Strategy and Tactics for Playing a 1 on 1 Properly
Last week, I showed a clip from the World Junior Hockey Championships, which demonstrated a Well-Executed 1 on 1. In that post, I also made the following statement:
Excellent defensive play is more about making the right pass, shot selection, managing gap, body positioning, controlling the front of the net, reading forechecking pressure, etc. These are all mental skills, and these are the skills that make for a great defenseman!
In this video I show the X’s and O’s behind 1 on 1 strategy, and highlight a few errors that are commonly made among young defensemen (and older ones too!). Here are the main key points discussed in the video:
- Defenseman should quickly put some distance between him/herself and the breaking forward
- Manage the gap through the neutral zone, looking for tight gap (2 stick lengths) by the time he/she is crossing the blue line
- Stick lengths are measured north & south, defenseman maintains direct route to the near post
- Let the forward make the first move. Defenseman doesn’t have to go anywhere if he/she maintains a proper gap, and proper route back to the post. The forward will have to come to the defenseman eventually if he/she wants a shot
- If the defenseman gets beat wide, he/she should pivot, and skate straight back to the post. DON’T CHASE THE FORWARD!