Hockey Basics Strategy for parents

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Hockey Terminology &
Strategy Basics for Parents
Face-offs
It most cases we are trying to “win” the draw backward to our team. We want to
control where the puck goes next.
Break Out
In our defensive zone, we will run a play designed to move the puck out into the
neutral zone. This play has several options or decisions each player makes. All the
others must respond correctly to the decisions, an or interruptions, that occur.
- a “strong side” break out indicates the defending team attempts to move the puck up
the side with the most players on it, typically the side the puck entered the zone from.
- a “weak side” break out refers to moving the puck quickly to the side with the least
players on it, or typically the opposite side the puck entered on.
As players get older they learn additional options, and also will be instructed as to
team strategy preferences for choosing options.
Choosing Players to play together
A “line” is usually considered the 3 forwards. Sometimes a team my play in groups of
5, however most often as a forward line of 3, and a defensive “pair” of 2. As each
player has different skills, selection of players is extremely important, and can
dramatically effect overall performance. Line make up must also be matched to the
particular competition.
Line Matching
Deciding which players play against each other is left up to the “home” coach as they
get the last player change option before every face-off.
Offensive zone play, the “attack”
After gaining control and moving toward the offensive zone, players are taught a
variety of plays to choose from, based on the situation they “read” as they approach
the zone. Each “read” has a fundamental play associated with it – that again has
several options depending on how the defense and teammates react. Here are some
common situations and the basic strategy plays associated…
“Read”
O Player(s)
D player(s)
1:0 “Breakaway”
Accelerate to the net and shoot
Only the goalie, defend the shot,
control the rebound
1:1
Attack with speed, and get by to
make a shot on goal. O player may
opt to delay slightly to gain a
teammate creating a 2:1 situation
Must maintain position between O
player and goalie, attempt to slow
down the play, and drive to O
player wide to a poor shooting
angle. In Bantam/Midget this is a
100% checking situation
2:1
Maintain speed, attempt to draw
the defender to you and make a
pass to teammate for a good shot,
or fake the pass and shoot
Position between the 2 attacking
players, defend the pass between
them, drive shooter to poor angle
3:1
Utilize multiple passes to
teammates to move near the goal
and find the open player for a shot,
other converge on goal for rebound
Attempt to slow the play to gain
help, defend the passing lanes from
the middle , and challenge the most
dangerous shooter
3:2
Enter the attack zone wide with
control, second forward accelerates
to the far goal post side, third
player moves to middle high area,
pass it to either the low post or
high slot players
Attempt to slow the play to gain
help, defend the passing lanes from
the middle , and challenge the most
dangerous shooter
Defensive zone play
Is usually a “zone” type defense where the wings are higher in the zone covering the
opposing teams defenseman, and the center is in the middle area, and the
defenseman are one in front of the net and one chasing the puck in the corner. As
soon as we gain possession of the puck the players must move quickly to the “break
out” positions.
Swedish Torpedo
This is a strategy where one or two forwards never return to the defensive zone. It
forces the other team to decide to cover these players with either one or 2
defenseman. If they choose one, then we have a 2:1 advantage on the attack,
however we are at a 4:3 disadvantage in our defensive zone. This is still considered an
advantage in most cases as the single defensive man cannot cover keeping the puck in
the zone. If they cover with two defensemen then the zones are balanced however
the better skating/passing team will have the advantage of lots of open ice.
Forecheck
When the other team gains possession anywhere on the ice (in particular in our
offensive zone) we may choose to attack this player with 1, 2 or 3 forwards in some
strategic fashion, or choose to drop back into a more defensive formation (sometimes
called a “trap”.
2-3 + Pinch
This is the primary “forecheck & attack” strategy used by the Sq B team this year. It
involves 2 forwards (in our case it is designated the wings) are ALWAYS going hard to
the puck carrier no matter where they are. (LW/RW does not matter!) The center is
staying back in the middle and reading the puck carrier to intercept a pass, or if the
wings are successful on the forecheck, he is in a good scoring position.
This formation in the offensive zone also allows for the defensemen to be able to be
more aggressive attacking the puck deeper on the boards (the “pinch”), and the
center will rotate back an over to take a defensive position.
Powerplay (PP)
When the other team has a penalty, we have a man advantage. Teams may employ a
specific breakout formation and offensive zone strtaegy/formation to best take
advantage.
Penality Kill (PK)
When we have a penalty, we are down a man, and will also employ a specific
forecheck strategy – usually a 1 man light forecheck, and use the other 3 to form a
wedge to force the attacking team wide. Once in our defensive zone a “box”
formation is used to try to keep the puck out of prime scoring areas.
Checking/Body contact
At Bantams/Midgets this becomes a huge part of the game – NHL All Star games
scoring.
At Mites/Sq/PW a checking penalty is defined as a body contact directed toward a
player rather than the puck.
Conclusions
• Parents should not “coach”, as you just don’t know the strategy being employed in
any particular game or time
• Hockey is the fastest moving, highest complexity sport in the world, and the most
FUN!
• Passing the puck moves you 3-5X faster than skating the puck
• Creativity & Teamwork is a priority !

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