Find power play success with tweaks instead of overhauls (VIDEOS)

Don't overreact.

From the drop of the puck to the final buzzer, there’s no situation in the game where a coach has more control than the power play. The coach designs the breakout, how each player enters the zone, and the eventual setup as well. Outside of joining the chorus of fans screaming “SHOOOOOOT,” your work as a power play coach is mostly done when the game is on.

As coaches, we want a goal every time we’re a person up. Sure, we tell our players it’s about building momentum, but we only say that because we want to brainwash them so they’re more relaxed and they score a goal.

So it’s natural to overreact when the power play goes cold. Watching the seconds tick away as an impotent power play expires leads to rash thoughts of blowing it up and implementing panic moves like putting your top shutdown defenceman in front of the net.

Don’t overreact.

You built your power play a certain way for a reason. Define what works, and look for small areas that can help.

Here are some examples from my team, the Winkler Flyers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League:

1. Decision paralysis on the 1-3-1 power play

This clip starts with a breakout. You can see that everyone is organized and confident.

Even when McCarthy (#19) hard rims the puck, everyone knows where to go. And once we’re set up? Decision paralysis.

Griffin Leonard (#13) kicks out to give Sulivan Shortreed (#27) an option. The problem is Ian Tookenay (#26) does the same thing on the other side. Sure we get a couple shots, but in a 1-3-1 setup you need traffic. Doesn’t work, so what does the coach do?


Very next power play:

Don't overreact . . .



Join The Coaches Site to access the latest drills, tactics & leadership lessons from hockey's top coaches.


Already a member? Login

Feature image courtesy of Ryan Sawatzky

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 2

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Since you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry this post was not useful for you...

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Add comment

Kelvin Cech

Steady contributor in multiple roles over the years at The Coaches Site, current General Manager and Head Coach of the MJHL Niverville Nighthawks, former Assistant Coach with the UBC Thunderbirds Men's Hockey team.

View all posts