Using the Triangle to Open Up Space on the Attack

A few years ago, I did a quick video dissection of Joe Pavelski’s over time goal against the LA Kings. This video shows perfect execution of one of the Attack Triangle options we outline in the Coaches’ Training Course and in the Playbook. Here’s a quick summary of how it works on this play:

attack_triangleHow the Sharks used the Attack Triangle on this Play
1. F1 drives the puck wide, while reading the gap of the strong-side defenseman
2. F2 realizes he has an inside lane to the net, and drives straight through the middle, pulling the weak-side defenseman with him, and opening up space in the high slot
3. F3 (Joe Pavelski) reads that the weak-side defenseman has been driven low, and that there will be space in the high slot, so he fills that space
4. F1 reads loose gap from the strong-side defenseman, and sees that the weak-side defenseman has been driven deep, then feathers an “area pass” to the open ice in the high slot
5. F3 walks in, picks up the pass, and snipes the game winner!

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



Figure 8 Angling Drill

One of my favorite Hockey Body Checking Drills to work on body positioning and angling

Remember, as you progress into hockey body checking drills, to stress that the purpose of body checking in hockey is to separate the man from the puck. To do this effectively, players need a strong base in the following areas:

  1. “Raw” Skating Ability
  2. Agility
  3. Body Positioning (Angling, Gap Control, etc…)
  4. Stick Positioning
  5. Make the Hit

Here’s the explanation:

figure_8_angling1. Players start facing each other on dot
2. (F) picks up a puck and drives wide
3. (D) skates around cones as shown, then angles
4. (F) has to drive around lower cone before cutting to the net

Variations: (a) take out the cone at hashmarks (b) allow forward to cut inside earlier



What I learned Today…

Hey guys – sorry for such a long gap between posts! I’ve been really busy this summer running hockey camps, going to family reunions, and a bunch of other stuff…

Anyways, right now I’m at the Level 5 Coaching Clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota. So far it’s been a pretty good event – we’ve heard from a bunch of cool speakers. But the most interesting thing I heard today as about COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT… or in other words BRAIN TRAINING.

IntelliGym for BasketballThere is a company called Applied Cognitive Engineering that has developed a product called IntelliGym that consists of a complex series algorithms that can be implemented into a video game that will train your brain to react quicker to the recurring patterns in athletics. They have already developed it for basketball, and are currently designing a hockey version.

Evidently, this is the same technology the Israeli Air Force uses to train their fighter pilots… it’s kinda like a flight simulator, only it’s totally different… I know that doesn’t make much sense, but it’s hard to describe. Basically, they’ve implemented hockey patterns into a video game that has nothing to do with hockey… (the example they showed us was a little space ship fighting game – but the space ships moved in hockey patterns). So your brain is being trained to react more instinctively instead of intellectually, and your reaction times improve.

With the Air Force pilots, they saw a 20-40% improvement across the board… the basketball players showed similar results, and hockey is expected to do the same!

The players’ decision-making skills can be tracked, and improvement within the game can be monitored. The game gets harder and faster as the player improves…Like I said – this stuff is REALLY cool. I thought I’d share the link so you can check it out for yourselves.

I’ll keep you posted on what I learn tomorrow… ENJOY!