BMRH: Learn To Play Hockey

learn to play
Wednesday, March 19
Hockey Drills and Tips

In an effort to make this website better I have been searching the internet for Hockey Tips and Drills that can help the players become better hockey players. I have posted the below Hockey strategies as well as links to sites that contain Drills and Videos to help our players become the best that they can be. 

John Mc Ardle


Where To Shoot

Increase your scoring percentage, by putting the puck in the right place. Here are the percentage of goals scored by location (yellow, blue and red) and horizontal height (green). Play The Percentages! Great scorers do more than just shoot the puck in the direction of the goal - they pick their spots. Remember these percentages when deciding where to shoot. Most goals are scored below knee level, with more goals going in on the goaltender's stick side than on his glove side. But don't ignore the top corners, since many times the goaltender is sprawled across the ice, leaving the upper corners open.


Positioning To Score!
Positioning refers to your location with respect to the goaltender and the net when you shoot. Most goals are scored from between 5 to 25 feet out, and directly in front of the net; most of those goals come from between 10 to 15 feet out. Another way to improve your goal scoring and that of our team is to get into a high percentage scoring position before you shoot. If you are not able to get into a good position, look around for a teammate who may be open in a good position. If you can't see anyone, and can't get into position, shoot low at the goaltender's feet, and go in for the rebound.
The picture shows position and percentage information of typical goal scoring locations. The numbers represent the percentage of goals scored by location on the playing surface. Approximately 60% of goals are scored from the middle slot, 30% (15% on each side) of goals are scored from the area of the face-off circles, and 10% of goals are scored from the extreme angles between the lower portion of the face-off circle and the goal line.

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HELP! I'm the defenseman in a two-on-one!
A "two-on-one" break is defined as 2 attackers against one defender. As the defenseman in a 2-on-1, you must remember that you are not alone--your goaltender will also be with you.

In this scenario, you MUST play the pass as your first priority, electing to stay between both attackers. This is because a quick pass across the slot to the second attacker would not allow the goaltender enough time to slide across the crease to cover the open net.

Playing the pass requires the defender to maintain a position between the two attackers with the intent of breaking up any pass between the two. Don't over-commit and allow the shooter too much open space, but remember it is better to allow an outside shot as opposed to a pass because the shot is easier to handle for the goaltender. You play the pass and let goalie play the shooter.

Okay, so...

What if you are the attacking team on a two-on-one break? As the puck carrier, your job is to evaluate the developing play and choose the option with the best chance to score.

If the defender moves toward you, make the pass to your teammate. If the defender covers the other person, continue to use him/her as a decoy, then take the shot. It's important to give the goalie and defenseman the idea that you might pass, might shoot, might pass. . . and surprise them with the play.

As the partner in a two-on-one, make sure you are threatening to the defender and the goalie. Go wide enough that you put them in a difficult position. Put your stick down to receive the pass, and make yourself a decoy until the puck carrier decides to shoot at the last second. If you receive the pass and the defender comes to you, you might have time to pass back to your open teammate.

In a two-on-one, use the angles and your speed to put the defense in a difficult position!                  

Team Defense!
Defense is when the opponent has the puck. If we have a solid defense, the best an opponent
can accomplish is a tie, 0-0, game. As a team, our goals are:

1. Protect the middle lane. The shortest route to our goal is a straight line down the center of the ice. If you can keep your opponents wide, along the boards, they are less likely to score.

2. Limit the amount of time and space available to your opponent. The faster you can get to the puck carrier, the less time and space the player has to make a play. Know who your check is, and stay no more than two stick lengths away, even when your check doesn't have the puck.

3. Prevent your opponents from scoring. Your opponents are most likely to score inside your team's defensive zone. Keep between your check and the net in the defensive zone, and
between your check and the puck in other areas of the ice.

4. Good defense pays off when your team gets the puck, and the change is made from defense
to offense. The switch from checker to pass receiver can happen in an instant. Learn to read the change and react quickly.

5. Forwards must GET BACK and play an important part of the defensive team. A strong backing checking team is very hard to beat.

6. Get to the puck first. The team that gets the puck first WINS. If the other team gets to the puck first, it is theirs to score with!

The Drop Pass
The drop pass can be one of the most effective ways that you and a teammate can set up a scoring opportunity.

To execute properly, you want to carry the puck forward and, with your teammate trailing, leave the puck behind with a gentle nudge with the back of your stick blade. All you do is touch the puck with the back of the stick blade and let the puck die at that spot. Your teammate then picks up the puck.

You now have three options. You can quickly skate to an open area to receive a pass, set a pick on a defender to help free up your teammate, or screen the goaltender so that your teammate can take a shot on goal and your ready for a rebound!

The drop pass provides an excellent chance to create scoring opportunities.

Receiving a bad pass...
If the pass is off-target... Reach for the pass by dropping your bottom hand off your stick. This will extend your reach. Just stop the puck with your stick held by your top hand, then go after it.

If the pass is behind you... There are two things you can do. You can stop. Or you can reach back with your top hand on the stick and your stick blade angled so the puck will rebound up to your back skate. Kick the puck up to your stick, which you are now holding with both hands.

If the pass is into your skates... Angle your skate on the side the pass is coming from, toe in, and deflect the puck up to your stick. Or, if the pass is coming further back, put one foot behind the other, creating a larger target for the puck to hit. Shorten up on your stick to control the puck better when it arrives.

If the pass is high and off the ice... Try to catch the pass WITHOUT closing your hand on the puck. Just stop the puck with your open palm, drop it in front of you, and play the puck with both hands on you stick. Don't wave your stick at high passes.

