as to what to do with the puck, even if it's just chipping it off the glass and down the ice. New players lacking confidence get caught in this trap and wind up making bad plays or coughing up the puck because they're afraid of the puck.

3. Generating offense is more about creating time and space than it is about forcing the puck to the net. You don't always have to shoot off the rush, force the cross-slot pass, or try and drive to the net like a power forward. A simple drop pass to the point or coming to a stop near the top of the faceoff circle as the first man in then passing to one of your forwards streaking down to support you can lead to much better scoring chances.


Last edited by noobman: 04-30-2012 at 09:36 PM.
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Old
05-01-2012, 01:05 AM
  #17
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Watch as much hockey as you can. Youtube hockey strategy on breakouts, special teams, and attacking the zone.

Pay attention to defenseman, they're the smarter players because it helps when you have the game in front of you and they have alot of impact on the flow of the game.

Just keep it simple. Anytime you watch a team dump and chase, pay attention to where the wings and centers position themselves to attack in hopes of forcing a turnover.

On the next dump n chase, watch where the defending team positions themselves for an attempt at a successful breakout.

Same with neutral zone regroups. Watch how the D partner is slightly off parallel for support before getting the pass. Then watch how the forwards are cycling thru to give the D options.

A lot of the game is about speed, cycling and turnovers. The more you focus on solid positioning, the easier the game will become.

There's a quote about Gretzky saying he never played where the puck was, just where it was going to next. Something like that. Good luck!

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05-01-2012, 01:25 AM
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Wilch
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You can have the best hockey sense in the world and still suck if you don't work on your skating and stick skills. The hockey sense comes with experience, that you really can't work on.

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05-01-2012, 04:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelhead16 View Post
Best thing I can tell you is to play multiple positions. If you play wing, play dfense for a few games. Seeing the game from all positions will help as will your knowledge of what each position would like from the other positions. Playing defense you will know where you would like to see the forwards. Then when you are a forward and the defenseman has the puck you will know where your defenseman would like you to be.

One more thing. Most people spend at least half the game on the bench. Use that time wisely by watching what is going on. Try and anticipate the plays on the ice before they are made. Or if bad plays are made, what would have been the right play.
On a serious note, do this. If you play the other positions, you will have a better understanding of what everyone else does.

I started off as a skater, but I was terrible. I tried goalie and loved it, it's my natural position. However, I still play out from time to time because it's so much fun. As a goalie, I have an advantage over other goalies because I have an understanding of what the skaters do. As a skater, I know what a goalie may or may not do depending on the situation.

My physical abilities (skating and stickhandling) aren't as great as I'd like them to be, but when I'm skating out I know where to be and what's coming next. The physical stuff is easy to learn if you have the time to practice...but the "hockey sense" you have to learn by playing and if you play a lot and at different positions, it'll come to you quicker.

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05-01-2012, 05:20 AM
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Wilch
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On a serious note, do this. If you play the other positions, you will have a better understanding of what everyone else does.

I started off as a skater, but I was terrible. I tried goalie and loved it, it's my natural position. However, I still play out from time to time because it's so much fun. As a goalie, I have an advantage over other goalies because I have an understanding of what the skaters do. As a skater, I know what a goalie may or may not do depending on the situation.

My physical abilities (skating and stickhandling) aren't as great as I'd like them to be, but when I'm skating out I know where to be and what's coming next. The physical stuff is easy to learn if you have the time to practice...but the "hockey sense" you have to learn by playing and if you play a lot and at different positions, it'll come to you quicker.
Yep. I alternate playing D/forward as well. It really helps predicting what the opposing players may do.

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05-01-2012, 07:53 PM
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shawn1331
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Originally Posted by hockeymass View Post
Nobody is born with good hockey sense.
You got that right. Bobby Orr and Wade Belak had the exact same amount of hockey sense at birth. Cause he had no natural athletic ability or sense of the game.

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05-01-2012, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by shawn1331 View Post
You got that right. Bobby Orr and Wade Belak had the exact same amount of hockey sense at birth. Cause he had no natural athletic ability or sense of the game.
I'm sorry but I have to disagree with you as well here. It seems kind of silly to think someone is born with hockey sense. Someone's brain is just already disposed with superior hockey sense when they are born even though as a baby they have no idea what the heck hockey is?

Hockey sense is about studying the game and applying it in real life situations. Maybe people who are born with superior hockey sense are just naturally better at assessing situations and making the correct decision faster than other people are.

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05-01-2012, 11:44 PM
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I would say that's true, but only in the specific context of hockey. One could have good hockey sense but make really stupid evaulations and decisions in the real world. "Hockey sense" is a part of the same athletic intelligence that quarterbacks like Peyton Manning have where they can predict and pick apart defenses.

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05-02-2012, 05:34 AM
  #24
Lonny Bohonos
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Some people are naturals in that they are born with something that allows them to understand the game easier.

Some people never get it. Most fall somewhere in between.

Spacial awareness is a huge factor.

One thing you can do us pick up some books on hockey systems. Not drills but systems and set plays.

Ryan Walter has a good one and so does Mike A. Smith. Just go to amazon and look them up.

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05-02-2012, 05:50 AM
  #25
Gino 14
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Originally Posted by AmazedRink View Post
Get a smart ball and stickhandle everyday, focus on being able to keep your head up. The more you are able to look around while you play, the entire sheet of ice opens up for you. A few peeks here and there while stickhandling can give you a great idea of what your next move is.
About the only advice worth listening to in the thread. If you don't have some skills you'll never develope hockey sense. If you can't get your head up while handling the puck you'll never be able to see the ice and never will get a feel for what's going on. Anyone that believes you get hockey sense from watching others play is

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