How to Play a 1 on 1 Properly
My dad used to say you don’t have to be a great player to be a great defenseman. What he meant by that is that you don’t have to be the fastest, the most technically sound, and you don’t have to have the hardest shot. Being an excellent defenseman means being a SMART player.
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, we see a well-executed 1 on 1 by a Russian defenseman. The key points shown in this example are as follows:
- Properly managed gap; two stick lengths as they cross the blue line.
- Good upper body posture; arms loose, but compact. Hands at the hips.
- Poke check, not swipe check; you can poke check and miss all day long, and still maintain proper body positioning.
- Re-closing the gap; after the Swiss player turns back, the Russian defenseman re-closes the gap to maintain proper positioning in case of a re-entry.