3 Offensive Schemes Perfect for Club Hockey Teams
By Elizabeth Hannigan
, last updated January 24, 2012
If your play book is looking a little thin, you need to add these three offensive schemes to your hockey team's repertoire. Total chaos might be okay for the kids' team at your local YMCA, but if you're coaching club hockey, then you need to be thinking about teaching your players how to follow an organized play. Club players are more experienced and are old enough to start learning about strategy rather than just skill. These three offensive schemes are easy to follow, but should lead to increased shots on goal when they are implemented correctly.
Break out up the Center
This play is appropriate for those times when your team gains control of the puck in your own defensive zone. It's probably one of the first plays your team will learn, since it's simple to execute and generally has positive results. The play begins when your defensemen gain control of the puck in one of your corners. Have them skate toward the net, preferably down the center of the ice. This should result in the opposing team rushing towards your defense, freeing up passing lanes.
Once the opportunity presents itself, the defenseman in possession of the puck should pass to an open center man, who will immediately pass to your fastest winger. The winger should have a free lane to the opposing team's net and an opportunity to shoot. Obviously, the passes need to be good. Otherwise, the opposing team could end up in possession of the puck right in front of your own net.
Neutral Zone Regroup
This play is a good choice for those times when your team is making it to the blue line, then running into the other team's defense. You'll find that you often run into this problem if your team is making bad passes or skating too slowly. Sometimes it also happens when the opposing team has excellent defense. If your forwards are being overwhelmed by the opposing team's defense, have them pass back to the defense. Then the forwards can find some free space by crisscrossing in the neutral zone. As soon as the forwards have regrouped, have the defense make a fast pass back to the forwards, just as the forwards are breaking the blue line.
Hitting the Trailer
Just because a play is simple doesn't mean that it isn't very effective. In fact, you'll see plays like this one at every level of hockey, from club leagues to the pros. This play begins with your leading rusher in control of the puck. Have the rusher skate up the boards. Usually, the opposing team will give the rusher some room, since they don't want to free up any space in the center of the ice. Once the rusher crosses the blue line into your opponent's zone, he'll have to stop quickly, close to the boards. From this point, he'll make a fast pass to a trailing winger or center for a shot on the goal. You can expect the opposing goalie to be off center, since he'll be watching the rusher rather than the other players in the zone.