How do you start the game? How do you start the shift? How do you start a powerplay or a penalty kill?
Faceoffs. It takes a lot of practice time to perfect faceoff plays, but it’s a crucial aspect of the game, especially if you are coaching at a level where there is parity.
What do I mean by tight? Well, Junior, pro, and college hockey ranks all over North America are built through recruiting. While we’re recruiting, arguably the number one weapon we have in our arsenal is opportunity. We saw it this past spring at UBC after losing four players to pro hockey overseas – our three top goal-scorers and a goalie – so we had opportunity for incoming recruits that some other teams didn’t have.
What does that create? Parity. Players spread out because they’ll get a chance to play. This parity creates faster, more intense hockey that’s tight checking and hotly contested.
What does it all mean? It means that when you’re coaching in a league that’s tight and competitive, having a clear plan for won and lost draws can make all the difference.
We’ve seen Steve Spott and Bob Boughner team up to deliver specific faceoff strategies, today is Todd Woodcroft’s turn. For the Winnipeg Jets’ Assistant Coach, the key to winning faceoffs is simple: who can be the quickest to the puck? Who’s faster when the puck drops? Who has a more efficient process for winning and losing faceoffs?
It’s not just the centreman either, it’s a collective of the wingers and the defensemen as well. From the coach’s perspective, it’s as close to a controlled environment we get.
So we’d better have a plan.
Check out a snippet of Todd Woodcroft’s talk from our 2017 Coaches’ Conference or watch the full premium video with a TCS membership.
- (MEMBERS VIDEO) Todd Woodcroft – Faceoffs and How to Teach Them
- FROM BEHIND THE BENCH: Stay Sincere by Todd Woodcroft
- PODCAST: Todd Woodcroft on the Culture and Leadership of the Winnipeg Jets
If you enjoy these video excerpts, remember you can sign up for a free 30 day trial on our TCS | MEMBERS site. This gets you access to our entire library of videos from our annual TeamSnap Hockey Coaches Conference. You can cancel any time, although after joining a community of coaches from all over the world using the videos on a daily basis to pick up new tips and stay relevant, we doubt you will.
- Steve Spott & Bob Boughner – The Importance of Face-offs
- FROM BEHIND THE BENCH: The Process by Jim Montgomery
- Jay Woodcroft: Creating Offense From the Cycle