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Shoulder checks are one of the most effective defending techniques in hockey.

Sense Arena has developed a ground-breaking way to train hockey players how to shoulder check properly during games. The major difference from traditional on-ice practices is their method occurs off the ice inside a virtual reality simulation.

In a series of drills performed within Sense Arena, coaches can focus on specific skills such as shoulder checking without time constraints or the pressure of keeping other athletes occupied. Shoulder checking is easy to forget when a player is racing into their own zone to retrieve a puck, so the coach’s role in this process is crucial in teaching this habit until it becomes a natural reaction. These drills here are intended to automate the movement of a player’s head and create shoulder checking habits that can be deployed during games.

Shoulder checks are one of the most effective defending techniques in hockey. This habit lets players take a snapshot of what’s happening behind their back before they retrieve a puck, which means they’re already a step ahead when it comes to passing the puck and advancing the play out of the defensive zone. It’s helpful for the offensive zone as well – the best offensive players on earth are often accused of having eyes in the back of their head. It’s much less magical than that, most of them have probably just developed a strong habit of checking over their shoulder and taking note of open teammates or lanes to the net.

This video includes:

  • The importance of shoulder checks to defending
  • Automating movement of the head to make shoulder checking natural
  • Imitating real game scenarios

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