Mastering Hockey Defense: Essential Techniques and Patterns
So, you want to become a formidable hockey defender and learn the skating patterns that can help you shut down opponents without spending countless hours on the ice. Well, you're in the right place. In this article, we're about to dissect what the best NHL defenders do to dominate the game.
We'll unravel their patterns and mechanics, allowing you to grasp the essentials and save valuable time. You don't need to be an extraordinary skater; you just need to know the right patterns at the right moments. Let's dive into the mechanics that can elevate your defensive game.
Understanding the Defensive Pattern
Imagine you're stationed at the offensive blue line, and your forwards have just turned over the puck. The most common pattern employed by elite NHL defensemen, which you can master to gain an upper hand, involves a series of precise movements. It goes like this:
1. Toes to the Boards
Begin by positioning yourself with your toes facing the boards. This initial stance is crucial because it provides you with a strong and balanced foundation. You're prepared to react quickly to any direction the play may take.
2. Crossover Corkscrew
Once you've established the toes-to-boards position, execute a crossover maneuver. This move involves crossing one leg over the other while maintaining your initial stance. The crossover allows you to pivot efficiently, adjusting your angle to match the movements of the opposing player.
3. Pivot Forward
Following the crossover, pivot forward while still keeping your toes facing the boards. This transition keeps you in control of the play, ready to respond to any offensive move by the opposing player.
Next, engage in a shuffle. Shuffling involves quick lateral movements, allowing you to cover ground sideways without giving your opponent an easy path to the net. The shuffle maintains your defensive position and forces the forward to make challenging decisions.