Study the opposing goaltender!
Forwards should study opposing goaltenders at every opportunity to learn their weak and strong points. Watch the goaltender closely during the pre-game warm-up and as play progresses.

When sitting on the bench, you can learn a lot about the opposing goaltender (and teammates) IF you watch carefully. When studying a goaltender, think about the following points and use the info to improve you scoring chances:

* Does he go down to the ice often and what moves get him down there?

* Is he good with his glove/blocker?

* Is he better to one side (stick side or glove side)?

* Does he give rebounds off his stick, skates, or pads?

* Does he stay in his goal or come out to cut off the angle?

* Does he keep his legs together or apart?

The Breakout Play!!!
The strong side breakout is the most fundamental breakout play in hockey. The goal of the breakout is to move the puck up the ice using the strong side forward (the forward that is on the same side of the rink as the puck).

The strong side breakout is low risk. In the figure, RD gains control of the puck deep in the defensive zone, reads that there is little coverage on the left side of the rink, and skates behind the net to the left side.

As he moves out from behind the net, he passes the puck to LF. This first pass is the most critical one in the breakout.

Once LF controls the puck, the other players continue to contribute to the breakout play by creating space and providing various options for LF. LF now has three options: skate with the puck, pass it, or dump it (as a last resort).

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Offensive Attacking
Offensive attacking involves these key points:

* Puck control and movement. Opportunities are created by the puck carrier moving and constantly looking to pass, shoot, or skate to the net.

* If you don't have the puck - get in position! Get open to receive a pass, clear an area to allow space for the shooter, screen an opponent, and offer close support to the puck carrier.

* Shoot at the net from a high percentage scoring location! Move the puck from the perimeter toward the slot so that a direct shot can be made. After the first shot, there may be a second chance - a rebound! Be ready.

* Patience, especially by the puck carrier, is required to make effective use of puck
control. Since we have control of the puck, why be quick to get rid of it?

* Reading, reacting, and anticipating. All forwards should know what their teammates will do.

Moving the puck into the offensive zone...
There are 3 key ways to move the puck into our offensive zone: skating, passing,or shooting.

In the first figure, the two circled attackers move toward the net. Using the skating attack, the puck carrier (LF) can choose to put on a burst of speed and move to the outside of the defender (XRD) or move to the inside of the defender and straight to the net. LFs teammate (RF) must read the puck carrier's movement and react by positioning himself for a pass or rebound. LF should also consider the space behind the net when making this attack.
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The Passing Attack...
In the second figure, the three circled attackers move toward the net. Using the passing attack, the puck carrier (LF) can choose to:

1) pass to the trailing defenseman (LD) before moving past the defender (XRD);

2) pass to LD just after moving past XRD;

3) pass to RF just after moving past XRD; or

4) skate with the puck behind the net and pass to RF (or LD) near the slot.

This last option is good because it forces the goaltender to move from post-to-post and look behind the net. A quick pass to the slot just might catch the goaltender off-guard or out-of-position.
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The Shooting Attack...
The shooting attack can be used if your teammate is covered, the goaltender is leaving a portion of the net open, or the goaltender easily gives up rebounds.

As LF moves to the outside of the defender (XRD), he can shoot the puck at an open area on net or shoot the puck along the playing surface right at the goaltenders stick. This type of shot, made from an angle, will cause a rebound into, or near, the slot. RF should always be ready to grab the rebound and put it home!
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Give and GO!
The give-and-go is a passing play used to beat (allow a puck carrier to move past) an
opponent. It's simple because you only need 2 teamates - one with the puck. It can be used in the defensive, transition, and offensive zones.

Let's cover 3 give-and-go situations that will make you a better hockey player.

Give & GO #1: Use this in your defensive zone, with a breakout play.

In the upper left corner of the first picture, the defenseman (D) is moving with the puck and sees a defender (X). The forward (F) is along the boards, waiting to get a pass from D. D passes the puck to F and moves toward the transition zone. Once D moves past the defender, F passes the puck to D, and the play moves out of the defensive zone. That's it! In the lower left corner of the picture, D uses a different give-and-go to pass the puck along the boards and get ut himself. This move is both a bank pass and give-and-go.

Give & GO # 2: Another give-and-go is where no return pass is received (as shown in the
transition zone of the first picture). This play requires both offensive players (D and F) to play the situation as a typical give-and-go. Instead of getting a return pass, the first puck carrier (D) acts as a decoy, taking the defender (X) with him and creating space for the puck carrier (F) to move toward the net.
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Give-And-Go #3. In the offensive zone, the give-and-go play can be used to freeze a defenseman on a 2-on-1 and create a scoring chance. In this picture, the left forward (LF) starts the give-and-go with a pass to RF. While the defender (D) focuses on RF, LF puts on a burst of speed and moves by D. RF passes the puck back to LF, who is now in a great scoring position!
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Hockey Playbook
Hockey Plays and Drills


Pass The Puck
This is a good site that has a lot of information for coaches and players with a good selection of hockey drills from developmental to advanced.

Hockey Training Videos
This link is to The site contains Hockey training and drills videos for all the skills necessary to play and coach hockey. The coach in the video Tom Martin does a good job explaining and showing the drills. These are Ice Hockey drills but most also pertain to Inline Hockey as well.

Think Hockey
This link was provided by Mike Lugassy. The web site is from CBS Hockey night in Canada. It has some excellent instuctional videos for fowards, defenseman and goatenders