Chapter #8 - The Forward Faction

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

Forwards are another important factor in the success of any roller hockey team. The primary role of the forwards is to create offensive opportunities by setting up and scoring goals. However, successful forwards are also adept at the defensive side of the game by working hard to regain possession of the puck after a turnover in the offensive zone and to break up any attack that the opposing team has initiated. The skilled roller hockey forward is a two-way player, proficient at reading each play and reacting correctly. By being aware of the play around you and understanding what patterns exist, the forward has the information required to make good judgment about his participation in any offensive or defensive play.

Offensively, the forward should play hard and aggressively while maintaining discipline and control; it is difficult, but the best way to create scoring chances. An important attribute of the forward's role is the ability to control the game. By controlling the puck, a forward can control the speed, positioning, and intensity of the game. Physically, a forward should be a fluent skater since he will probably do more end-to-end skating in the course of a game than any other position. Mentally, the forward should know when to pass, shoot, execute a puck fake/body deception, and how to get open when he doesn't have the puck. What a forward does without the puck is just as important as what he does with it. When another player on your team is shooting, move to the net and get into position for a rebound, since many goals are scored off rebounds in roller hockey.

Defensively, a forward needs to prevent goals and create turnovers. It's not only the defensemans' and goaltenders' job to play defensively, it's everyones' job. A key to successful defensive play in the offensive zone starts with effective forechecking. Forechecking creates some of the most exciting action in roller hockey and, if executed effectively, quickly transitions a team from a defensive role to an offensive one. To beat a good offensive team you have to do an excellent job of forechecking, because effective forechecking will have a neutralizing effect on an opposing team's offense and provide many opportunities to regain control of the puck. When the opposing team does gain control of the puck and is moving it toward your defensive end, forwards need to backcheck. Good backchecking is initiated from a determination to regain control of the puck. A good two-way roller hockey forward knows that if he does hustle back, he may get there just in time to save a goal, pick up a rebound, or cover the open man.

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