Chapter #10 - Defensive Zone Team Play

Here's a summary of this chapter....

The primary role of a team in their defensive zone is to prevent the opponents from scoring goals. All successful teams make it a priority to be dominant in their defensive zone because, if you give up more goals than you score, you lose. Preventing goals is accomplished by breaking up any offensive attack, regaining possession of the puck, and moving it out of your defensive zone. To execute these three responsibilities, a team must have an overall defensive zone team strategy. Defensive zone team strategies are situational by nature and based on the attacking offensive scenario and on playing the percentages because it is very difficult to execute specific plays when your team does not have control of the puck. When your team is in your defensive zone and operating in a defensive or transitional role, the only objective should be to gain control of the puck. One important objective of this chapter is to teach each coach and player that Puck Possession Provides Opportunities. This is known as the 3PO Principle. With possession of the puck, you can transition from defense to offense and create potential scoring opportunities as well as control the overall flow of the game.

Three components of a defensive zone team strategy that should remain constant during any situation are that the defensive team should:

  1. become effective at reading, reacting, and anticipating (roller hockey's tactical triad). The key to gaining an edge over your opponent in your defensive zone is the ability to read what the other team is doing, anticipate what they may be going to do, and respond with an appropriate series of actions. To make this happen, it is imperative that the defensive team learn the various play patterns that the opponents use. Determine the opponents best play-makers and shooters, and the strategies they employ, and incorporate this information into your defensive zone strategy. The assets of quickness, correctly reading, reacting, and anticipating a play will help prevent the attacking team from consistently maintaining control of the puck your defensive zone.

  2. keep the opposition from controlling the puck in the slot because of the high percentage of scoring opportunities from this area. The defensive team accomplishes this by using their bodies, arms, and sticks (legally) to contain or angle away from the slot opponents who are looking for a shot, pass, rebound, or deflection.

  3. pressure the attacking team and force them into making bad plays. By pressuring, you can interrupt timing, force the opponent to release control of the puck, or create a turnover in which your team regains control of the puck.

By being ready for certain plays, or occasionally forcing a play, the percentages of breaking up an opponents offensive attack, regaining control of the puck, and initiating your own offensive attack will be on your side.

Contact Greg Siller @ Pro Learning Systems