Swing Regroup: FAQ

Some Frequently Asked Questions on the Swing Regroup

In our Coaches’ Training Course we outline the fundamentals of the Swing Regroup, which is one of my favorite regroup set-ups. Over the past few weeks, I’ve received a number of emails with questions on the Swing Regroup. So I figured it was time to put together an FAQ video.

The problem many coaches were having, was differentiating between the “textbook version” and the “read and react version.” In other words… in a perfect world, we draw up the play, and the players perform it exactly as diagrammed, AKA textbook execution. However, in the actual game, sometimes it happens as planned, but many times it doesn’t. In these cases there’s a degree of improvisation that needs to be accounted for… this is where the read and react comes into play.

So, let’s start with our ideal, textbook diagram, then we’ll go from there:

swing_regroupSwing Regroup
1. Defensemen drag skate puck back and toward the middle, passing D to D as needed
2. Forwards swing through the receiving zones, presenting themselves as options
3. Defensemen read pressure, and pass up-ice to one of the forwards
4. Forwards attack the offensive zone under control

Obviously, players must understand the textbook version in order to make proper decisions in the game. This idea holds true with any system you’re looking to implement. I recommend teaching and practicing the textbook version of your set-up, then also going through some of the possible variations in chalk-talk. Make sure your players understand that they’re allowed to adapt to the game situation! Your objective should be to provide them with the system framework, then to encourage creativity within it.

Good luck!

MacDonald Forecheck Drill

MacDonald Forecheck Drill

The MacDonald Forecheck is a nice little drill to work on forechecking lanes and angles. Here’s the diagram and explanation:

MacDonald Forecheck Drill

1. On whistle, forecheckers take a lap around the center circle
2. As the forecheckers finish their lap, coach dumps the puck in
3. Forecheckers attack, 5-man unit breaks out
4. After the breakout occurs, puck is passed back to the coach
5. 2 of the 3 forwards peel out to take a lap around the middle circle, becoming the new forecheckers (forwards must communicate who goes!)
6. As forecheckers finish the turn, coach dumps the puck in for a breakout from the far end
7. New 5-man unit moves into the end that just broke out



The Star Drill

The star drill is a great drill to teach young goalies the art of moving around the crease!

If done correctly, this drill will generate create good habits moving around the crease, and the goalies will become more “Crease Aware” (knowing where they are in their crease). Here’s the diagram, as well as a variation to take the concept to the next level:


star_drill_2The Star Drill
Goalie starts at the post, then skates the following sequence (see our post on the 11 Visual Targets for Hockey Goalies)
1. Position 11
2. Position 6
3. Position 9
4. Position 1
5. Position 6
6. Position 3
7. Back to Position 11
8. Repeat the opposite way

Goalie performs start drill, reacting to the passes of the three forwards
1. Forward on the goal line passes to the forward in the middle, then skates to the near dot
2. Goalie reacts by skating to Position 6
3. Middle forward passes back to the forward who made the first pass
4. Goalie reacts by skating to Position 9
5. Forward on the dot passes across to the forward on the other goal line, then retreats back to his or her original position
6. Goalie reacts by skating to Position 1
7. Goal-line forward passes to middle forward, then skates to near dot
8. Goalie reacts by skating to Position 6
9. Middle forward passes back to the forward who just passed to him
10. Goalie reacts by skating to Position 3
11. Forward on the dot passes back across to the forward on the other goal line (who started the drill), then retreats back to his or her original position

Have the goalies perform this 2-3 times each. As they begin to improve, allow the forwards to shoot at random intervals.

REMEMBER: have the goalie adjust to the rebound if they are not able to cover or trap the puck. Create good habits, don’t let them just stop the puck and move to the next area.

For more advanced goalies, you can do the same drill but allow the players to move around in a triangle more freely rather than passing and shooting from the designated areas. When allowing them to move freely in a triangle passing and shooting, they will be working on their offensive attack while giving the goalie a great workout.




Michigan Tech 1 on 1 Drill

The Michigan Tech 1 on 1 Drill is fantastic for working gap control, passing, agility skating, and many other skills!

This is one of my favorite 1 on 1 drills because you can use it to work on so many different skills. Make sure your forwards swing fairly deep into the zone to receive the breakout pass. This will allow the opposing defenseman time to close the gap properly and play the 1 on 1 the way he or she should in a game.

Also, make sure your defensemen get outside the blue line… that gap MUST be closed, and the defensemen need to be able to get their speed up quickly after the pivot. Here’s the diagram:

michigan_tech_2on1Michigan Tech 1 on 1

1. on whistle, (D) and (F) leave from each side of the ice (4 players at the same time).
2. (D) do a figure 8 around the cones, then make a breakout pass to the (F) swinging through
3. After making the pass, (D) closes gap on the (F) from the opposite line to play him 1 on 1
4. If coach blows the whistle twice, the (F)’s change direction and play the 1 on 1 with the other (D)
5. Coach can blow the whistle multiple times during the same turn. (D) must continue to close the gap with each switch.

Note: This drill can also be run as a 2 on 1 – see second diagram



3 on 0, 3 on 1, 3 on 2 Drill

Full-Ice Odd-Man-Rush Drill

What’s up guys!! I got an interesting email the other day from Mika from Australia. Because of the size of his local rink, and the limited number of players there, they play 3 on 3 (which sounds like a blast to me!). Anyways, he asked if I had any drills that focused on 3-man set-ups and game situations… this drill immediately came to mind!

It’s a great drill for imitating odd-man rush scenarios, and is also GREAT conditioning for the forwards. Here’s the explanation and diagram:

3on03on13on23 on 0, 3 on 1, 3 on 2

1. Forwards in one bench, Defensemen in the other
2. On whistle, 3 Forwards swing low and receive a breakout pass from the Coach, then attack 3 on 0
3. After a quick attack, the same 3 Forwards swing to present themselves again for a breakout, while a Defenseman closes the gap.
4. Coach initiates breakout and Forwards attack 3 on 1.
5. After the 3 on 1, the same Forwards will swing again, receive a third breakout pass, then attack 3 on 2.



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