Seems like I’m doing a lot of Q&A work these days! There have been quite a few questions on the Neutral Zone Trap I diagrammed up a few years ago. So I decided to make a quick clarification video to resolve some of these questions. Before we jump straight in, let me just state again that there are many ways of structuring systems. Sometimes these differences are adjustments to what the other team is doing, sometimes they’re just the coach’s personal preference. Either way, use this info if it makes sense for your situation. If not, don’t use it! Here are a few key points to remember:
Neutral Zone Trap
1. The trap is a CONCEPT: make it look like the board-side breakout is open, then systematically shut it down
2. There is more than one way this can be done
3. Adjustments should be made depending on how high the opposing team’s wingers are, and where the breakout is initiating from
4. Ability to angle will make or break the trap – funnel the breakout into the “kill zone”
5. Try to shut down the other team’s breakout BEFORE the red line (to eliminate the option for a dump in)
6. Generate offense with quick NZ transitions after the turnover!
Beat teams that are better than you with the Neutral Zone Trap!
The Neutral Zone Trap is a super effective forechecking set-up. In fact, it is almost too good. The reason I say that is because it allows players to “get by” on very little raw skill and ability. Because of this characteristic, I don’t recommend teaching it to younger age groups. So, if you coach an older team, add this to your team’s tool belt!
When I first moved to the states, the team I ended up on was horrible. We spent the first half of the season in last place, and double-diget losses were common place against the top teams in the league. However, half-way through the season we learned the trap. All of a sudden we began winning games… in fact, we even beat the first place team once, then tied them another time!!
Our team didn’t win the championship or anything (there was just too much lack of talent to overcome), but we did make a respectable playoff push at the end of the season, largely due to good execution of the trap.
Use the 1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck to trap your opponent in his zone
The 1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck is a great forecheck to add to your hockey systems repertoire. When executed correctly, it is effective at all levels of play, from youth all the way up through Junior and College level hockey.
The key to making this forechecking system work is to have everybody know, understand, and execute their roles properly. When this happens, the 1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck works similarly to a neutral zone trap – except that it happens in the offensive zone!
CLICK HERE to check out our “FAQ” on the 1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck (expanded discussion).