Chapter #5 - Passing and Receiving
Here's a summary of this chapter....
Passing is the quickest and most effective way to move the puck up the playing surface
because puck movement is faster than player movement. There are many reasons for passing
the puck during a roller hockey game; to quickly bring the puck out of the defensive zone,
to defeat a defender, to create a numerical advantage (i.e., 2-on-1 or 3-on-2), or to
setup a great scoring opportunity. Each type of pass serves a unique purpose in terms of
catching the opposition off guard and gaining positional advantage. The speed and change
in flow provided when making a pass allows the offense to open up many exciting
opportunities to get the puck into a scoring situation.
After deciding on a particular receiver, three factors to consider when executing an
effective pass are accuracy, timing, and deception. A fourth factor is what you do after
the pass is made.
- Accuracy. Accuracy is determined by the ability of the passer to read the speed
and intended direction of the receiver in relation to his own speed (if the passer is
moving). Once the passer gauges any difference in relative speed, he can lead the receiver
with a pass that should arrive at the same location and time as the receiver's stick.
Being able to accurately and consistently put the puck on a receiver's stick will allow
you, and your team, to effectively employ many individual and team strategies.
- Timing. Deciding when to pass should be based on improving your team's offensive
situation. If a teammate is in a better position than you are, always pass the puck. This
rule is most frequently broken when the puck carrier carries the puck past a defender when
there is a teammate up ahead or he holds onto the puck too long, allowing a defender to
get too close. Consequently, the open player has to continue to stay open or, in the case
of the close-in defender, the puck could be intercepted, deflected by a stick or skate, or
blocked. It is better to make the pass too soon and ahead, than too late and behind. If it
improves your team's situation, pass the puck!
- Deception. Many passing attempts are spoiled because players telegraph their
intention. Telegraphing occurs when the passer looks at the potential receiver and lines
up the passing play without any deception. This allows not only the receiver to know where
the pass will be made, but the defenders as well. A good idea before attempting a pass is
to read the coverage, then react with a deceptive move to fake or confuse the defenders.
This could be a quick fake, as if you were going to carry the puck yourself, and then pass
the puck to the receiver. A factor in using deception is peripheral vision. Good play
makers have excellent peripheral vision, to the side (and down) when looking ahead. This
enables them to line up a receiver without giving away their intention by looking directly
at the receiver. By employing deceptive techniques, you will provide a receiver with
additional time and space to set up many scoring situations.
- When you pass, break! One of the most common individual faults after making a
pass is failing to stay in the play. Players often make a pass and then watch to see what
happens. The moment the player makes the pass, he should get into position for a return
pass, break for the net, or decoy a defender away from the play. Breaking fast after the
pass creates many options for your team.
The role of the receiver consists of three basic tasks: to locate an open area on the
playing surface to receive the pass, to communicate to the passer that you are or will
soon be available, and to capture the pass effectively.
- To locate open space and become available for a pass, a potential receiver should move
to an open area on the playing surface that is, in general, in the direction of the play.
Many times a receiver needs to deceive the defender so that he can get open. Do this by
using body fakes, changing direction, or varying speed. Just as a passer needs to avoid
telegraphing his pass, a receiver must camouflage his moves.
- Receivers also have the responsibility of indicating to the puck carrier, either
verbally or non-verbally, whether or not they are open for a pass. Calling the player by a
first name or nickname can be effective, but opponents may know this name. Non-verbal cues
can be audible, such as tapping your stick on the playing surface or the boards, or
silent, such as raising your stick or pointing to the open space that you intend to move
to. Receivers must appreciate the task faced by the puck carrier in attempting to make a
pass, given the forechecking pressure and the speed of the game. This is why receivers
need to be patient and keep trying to find open space. Timing your arrival to an open
space, by controlling your speed and direction, is the key to successfully supporting the
puck carrier and getting open.
- Capturing the pass is the receivers third role. Receiving a pass requires practice and
soft hands. If the pass bounces off the stick of the receiver, the player has hard hands.
If the player is able to cushion the puck using his arms and a relaxed grip of the lower
hand, that player has soft hands. Sometimes, soft hands may not be enough to receive a
pass since passes are not always perfectly on-target. Receivers should also expect to make
some type of adjustment, such as reaching for the puck, angling toward or away from the
puck. slowing down or speeding up, or using their skates to redirect the pass onto the
stick. Controlling and protecting the puck from your opponents allows you more time to
execute your next move, whether it is passing, stickhandling, or shooting, Even before the
pass is completed, the receiver should have some idea of his next move, such as driving
for the net, passing, shooting, or carrying the puck. Anticipating the next action is a
skill that all great roller hockey players have.