The fast-paced game of hockey requires split-second decision making hundreds of times during a game. Maintaining possession of the puck under pressure is essential to a team’s success or struggles.
If you look at most youth hockey practices, there’s a heavy focus on hockey skating drills, but in order to acquire elite-level stick skills, coaches should also have players working on hockey stickhandling drills consistently.
Once players have a solid foundation of controlling the puck around the body, it’s time to introduce the art of deception. There are all kinds of hockey deke moves used in today’s fast-paced game. Just watch the NHL Network on any given night and you’ll see some unbelievable hockey plays.
Here are four quick tips on how to deke in hockey...
A deke is a feint or a fake technique to draw an opposing player out of position. For example, if you have the right side open, you want to make the defender believe you are going to the left. You do this by positioning the puck in line with your right foot. As you get close, fake the puck over in line with your left foot. If you’ve sold the deke, you’ll see your opponent’s skates turn in the wrong direction.
Prior to getting close to a defender, you need to think ahead on how you are going to fool the player. The set-up is when you position the puck prior to the deke or move.
After the deke, it’s critical to have a strong lateral separation to keep the puck out of the defender’s stick zone. You want to make sure that the defense can’t poke-check the puck off your stick.
This is probably the most important tip I can give you. Players often pull off the deke move and have good separation, but the defender recovers and stops the play. Why? Because the player didn’t accelerate away from the opposition. Once the deke move is made and you separate laterally, you then need to accelerate quickly around the defense to get the inside position. If you do this correctly, you should be between the defender and the goalie. If you can get inside position, you’re going to create a lot of great scoring opportunities.
Best of luck and remember to always Work Hard and Dream Bigger than Everyone Else!!