The idea of defending is always to prevent the opposing team from scoring. If the other team cannot score then there is no way they are going to beat us, they say. In such a low scoring sport, stopping the other team from scoring will definitely give you a huge advantage. These best hockey defense tips will apply to anyone who plays for the true meaning of the position. The purpose of defense is to stop anything from getting closer to the net than is required. The defense also contributes to the general play by setting up and assisting the forward players.
Best Hockey Defense Tips For Setting Up And Executing a Functional Defense
Know your Goalie
A good defender is one who understands the weaknesses and strengths of his/her goalie. In this way, they are able to make moves that complement the goalies abilities. Communication with the goalie is also vital to the success of a defense. The goalie watches the proceedings of the game for most of the time without being involved. He/she can thus offer advice on what to move to make to either get past the opponent to break an incoming attack. Some of the time, the goalie will be yelling at his defense in order to keep them a step ahead.
Know your partner
Just like with the goalie, you need to know and understand your defensive partner or partners. Sometimes you may get a lesser gifted and other times you may get one who is better. Learning to complement one another is vital to defensive coherence.
The best defensive partnerships always rely on the partners backing each other up. This ensures that each player has his work cut out and when a partner blunders, the other easily covers up.
Hockey Defensive Tips For Marking
There are three basic marking techniques. The first is zone marking. Here the players cover a specific area of the field and any opposing players who enter that zone. The second is man-to-man marking. In this case, each player chooses an opponent to mark. He/she will remain to the side of their mark, to prevent them from making offensive plays. Finally, there is Match-up zone marking. The players cover a specific area and man-to-man mark any opponent who enters. Once you decide on a system of marking it is advisable to stick to it until the end. Change is only advisable if at any point in the game the system seems not to be working.
One essential aspect of defense is to play smart rather than hard. Most of the time, it requires great discipline and cohesiveness. It’s essential to know when to attack a player and how to break attacks rather than trying to outmuscle them. Some great tips to consider include:
- Do not tie up with people in front of the net, gain position, and control
- Avoid playing head on in 1-on-1 attacks. Give room to the side of your opponent and allow him/her to go where you want.
- Shoot intelligently. Your shots should be accurate and low. It is essential to make a pass to your teammate and not to an opposing player. A misplaced pass may cause problems for your team
This is a tactic used to guide opposition attackers away from their defensive goal. One needs to stay on the inside of the attacker use stick and body position to guide him/her to the outside areas of the field. This reduces the maneuverability of the attackers if they become more prone to making a mistake. Keeping the attackers in the outside areas also lowers their angular advantage rendering them unable to take direct shots to score. It is important to note that works well only is you stay goal side of the attacker the entire time. Vigilance is also encouraged while on it. The defender should always be ready with his stick to intercept any pass the attacker may try to make.
A Good Breakout Pass
A good breakout pass will help dictate the state of play from the defense to the forwards. Take your time and sit the puck down before giving out a pass.
A bad pass will turn into a disaster on your end and may even get you benched. Make sure your pass has energy but not too much as it might blow up upon reaching your teammate. Other times it may even end up in your net.
What good does it make knowing your goalie and partner if you are not going to communicate with them? Talking with both of them make your work much easier at the end of the day. It helps all of you to keep a level head and knowing what to make without compromising one another. You need to be your partner’s second set of eyes and help navigate them loud and clear. The goalie acts as an extra set for both of you and the entire team and as such, his/her voice should be heeded. This is perhaps one hockey tip you should take note of.
I hope that these best hockey defense tips will help defensemen play better. The ultimate goal of any defenseman is to protect their net from the opposition. Playing as a unit is very important but first everyone needs to fulfill their duties. Therefore, step out and keep the goals away and at the end of the game, you will be able to hold your head high.