Tips for Forwards
Making moves only works if you make moves with your head up. The key for any forward on the attack is to gain speed and work outside in on the defenseman. Too many times a forward will drop their eyes down, and take a look at the puck. The key for forwards is the ability to make moves without looking down. But how do you get better and what can you do to improve.
First is practice. Especially when on the ice with your own team mates. Make a mental note before practice to go out for the skate and not look down. Second is everytime you look down, make note of it. The situation may be always the same. Do you look down when an opponent is near ? Is it when you are in full stride with the puck ?
Finally, you have to do some off ice mental conditioning to break the habit of looking down. Work around some crates or chairs and focus on keeping your eyes up. Try to work the feel of your blade, from the toe to the heel. Sometimes the problem lies in the fact you have the wrong lie or length of stick. Generally speaking a player with a short stick is more likely to look down.
Practice hard and keep your head up ! It will drastically change your scoring and help you make the moves you have been getting hit on !
Tips for Defenseman
Use your stick in all situations defensively and you will become a much better defender. Scotty Bowman was considered one of the best coaches in the 90′s, with a defense that was wise and battle hardened little wonder they won all those cups. Remember sometimes physical is not the answer.
Pins: Almost all defenders know that when you have a man near the boards, pinning them is the most effective way to eliminate them from the attack. Get your stick around them and drive them to the boards. Put your knee in between their legs and control their upper body with your free hand. Utilize your stick to keep them from squirming out.
Lifts: Keeping an offensive players stick off the ground is a great tactic. Even if the puck is no where near the front of the net, good defenseman are always working on keeping the opponent from getting their stick on the puck.
Sweep/Poke Check: Scotty Bowman once told his defenseman NOT to play any body contact, only to keep the attack to the outside using their sticks. His thinking was that with a tremendous size and speed disadvantage, that Detriot could only win the cup if the attack was kept to the perimeter. IT WORKED ! Not only were older defenseman like Larry Murphy excellent at utizlizing their sticks, the lack of physical play, kept them in good condition for the long stanley cup haul and in position. So many times defense are so worried about making the big hit they over commit and lose position. Every so often analyse if you are better off with your stick than your body.
Tips for Scoring
Ever run into a prolonged scoring slump, hitting more posts than net, panic attacks around the net, here is some advice that might get the old touch back.
The key is in how you practice. Every time we run clinics we are amazed at how focused some students are around the net. They do all the little things that make for good goal scoring. They drive the rebounds home, hit the net everytime and try to score on each and every opportunity. When we teach the art of scoring, the snipers tend to ask the questions and really want to understand the tactic involved.
Our latest Sniper Shooting and Scoring video outlines some great tactics that a player can use to score in games and practice. Here is a few tips to help you around the net.
1. Shoot the good angle shots only. On a bad angle shot, either move to your forehand or backhand or cut around the net. Try to limit bad angle shots where ever possible even look to pass off in those situations.
2. Follow all your accurate shots with an attempt at a rebound. Get in the habit of making each attack on net complete. Finish in the drills that require you to play the rebounds.
3. Work on the following equally: Power, Quick Release and Accuracy. It takes a combination of all three skills to be a good goal scorer. Do not just work on a powerful slap shot and avoid the quick release shots.
4. Absolutely love to score. Take the pressure off when times are tough. Just keep working for your opportunities and the goals will come.