About DCC

Teaching Checking In Hockey

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that makes the difference.”
Andy Murray, Head Coach, Los Angeles Kings

Philosophy of Checking:
The fundamental approach to checking is the understanding that our team has lost possession/control of the puck, and our team must collectively fight to regain possession/control by limiting time and space with speed and “smarts”.

Collectively working together to force the opposition to poor ice position outside prime scoring areas, increase the percentages of regaining possession/control to create turn-overs to counter attack offensively.

To prevent goals from being scored against, we must defend by attacking the opposition and take calculated risks to create doubt of possession.  We must do this enough times to ensure we get enough chances to score. (Decide by team, time of year, by game situation).

Principles of Success:

  1. Initiative
  2. Movement – Speed
  3. “Shinny” Principle – Get My Puck Back!

Principles of Checking

  1. Defensive Body Positioning
  2. Gap Control Decision Making – Pressure:  Aggressively Limit Time & Space, or Contain:  Steering Opponent to Confined Area

When do you Pressure?

  1. When you need a lift.
  2. You “see numbers”.
  3. A player is isolated.
  4. To take away a scoring chance.
  5. Possession is in doubt:  board passes, in skates, in glass, etc.

When do you Contain?

  1. Player has speed and strength advantage.
  2. Player is in full control of puck.
  3. You need support or can’t get there.
  4. You want to slow down the attack.
  5. Support to maintain depth/width.
  6. “Communication eliminates duplication & hesitation” by Dave King.
  7. Balance disciplined.
  8. Collective team work.

Teaching Checking:  Progressions

  1. Four Step Progression
  2. Hockey Canada “Checking” video – Angling, Stick Checks, Body Contact, Body Checking

Angling-Delay / Deflect / Steer Attack

  1. Reduce time & space options.
  2. Delays attack to gain support from teammates.
  3. Forces opponent into decision-making.
  4. Take inside to outside route to angle.
  5. Use boards to assist as another teammate.
  6. Closing gap focused on opponent’s body, not puck. Adjust speed and keep feet moving.

Stick Checks- 2nd Line of Defence

  1. Take away passing lanes – stick on the ice.
  2. Deflect pucks from target-possession in doubt.
  3. “Active sticks”.
  4. Anticipate “Strong Stick” and body position for possession.
  5. Accelerate away from opponent.
  6. Need to be good stick checkers in today’s game.
  7. Pressure & Support from behind.

Body Contact– “Smart Hockey” by Bossy

  1. “Basket Ball Rule” for space possession.
  2. Defensive-side position, coming through your player to get to your net.
  3. Strong on skates, knee bend and balance.
  4. Quick feet to adjust to opponent.
  5. Blocking/picks with discretion.

Body Checking

  1. Attitude & understanding purpose.
  2. Teach giving and taking body checks.
  3. Change of momentum – lifts your team.
  4. Effects opponents decision-making.

Checking Skills & Drills
As coaches, it is critical to the success of your lesson that you ensure the players understand the purpose of doing the drill.  How success will be achieved in game situations if we work on skill.  Constantly reinforce the technical skills and key points required for successful execution.  It is no longer an effective style of drill presentation to “do this because I told you so” approach.

“It’s not in the drill, it’s in the execution.”
Vince Lombardi