In the first half of this season, there is no other presentation from the 2019 TeamSnap Hockey Coaches Conference my players have learned more from than Washington Capitals assistant coach Reid Cashman’s talk on teaching deception to your defence corps.
They don’t know it, of course. The concepts taught are simple and effective — they end up popping up organically in my practice plans and in communication with the D.
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Cashman understands he’s blessed with a lot of talent on his back end, but for him, no other defenceman in the NHL does more with less attention that John Carlson. Carlson’s ability to convince forechecking forwards he’s passing the puck one way before passing it in a different direction is a great skill to have, and for Cashman, it’s a skill that can be taught.
The key is hand and stick position. Young defencemen should be taught to collect the puck on their hip so they can pass it to their forehand side or sweep it and pass across their body. It’s a small detail that can have a huge impact on a defender’s ability to deceive and move the puck quickly, and it’s a surefire sign you’re dealing with the prototypical modern defenceman.
Cashman’s presentation includes explanations and in-game video of these tactics being applied, as well as clips of drills in practice that you can steal. Watch it and don’t be surprised if you’re still repeating the concepts in practice a week, month, or a year from now.
- “We don’t ask our guys to be perfect because it’s not realistic. You have to make the next play no matter what, even if the play previous was a bad one.”
- “If your eyes are up and the puck is on the hip, the defenceman gives the illusion of multiple options and makes life difficult for the opponent.”
- “D-men can create time and space for their partner by creating deception with their feet. Toes face away from where they want the puck to go, and watch the forecheckers bite on the deception.”
- “Create time and space for yourself, for your teammates, use deception with your eyes, feet, stick, inside shoulder, and the net.”
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