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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Contact Greg Siller @ Pro Learning Systems