Any suggestions for playing the off wing? I'm a left hand shot, who usually gets slotted in the right wing position. I'm one of the least skilled players on our team, so I just sort of take the open spot. The past few games though I've been getting chances, only to have great opportunities die on my stick because it always seems to be in the wrong position.
I'm either trying to catch the pass on my backhand, and then quickly shoot on the backhand which isn't resulting in much of a shot, or fumbling as I try and go backhand forehand. I've also had a hard time as I always seem to be facing the passer, and just getting myself turned properly to receive the pass, and get off a shot in time.
Have been thinking about trying to turn my back more to the goal, so that I would receive the pass on my forehand. It would be a more awkward of a shot, as I'd have to essentially shoot behind me.
As a right hand shot, I love playing left wing. I always thought it was easier to receive the pass than have to wait for it to cross your body.
I think you need to be anticipating the pass more. Get in a position where you're ready to fire, not having to retrieve the puck on the backhand.
Still, you won't get that perfect pass every time in a game situation. Find someone to give you passes on your backhand. Work on receiving and controlling them first, then on transitioning to forehand, then on taking backhand shots.
I personally also love playing the off wing, I feel it gives you much better options when carrying the puck in the offensive zone.
My backhand shots are terrible too, I personally just never go for them unless it's to bang in a loose puck in the slot. Frankly, if you know your backhand (almost) always results in a weak shot, don't even bother. You'd be better off taking an extra second to set up a forehand than throwing it on a backhand real quick and not really getting anything out of it be it a pass or a shot.
How much time do you have during your warm ups? If you have a lot of time, I advise getting out there as early as possible. Work on switching from backhand to forehand and when you have teammates on the ice, ask them to help you practice with receiving passes. Maybe find a stick and puck time available nearby for you to have time to just practice?
When I was in college, they had stick and puck time free for anybody with a student ID (and I think just $5 for anybody who didn't) for 2 hours in the middle of the day everyday. There was almost nobody ever there and you certainly had more than enough ice to practice whatever you wanted. I know doing that for a few months improved my game a lot.
When you get that backhand pass you can stride to it and then drag it across the goalie as well.
What I mean is instead of stopping it and then going back to the forehand on a near post shot you can stride into the pass, get the goalie moving towards you and drag your backhand to forehand as you skate across the middle and shoot far post.
I enjoy playing the off wing as well... I find the shooting angles work better for me, but I can understand your point about receiving passes on the backhand. I would definitely keep practicing during warmups, etc.
Maybe try skating ahead of the other player while waiting for the pass, turn to your front side and wait for the one timer? Or receive the pass, slow it down and pull behind the net... try for a wrap around or set up a pass?
I play the off wing as well. If you can cut to the middle goalies at the lower levels have a really hard time going side to side, so you usually open up some pretty enormous holes just by making the goalie slide across.
Also, I've spent the last 2+ years working to get some lift on my backhand. Don't ignore your backhand! It's one of the easier shots to learn since you don't have to get a lot of zip on it, it's just a matter of learning to get it up. It's deadly on breakaways since the goalies are used to 95% of the skaters at my level shooting forehand.
Good advice here.. also learn how to open up to a pass so you can receive the puck and shoot it in one motion. What I'm talking about is rotating your hips so that you're facing the passer and then you can either one-time the puck or catch it and get a strong wrister off. This works real well for those cross-slot passes when you're on your off-wing.
I prefer playing on the right side nowadays (I'm a lefty) just because of all of the possibilities it opens up as far as shooting angles and also skating angles go. I feel like cutting to the middle is easier, shooting far-side is WAY easier, and you can actually get a good one-timer off.
When I first started playing I assumed that right-handed player = right wing. But over time I've realized this is not the case.
I'm a righty, but prefer to play on the left wing. It's so much easier to make plays as you carry the puck over the blue line. I like to rush the D as fast as I can which causes them to open the gap a little. Then I can either stop/slow up and look for trailing team mates or I can use that momentum to cut to the center with the puck in perfect shooting position.
If it's the center or the R wing bringing it over the blue line, then skate hard to the net and pivot to a backwards skating position as you get to an open passing lane. You can shoot/deflect with your forehand and you'll have a greater reach radius than if you had been skating forwards.
When I used to play, I played off wing as well, left shot, right wing. I got REALLY good at picking the top right corner of the net (blocker side for most goalies), to the point where I could pick it most of the time from just over the blue line. So it became one of our more frequent plays where I'd bring the puck into their zone, and the center would crash the net for possible rebounds, and I'd rip off a shot. I practised non stop for a long time to make sure I could hit that spot on the net. And then if the goalie got overzealous and tried to move to the side too early, I could easily pick the side close to me.
Best thing is to practise man. Practise entering the zone and passing, both giving and recieving, so that you get better at taking the pass, but also entering the zone and shooting a pass off yourself. And just practise entering the zone and ripping that blocker side wrist shot. It really does help if you can get it down well. Try practising it from closer in, and once you really start to get it, practise taking it from farther out, and make sure you're always moving while you take the shot so you're used to it. So many possibilities open up if you can perfect that shot.
If you have some speed you can play defnceman and jump up into the play in the offensive zone. (Your speed will be needed to get back into defensive position if the play starts to turn around). Thats usually my role.
However never jump ahead of your wingers if they are not aware enough to cover you position. And I usually never go deeper than the top of the circles unless I have a line changing behind me.
Well, as a winger, no matter if you play left or right, you should always enter the attacking zone on your off wing. Why? Check out this picture bellow.
Here you will see that the right winger has overloaded the zone on the far side. By overloading the zone to the far side, he skates between the two defenseman, forcing them to jump off the line which will allow for a smoother breakout.
In this picture below you will see a green area within the attacking zone. This area is known as the shooting zone.
If you release the puck within this green area, you have a better chance at scoring the goal than shooting in the white zones (within the attacking zone) which are low scoring percentage areas.
Notice that the right winger enters the attacking zone on his off wing. The near winger (LW) must rush the net. Once the Right winger enters the zone, he should turn sharply along the blueline as should below.
Here you will see that the right winger has moved along the blueline. By turning, he is now protecting the puck from the defenseman. Which means his body is in the middle between the puck and the defenseman.
Rule 462: Player without the puck goes behind!
Once the puck carrier turns, the trailing winger (C), skates behind the (RW) and rushes the net. This will force the defenseman to take notice and the odds are really good that the defenseman will take the winger going to the net.
Thus, allowing the RW to turn and move into the slot. Remember, the reason for coming in on the offing is for puck protection. Plus, it places your shot on the forehand...not the back hand. Plus, it keep your shot within the shooting zone (Green area).