This chapter contains drills for working on individual and team defensive skills, including drills that can be used to practice forechecking, backchecking, and defensive zone play. Good teams in ice hockey play well defensively, and the drills in this chapter will improve defensive play if done regularly and executed properly. The defensive part of the game is very important, and defensive drills should be included in most practices.
Since defensemen are constantly working in the corners and in front of the net during one-on-one battles for the puck, many of the drills provided here are designed to work in those areas. All the drills in the chapter should be run with game intensity to simulate game situations. If a skill is not being executed properly, the coach should stop the drill and make sure the players know how to perform the skill. Checking should also be incorporated into these drills when appropriate, as it is an important defensive skill. To prevent injuries, checking should be monitored so that it is not done too hard. The coach should also be sure when practicing checking that in a game situation, with a referee, no penalties would be called.
Goalies should also be used to further simulate game situations whenever the drill calls for a shot to be taken. Because defense is such an important aspect of the game, these drills should be incorporated into practices frequently.
199 1v1 Four Corners
- Four offensive players go 1v1 against four defensive players simultaneously in the four corners of the rink.
- The drill goes for 20 to 30 seconds, beginning with a whistle from the coach.
- The offensive and defensive players then switch positions and go 1v1 at the whistle for the next 20 to 30 seconds.
200 One Against One Plus One
- On the whistle, offensive player 1 comes out of the corner with the puck, going against defensive player 1.
- On the next whistle, offensive player 2 joins the play for a 2v1 against defensive player 1.
- Offensive player 1 carries the puck behind the net.
- Defensive player 2 mirrors offensive player 1 by skating in front of the net.
- Defensive player 2 angles the puck carrier, makes body contact, and allows offensive player 3 to retrieve the puck, come out of the corner, and shoot.
- The three forwards rotate to different lines.
- This drill can be done from both sides of the rink.
202 2v2 in the Corner
- On the whistle, the coach shoots a puck in the corner, and offensive forwards 1 and 2 go against defensive forwards 1 and 2.
- The four players wait on their knees until the whistle starts the drill.
When the defensive players gain possession of the puck, they go 2v0 to the opposite end, with offensive forwards 1 and 2 chasing.