6 Hockey Practice Drills to Work on Puck Movement with your Defensemen

6 Hockey Practice Drills to Work on Puck Movement with your Defensemen
Offence begins with your defencemen.

The key to a hockey team’s offence is the defencemen’s ability to retrieve the puck and make the first pass to the forwards, then join the attack.

Let’s say the puck is dumped into the zone, here are the main points for a defencemen to keep in mind:

  • Go back for the puck quickly.
  • Do a shoulder check to see where the opposing forechecker(s) are and where your teammates are located.
  • Recover the puck at an angle.
  • Use deception (a stick or skate fake) to through off the forechecker even for a brief second.
  • With eyes up and feet pointing up ice as quickly as possible, pick the best passing option or carry the puck out of the zone.
  • Communication between the goaltender, the defence partner and the puck recovering defencemen is crucial. My favourite cue phrase is, “be your partner’s eyes.”

The first progressions for the skill of retrieving pucks are:

  • Skating skills such as pivots (backward to forward), and punch or jam turns used for deception.
  • Puck carrying skills such as escapes and pull the puck across the body move.
  • Passing skills.

Here are six drills players and coaches can use:

1. Pivot Shooting

6 Hockey Practice Drills to Work on Puck Movement with your Defensemen

D1 starts backwards, pivots backwards to forward around the pylon, goes forward to next pylon, then pivots backward to next pylon, pivots forward goes around the circle, picks up spotted puck (by D2), then pivots backward, skates along blueline with the puck, then shoots. Goes to back of the line.

Offence begins with your defencemen . . .



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Enio Sacilotto

Enio Sacilotto is President of International Hockey Camps and operates the Mental Edge High Performance Training. Enio has 39 years of coaching experience (professional hockey in Europe and the WHL's Victoria Royals). Currently, he coaches at the Burnaby Winter Club Hockey Academy and the Croatian National Men's team. If you have questions or are interested in his services, contact Enio at [email protected] or call 604-255-4747

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