The fundamental skill of passing the puck effectively, with purpose, and also with pace, is a lost art in hockey.
Being in my third season of my post-playing career, I have seen it way too often, from numerous vantage points. As a scout, an advisor, a coach, a skills coach, you name it.
It starts in minor hockey.
But before we get in to that, why is it that so many coaches want to dissect their systems before looking at the essential skills amongst those systems? Why is it that skills coaches in today’s game want players to be able to flip pucks over obstacles, while those same players some of the time, can not consistently catch a pass on their?
No system or set play in the world will ever work without players being able to give or receive a pass effortlessly and with control.
X’s and O’s will only take you so far
Being the owner/founder of the hockey development company CrossIce Developments, we get approached by minor hockey teams as far down as Atom. When we initially consult with the coach, it’s like clock work.
“We can’t break the puck out” is the phrase I hear over and over. Another frequent issue is zone entries.
I proceed to ask the coach if they have honestly worked on developing their passing skills, and broke it down by positions (splitting up the forwards and defence) to work on situational passing. Generally, the answer is ‘no.’
X’s and O’s only go so far if the fundamental skill of passing is limited.
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