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When should I go D

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06-26-2014, 10:13 AM
  #1
BrummieRed
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When should I go D

I'm an older (50) noob playing hockey who joined a pretty casual rec team about 3 months ago. So, straight off and I played and learnt about the LW role (I shoot left).

Wing is the place for the less good skater, so the wisdom goes. But I'm no natural goal scorer and all my life in soccer I've played defence, so I went against my instincts, but also accepting the common wisdom that D men need to be the best skaters on the ice (which I'm not by any means - solid but not massively agile/flashy and my b'wards skating is nowhere near as fast as my forwards) and tried to make LW my spot.

But I'm not a natural forward in mentality. I'm a big guy and have always thrived on making a nuisance of myself defensively in team sports. And I've played D role in the LTP sessions that I do and been pretty successful lately.

So, when should I switch and give D a good go?

And does anyone have any tips to make a guy like me as good a D as can be?

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06-26-2014, 11:33 AM
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JoeCool16
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I play D very occasionally when I'm playing pickup against guys nowhere near as good as me (which isn't very often), but my backwards skating isn't great.

If you can cross over both ways backwards in a game situation, with someone bearing down on you, you'll be fine. If you can't do that then you don't have the tools to play defense yet and you should practice those backwards crossovers.

Once you can do that, just try to read the plays really well and know your partner's capabilities. If he seems a bit weaker, don't pinch as much. If he's strong, then have some fun in the offensive zone/on the transition.

Finally, know where you're supposed to be in the offensive zone. If you're on the off-hand (like left-hand shot playing RD) you'll have a bit of a harder time keeping it in on the boards, so remember that. Be in the right spot and maybe watch some videos to learn where that is to contain better. Don't just sit next to the boards, move as the puck moves. Know when the play is breaking down so you can start to get back.

Slow guys can be fine defensemen, they just need to be smart and play positionally all over the ice. Have a good stick, force the attackers to the outside, communicate with your partner... you'll be fine. Just make sure you can do those backwards crossovers!

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06-26-2014, 12:20 PM
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I have played D almost my entire hockey career (10 months . I didn't follow conventional wisdom that said I shouldn't play D as a beginner, and luckily had teams that were cool with that (heck most of the time nobody wants to play D anyway). I focus on improving my backwards skating all the time, and while I am getting better at backwards crossovers, I still can't do them at game speed (I have to think to much about the mechanics still). I do however focus on being my best positionally, and always give it everything I've got, and it seems to be working. I guess what I'm saying is, don't feel like you have to hold back forever. It sounds like you've got a head for Defence, and could probably do quite well there, even without backwards crossovers.

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06-26-2014, 04:08 PM
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As soon as you can. Work on the backwards skating whenever you can and you'll be golden.

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06-26-2014, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntsSheffield View Post
I'm an older (50) noob playing hockey who joined a pretty casual rec team about 3 months ago. So, straight off and I played and learnt about the LW role (I shoot left).

Wing is the place for the less good skater, so the wisdom goes. But I'm no natural goal scorer and all my life in soccer I've played defence, so I went against my instincts, but also accepting the common wisdom that D men need to be the best skaters on the ice (which I'm not by any means - solid but not massively agile/flashy and my b'wards skating is nowhere near as fast as my forwards) and tried to make LW my spot.

But I'm not a natural forward in mentality. I'm a big guy and have always thrived on making a nuisance of myself defensively in team sports. And I've played D role in the LTP sessions that I do and been pretty successful lately.

So, when should I switch and give D a good go?

And does anyone have any tips to make a guy like me as good a D as can be?
Give it a go. It's about having fun and if you will have more fun on D learn D.

But be a "nuisance" by being in proper position and lifting sticks. There is no place for pests or enforcers in beer league hockey.

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06-26-2014, 06:12 PM
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Canadiens1958
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Vision and On Ice Geometry

Quote:
Originally Posted by AntsSheffield View Post
I'm an older (50) noob playing hockey who joined a pretty casual rec team about 3 months ago. So, straight off and I played and learnt about the LW role (I shoot left).

Wing is the place for the less good skater, so the wisdom goes. But I'm no natural goal scorer and all my life in soccer I've played defence, so I went against my instincts, but also accepting the common wisdom that D men need to be the best skaters on the ice (which I'm not by any means - solid but not massively agile/flashy and my b'wards skating is nowhere near as fast as my forwards) and tried to make LW my spot.

But I'm not a natural forward in mentality. I'm a big guy and have always thrived on making a nuisance of myself defensively in team sports. And I've played D role in the LTP sessions that I do and been pretty successful lately.

So, when should I switch and give D a good go?

And does anyone have any tips to make a guy like me as good a D as can be?
When you are comfortable with your on ice vision and geometry. Veteran defensemen at all levels contribute if these two factors are strong or better than younger players.

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Old
06-30-2014, 02:10 PM
  #7
Hyzer
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I forced to play D even when I first started out. You should be able to at least skate backwards at a good speed otherwise many faster forwards would just blow by you. You don't have to skate faster than them, just enough that they can't pass you before they reach the faceoff dots.

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07-02-2014, 09:34 AM
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Jarick
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Assuming you're playing a friendly rec league or pickup, start whenever you can. It's great to learn all skating positions.

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07-02-2014, 10:00 AM
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BrummieRed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Assuming you're playing a friendly rec league or pickup, start whenever you can. It's great to learn all skating positions.
Thought I'd do a decent stint (a few months) at LW before shifting to D. Wanna get my backward skating better before that too

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07-02-2014, 10:31 AM
  #10
Canadiens1958
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Excellent Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Assuming you're playing a friendly rec league or pickup, start whenever you can. It's great to learn all skating positions.
In the fifities(yes they had ice back then) when I was starting hockey, at the Intro level the youngsters would rotate thru the five skater positions and would be encouraged to try goaltending as well.

The key advantage is that the skater at the intro level, not only learns about each position but also learns about how the players he faces are taught and how they play.

Example, playing goalie a bit is great for forwards since they get to experience how a goalie thinks when playing. Etc.

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Old
07-03-2014, 09:21 AM
  #11
howeaboutthat
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I've recently switched to playing d (from the right wing) after my coach asked me to give it a go.

I'm not a great skater by any measure so I questioned his thinking about asking me to move. His response is that my positional awareness makes up for my lack of skating ability and that, for a d-man, being in the right place at the right time is the key concern.

Maybe its down to me and my line partner or maybe its because the forwards are playing more defensively with a noob d-man behind them, but in the four games I've played since switching to d we've only conceded one goal whilst I've been on the ice.

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