1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck: IN ACTION

Here’s a great example of the 1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck in action

The 1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck can be a great set-up if you have the right type of team for it. This forecheck requires speed and discipline. If you lack either of those attributes, it’ll probably fall apart for you. Here are the main key points on this set-up:

1-2-2 “Foosball” Forecheck

1-2-2_forecheck1. F1 “flushes” outside in, and chases the puck no matter where it goes
2. F2 and F3 set up at about the tops of the circles, slightly narrower than the dots
3. D-men set up the same distance apart as F1 and F2, but they’re at the blue line
4. As the play moves up the boards, the strong-side forward hits the receiver, strong side d-man seals the boards at the blue line
5. Weak-side forward and d-man slide across and protect the middle passing lanes
6. F1 funnels back to provide support



Breakouts: Transition from DZC to Breakout

Transition from Box +1 to Breakout

Transition from Sagging Zone, and Sagging Zone Arrow, to Breakout

Well-designed systems should lead from one objective to the next. For example, your defensive zone coverage set-up should put you in proper position to gain the puck back and initiate a breakout. Your breakout should set you up to enter the neutral zone with proper support, and in a strong offensive attack position. The three DZC systems discussed in this post are very effective because they transition well into breakouts after you get the puck back.

CLICK HERE to watch our video on “Initiating a Hockey Breakout”


D-Zone Coverage: “Sagging” Zone

The “Sagging” Zone is a more aggressive defensive zone coverage set-up that will cause more turnovers than the less aggressive Box +1

In this video, we walk through the “Sagging” Zone set-up. I really like the risk level of this particular set-up. It is quite aggressive, but by dropping your weak-side winger down into the low slot, you can still maintain great coverage in front of the net.

As players get more comfortable with this system, teach the weak-side winger to anticipate and pick off D to D passes, and cross-ice passes out of the corner. Good, quick wingers will see a lot of breakaways and 2 on 1’s by reading these passes well.

As is the case with the Box +1, “Sagging” Zone Coverage converts very well into a breakout when the transition occurs. The natural positioning for coverage is exactly where the players need to be to initiate the breakout.


D-Zone Coverage: Box +1

Box +1 is an excellent introductory defensive zone coverage set-up

I have used the Box +1 as an introductory defensive zone coverage set-up for a number of teams ranging from talented youngsters to beginner adults.

The Box +1 is a great way to introduce structured defensive zone positioning, without a lot of risk. It is a passive system, which means it’s very forgiving if a player makes a mistake (since you always have 4 players in front of the net!).

The Box +1 also lends itself to progress into more complex coverages such as “Sagging” Zone Coverage, and the “Sagging” Zone Arrow. Furthermore, the transition from d-zone coverage to breakout is simple and straight-forward with this style of coverage.


How to effectively teach a new hockey skill

Coaching hockey can be a complicated endeavor. The required skill-set to be a good coach is much different than the skill-set to be a good player. Because of this difference, many people find it difficult to make the transition from player to coach. I often hear new coaches say “I know what my players should be doing, but I don’t know how to get them to do it…” or “I don’t know how to explain proper skating technique, I just know how to show it…”

In these situations, I usually recommend that the coach try to break each skill down into three key points that he or she can verbalize. For example, if I were explaining proper forward skating technique, I would say that each player needs to (1) maintain a good knee bend, (2) push each stride to the side at about a 45° angle (not straight back), and (3) avoid head-bobbing. These three steps are easy for players to remember, and will become a reference point for you to come back to if skating technique becomes sloppy in subsequent hockey drills.

Once you have one or two players who are able to execute the given skill correctly, ask them to demonstrate the skill, and tell the other players to “watch the demonstration, visualize themselves executing with the same precision, and imitate the final result.” Reminding the players to watch, visualize, and imitate helps to encourage and motivate the precise execution of the given skill.

This coaching strategy can be applied to most situations, and can include everything from individual skills to team systems and positioning. Breaking skills and concepts down into three simple steps can help you, as a coach, to verbalize what you want the players to do. It will also help the players to comprehend and implement the instructions you are giving them. Once the players are executing the given skill correctly, you will them be able to make small tweaks that will further enhance their playing abilities.