Improving Your 1 on 1 Defense in Hockey

It’s been said that the best defense is a good offense.  That is true, but what if you don’t have the offensive power to regularly put up 5-6 goals a game?  You better be rock solid on defense, hoping to win 2-1 or 3-2 games.   There are all kinds of hockey defense drills coaches do in practices.  I want to give you some hockey defense tips that you can easily apply to your next on ice practice of game.

The most important defensive concept happens when you don’t have the puck.   Once that happens, you now switch over to defensive coverage.  Every player has an assignment and opposition player to cover.   Who ever your player is, make sure you’re in between the player you’re covering and your net.  It doesn’t matter where this is on the ice. 

The next defensive tip I can give you is to have your head on a swivel.  You have to constantly be looking over your shoulder, both sides, to assess where players are around you.  If they have the puck, you’re making sure your defensive mark isn’t sneaking in behind you.  You also need to see how much time you have or where your next pass will be if you get the puck because of a quick possession change.

The following suggestion is so effective, but very few players maximize its use. What I’m referring to is having an active stick.  You should always have your stick blade on the puck when defending.  This disrupts the puck carrier and forces the player to make quicker decisions and/or perfect passes.  When you’re not the one containing the puck carrier, make sure you have your stick down and in passing lanes he or she may use.

The above tips don’t require crazy skills to execute, just some anticipation and effort.  This last suggestion falls in the same category.  I’m talking about communication.  There’s one way you can make the game so much easier, be your teammates eyes when they can’t see.  If a line mate is battling in the corner, let them know what they can do with the puck, eat it, over or right up are some universal commands on the ice.  This however requires a team that trusts one another.

If you come away with one thing by reading this post, let it be this.  No matter where you are on the rink, if your team doesn’t have the puck, know what your defensive coverage is and identify what player you are responsible for.  Make them skate through you, pass through your or shoot through you in order to get to the net.  If you do this consistently, you will be very difficult to play against.

Thanks for stopping by and remember to Work Hard and Dream Bigger than Everyone Else!! 


Coach Pitlick

December 29, 2017 — Jason S

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