Home Ice 
 Shop
 Behind The Bench
 Defense
 Equipment Bag
 Essay/Humor
 General
 In Goal
 Offense
 Playing
 Power Skating
 Profiles
 Roller Hockey
 Training Room
 Youth
Search


Behind The Bench

Building puck support
By Greg Siller


Printer friendly page
 

 

Figures 1 and 2
L
etís discuss one of the most important skills you can perform early in the season to quickly (and consistently) help put your team on top. Itís called puck support.

Puck support is your teamís ability to maintain control of the puck while moving it into a scoring opportunity. Puck support has both individual and team components. From a team perspective, it requires a collective effort to move the puck into your offensive zone and into a scoring position. From an individual perspective, it requires each non-puck-carrying player (supporting) to provide options for the puck carrier.

To be effective in this support role, players must anticipate the puck carrierís intentions, read the defensive pressure being applied on the puck carrier, and adjust his or her position in relation to the puck carrier. Positioning of support players with respect to the puck carrier is important because movement by all players creates an attack that is always more difficult for the opposition to cover.

Three options that each supporting player needs to work on include getting open for a pass, clearing an area to allow space for the puck carrier to skate, and supporting a shot on net. These three options require supporting players to be able to read, react, and anticipate quickly, both individually and as a team.

For a Pass
When one of your teammates has the puck, it is generally the responsibility of at least one defenseman and one forward, as supporting players, to get open for a pass. Supporting players should maneuver themselves into an open position to create options for the puck carrier, and should base their movements on the puck carrier, the defenders, and the open playing surface available. An example of poor support by a puck carrierís teammates is shown in Figure 1 while good puck support is shown in Figure 2.

Notice in Figure 1 that all offensive support players (circled) are covered, while in Figure 2, LD and RF have moved enough to become passing options for LF and can provide the offensive team time and space to maintain puck control until a scoring opportunity is created. In tight quarters, a give-and-go play works well, providing the puck carrier an opportunity to quickly get past a defender.

Figure 3
Clear the Way

The second way support players can help the puck carrier (and the team) is to maneuver so that the puck carrier has room to skate with the puck. This involves players spreading out and away from the puck carrier, creating space for that player. This is a particularly effective technique in roller hockey where offsides are generally not an issue.

If an opponent is close to the puck carrier, a supporting teammate can cross in the path of a defender (employing a legal screen or pick). This will give the puck carrier an added second or two to skate toward an open area and be able to set up a scoring opportunity. Figure 3 shows an example of a pick, set by LF on the opponentís center (XC). This creates some open space for the offensive center (C) to skate with the puck to the outside of the defenseman and into the offensive zone.

Figure 4
Support the Shot

Supporting the puck carrier can turn into supporting a shot, if the puck carrier decides to shoot. When in the offensive zone, support players have to be prepared for a shot (and a rebound) at any time. Two important factors are positioning and quickness. Proper positioning for a shot means getting into a location near the slot for a screen, deflection or rebound.

If a defenseman is shooting (as shown in Figure 4), then the three forwards can position themselves to get a rebound, whether it comes out to the center or off to one of the forwards. Timing, quickness, and strength to move into position in the slot are essential factors in obtaining rebounds.

By providing the puck carrier with various levels of support (passing, skating, shooting) you can individually contribute for a successful team effort.

 Greg Siller, author of the book Roller Hockey: Skills And Strategies For Winning On Wheels, can be contacted at or via his web site at <www.prolearning.com>.

 

 


This first appeared in the 11/1997 issue of Hockey Player Magazine®
© Copyright 1991-2003, Hockey Player® LLC and Hockey Player Magazine®
Posted: Nov 30, 2001, 15:40
Top of Page

Latest Posts