A blog dedicated to the fact you cannot make an NHLer,

Obviously you see the sarcasm in my blog name. This blog is about teaching the love of the game, the skills of the game and hopefully open some eyes to the crazy parents that think they can push their kid into becoming a star only to have the opposite happen or be the limiting factor in their kids hockey development. Remember, if you turn hockey from a game into a job, then all is lost and kids will drop out either physically or mentally.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Biggest Breakout issue in Minor Hockey

So its been a while since I have written. I have been busy with the kids and their hockey and playing myself.

I went to a Bantam AA (which here in Saskatchewan is the top tier, since we only have one AAA bantam team) and was witness to some very good players that will probably be taken in the WHL bantam draft. I noticed the same issue with breakouts that I see at all levels of hockey.

I am sure there is a fancy name for this, but I call it breakout breakdown. Here is usually what happens:

The defensive team battles for the puck down low. After some good work, luck bounce or rebound the defensive team has the puck. (in these examples green is the opposing team, so we are breaking out of our own end)

Now what usually happens is that the wingers leave the zone way too early like the following example.

As you can see the defenseman's only option is a long pass which is usually met by an interception since nothing works out like it does on paper.

As you can see the defensemen is ussually getting a lot of pressure from the forecheck and once the defenseman for the other team slide back to cover the breaking wingers like here in the bottom .

The Blue defenseman now has lots of pressure and no where to dish it off to since his wingers are easily covered.

The Blue defenseman usually tries a move or two or doubles back behind the net and then his wingers now stop farther down and wait for a pass, which has about a 10% chance of getting through and then the player has to start out flat footed to get into the other teams end.

The Reason this happens is our obsession with breakaways and many players figure that this is the best way to get them is with the stretch pass that we see on TV.

Here is the solution: Explain to the wingers and centerman that they should be able to create a 2 on 1 and the odd breakaways most of the time rather than the lucky breakaway.

Once the Defenseman has the puck have the wingers swing down to the boards near the hashmarks, as shown below:

Now once the defenseman makes the easy short pass to the winger, the centerman follows up towards him for support and the far side winger moves towards center, but does not break up ice. (if this is timed right it will look like you are heading across the ice to help on the other side.)

Notice how the defenseman in green has started to pinch to give the winger no were to go.

If he does not pinch you have lots of room and time, hence the support of the centerman.

After all this you will be able to move the puck up to the centerman, with either a chip up the boards if the green defensman pinches or a direct pass if the defenseman backs up.

As you can see it is pretty straightforward and if the far green defenseman is not backing up once the chip or pass is being made the far winger should break for the breakaway since the d-man would be flat-footed. See here below:

The very worst scenario is that both defensemen in green back up and you will have a 3 on 2 with puck control.

More of the post:

Most players accomplish the opposite of what they are trying to do on the breakout by leaving early for the breakaway. Work as a team and tons of offensive chances will happen. In this method both wingers and the centerman will have to take turns on leading the rush depending on what the defenseman do, but if they each get 15 chances a game the law of averages will keep them very happy.

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