The ability for a team to properly execute a neutral zone regroup can mean the difference between generating a scoring opportunity and giving up a scoring opportunity. In this video, we cover four basic neutral zone regroup tactics to help your team transition from the neutral zone to the offensive zone.
Option #1: Post Up -- Wings post up just inside the blue line along the wall for quick outlet options. Center curls strong-side for a secondary pass. This is a good option for less experienced teams, or teams with defensemen who don’t have strong puck-movement skills and ice vision.
Option #2: Double Curl -- The strong-side wing curls to the middle of the ice while the center curls toward the strong-side wall. The weak-side winger can post up for a tertiary outlet option. This option creates more offensive movement through the neutral zone, so defensemen need to have solid passing abilities, as they’re attempting to hit a cutting player instead of one at a stand-still.
Option #3: Weak-Side Stretch -- The strong-side wing posts-up, center curls strong-side. The weak-side wing starts up ice, then cuts back across the far blue line looking for a stretch pass outlet. This option requires defensemen with strong ice vision and passing abilities.
Option #4: Strong-Side Stretch -- The weak-side wing posts-up, center curls strong-side. The strong-side wing starts up ice, then cuts back across the far blue line looking for a stretch pass outlet. This option requires defensemen with strong ice vision and passing abilities.
As another great 10,000 Pucks Contest comes to a close, it’s time to recap this year’s event. With over 800 participants from around the world and 3.5 million shots recorded, this was the biggest (and best) contest to date!
I would like to congratulate all the participants who took the time to focus in on their goals and dedicated themselves to improving their game. Whether your goal was 1,000 or 20,000 -- there is much to be said about setting a goal and putting in the effort to achieve it. By applying these principles on and off the ice, you will be successful in life!
Final Contest Statistics:
Total Participants: 888 Total Shots Logged: 3,541,210
1st Place :: Michael Thoresen -- 50,150 pucks
2nd Place :: CBRSkinner -- 50,115 pucks
3rd Place :: TeamV -- 41,210 pucks
4th Place :: Noahhockey -- 31,844 pucks
5th Place :: chrisv99 -- 30,000 pucks
Top Shooting Teams:
1st Place :: Milwaukee Jr Admirals 2001 -- 189,083 pucks
2nd Place :: AAHA #1 -- 178,852 pucks
3rd Place :: 2001 Green Bay Jr Gamblers -- 174,810
4th Place :: Milwaukee Jr Admirals 1998 -- 163,947
5th Place :: Milwaukee Jr Admirals Girls U14 -- 159,176
Fellow coach and blogger Coach Nielsen has posted a very handy tri-fold coaching card for use during games. If you’re looking for a handy tool to help organize your notes during a game, give his post a look:
Over the last two weeks, we’ve shown you the basic inside edge and outside edge drills. This week we’re going to cover an advanced edgework drill for skaters who have mastered the basic edges. The drill begins by alternating from the inside to outside edge on a single foot, performing a single-foot stop (without putting the other foot down at all in between), then regaining speed by performing quick inside edge c-cuts. The drill requires body and ankle control…and a lot of balance. Enjoy the video:
I’ve had quite a few people as me for a demo video to show just how easy it is to draw a drill using the HockeyShare Online Drill Diagramming platform. Since a picture (or video) is worth a thousand words, I put one together showing how you can draw a drill in just a minute or two and then have access to it any time:
This video walks throught a variation of the NJ Flow Drill focusing on timing, one-touch, and stretch passes. This drill is recommended for Peewee and up, and can be modified to run from both ends simultaneously for more advanced groups.
Getting a team to gel together can be a big task if you’ve got a lot of new players on your team. Below is a list of ten ideas to improve your team’s chemistry early in the season.
Early Season Tournament/Road Trip – ideally, pick a tournament where you’re out of your home town and parents/players must stay in a hotel. This lets players get to know each other away from the rink setting, and gives parents time to socialize in the evenings. If you’re in a hotel and have time between games, try planning a team “pot-luck” lunch/dinner where players are required to attend as opposed to everyone heading their own direction for meals.
Ropes Courses – a ropes course will force players to work together as a team to achieve a common goal – just like in the season. It will also force some players to address their fears (especially if you’re doing a high ropes course) and get support from their teammates.
Team Building Activities – choose a day and location away from the rink and plan group challenges (mental as well as physical). Activities that force players to communicate and interact are excellent in establishing trust among teammates. For some ideas on activities, check out our blog post on Team Building Resources.
Team Cook Out – this can be done at the rink, or if a parent is kind enough to open their home, at a family’s house. Ideally there would be an activity the players can do (pool, ping pong, swimming, etc.) which will focus them to one area. Avoid allowing video games to be the central focus, as the amount of communication and group interaction is severely lessened.
Change Locker Room Seats – players love to get into a routine and sit next to their buddies in the locker room. This can be okay as the season progresses, but if you’ve got a team with a lot of new skaters, forcing players to sit in different locations will cause them to talk with and get to know people outside their small clique.
Paint Balling - not every team will have access to this, but teams that do will find that their players will enjoy the competition and have a great time being together away from the rink. You could also plan for a team cookout after the paint balling event!
Team Workout – you see this in the NHL quite a bit – players and coaches will do team runs, bike rides, canoeing, etc. Although it may not be quite as much fun as some of the other activities listed above, you’ll be getting the group together and also helping their overall conditioning.
Mix Lines / D Partners – early in the season, forcing players to play with skaters other than the one or two players they’re used to will not only get players to work together and communicate, but will prepare older players for future tryout camps where they’ll be playing with skaters they’ve never played with before.
Team Video – have some fun with this one – especially early in the season. Instead of doing game tape review or something expected, have some fun and watch an entertaining video or movie. Maybe even get some pizzas for the players (without telling them). For older groups, The Tournament is a great choice. For younger groups, Miracle may be a better idea.
Personal Information – before or after a practice, hold a team gathering in the locker room and have players get up and introduce themselves one-by-one. It is also helpful to have 3 or 4 questions they need to answer while it is their turn. Simple questions like the following tend to work well: favorite hockey team, one thing we didn’t know about you, home town, etc.
Do you have another idea to add to the list? Leave a comment below to contribute! Good luck this season!