Chapter #11 - Offensive Zone Team Play

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

Roller hockey is played from an offensive standpoint; with plenty of shots, rebounds, and goals. That's not to say that defense isn't important, but wheeling down the playing surface with lots of room to maneuver, setting up the offensive attack, and scoring a goal is how the game is played. All successful roller hockey teams know what it takes to put the puck in the net; and putting the puck in the net is the primary role of a team in their offensive zone. That's it, that's all that is required! How a team accomplishes this role is what keeps every coach planning, preparing, designing, and revising throughout the season. Putting the puck into the opponents net sometimes comes from luck, but most goals are scored because a team has an effective offensive strategy. Your offensive zone strategy should incorporate the following six factors:

  1. puck control and movement form the basis of any successful offensive attack. To score goals you must first have control of the puck, and as we know from the 3PO Principle, puck possession provides opportunities. These opportunities are created by having the puck carrier in motion and constantly looking to pass, shoot, or skate on net. The puck carrier should move with the puck to draw the opposition out of position. Forcing the opposition into making bad plays is good offensive roller hockey and is critical in the offensive end.

  2. positioning of non-puck carrying players with respect to the puck carrier/shooter is important because movement by all players creates an attack which is always more difficult for the opposition to cover. Non-puck carriers or supporting players should maneuver themselves into an open position to create options and should base their movement on the puck carrier, the defenders, and the open playing surface available. Supporting players should make themselves available to receive a pass, clear an area to allow space for the puck carrier, screen an opponent, and offer close support to the puck carrier.

  3. defined plays with improvisation will always create a better organized attack than an ad-lib attack, all things being equal. By working on defined offensive plays, players develop the confidence and ability to improvise on defined plays when different situations arise. Though roller hockey is a game in which the players must do a lot of improvising because of ever changing scenarios, they will be able to select the right moves more often if they have learned as many basic offensive plays as possible.

  4. shots on net from a high percentage scoring location will improve any team's scoring chances over haphazard shooting. Move the puck from the perimeter scoring areas toward the slot. Once in this area, a direct shot, screen shot, or deflection can be executed. After the initial shot, there is always the potential for a second opportunity; a rebound. Remember that each shot is really a potential one-two punch; the initial shot and the rebound.

  5. patience by the offensive team, especially the puck carrier, is required to make effective use of puck control. Since your team has control of the puck, why be quick to get rid of it? If you have the puck in a high percentage location, shoot. If another player is open in a better scoring location, pass the puck. If neither occurs, be patient and continue to move the puck while your teammates maneuver into better positions. An immediate and direct offensive attack is great, but when nothing is available, use your head and wheels and be patient while your supporting players set up.

  6. read, react, and anticipate to best make use of a current situation and to create additional ones. This involves all offensive players knowing the tendencies of their teammates as well as learning the opponent's defensive strategies and incorporating this information into your overall offensive zone strategy. Employing these skills teaches the offensive team to create their own opportunities as well as to take advantage of the opposition's weaknesses by attacking specific positions, areas, or players.

Contact Greg Siller @ Pro Learning Systems