A Guide to Individual Hockey Tactics
Believe it or not, hockey tactics are essential to hockey players. Many people go to watch hockey due to the fights and extreme amounts of aggressiveness. Even when watching a game on television most are completely unaware of the fact that hockey includes a variety of different tactics to help each team excel. These players do not get on the rink and merely try to destroy one another or get a puck into the goal. Instead, hockey is very much like any other sport in that it contains rules, regulations, and of course tactics. Therefore, we will delve into the basics of individual hockey tactics throughout this article in order to give you a better understanding of how the game is played and which tactics are used for what purpose.
Obviously with some other sports, the tactics used “on the field” (or rink) can be being perfectly legal in the eyes of the referees, while others will be illegal and therefore not permitted. Although some of these hockey tactics are not permitted they are used frequently nonetheless and tend to be followed by a penalty. From here we will explore the basic individual tactics such as checking, angling, blocking, and face-offs.
There are multiple different types of checking (back, stick, sweep, fore, body etc.) used in a game of hockey. In checking the individual will attempt to remove the puck from the person who obtains it or to remove that person as a whole from the game. As you can imagine, there are forms of checking that are illegal in hockey. Back checking is when you try to remove the puck from the opponent as they are approaching their goal. Stick and sweep checking just refer to the use of a player’s stick in an effort to get to get the puck from the other player. Forechecking is the attempt to remove the puck from the opponent in the opponent’s own zone. Finally, body checking is the use of your shoulder or hip to hit the person who possesses the puck. This is what most hockey fans attend games to see--aggressive behavior. Needless to say, body checking is illegal. As you can imagine, checking is used in a defensive position, not when you have the puck in your team’s possession.
Very similar to checking is angling. Actually, it is occasionally considered a form of checking since the goal is to remove the puck from the opponent’s possession. In this method you will angle the opponent to a specified area in which you plan to make contact and remove the puck from his possession. This requires skill in speed and body positioning in order to successfully complete angling.
Next to be discussed briefly includes blocking and face-offs. As you would expect, in blocking the player is attempting to block the opponent’s shot. Similar to most sports, blocking a shot requires precise timing and excellent body positioning to enable you to block successfully. The final individual hockey tactic to examine is face-offs. In this tactic nobody has the puck and obtaining the puck grants you control. This tactic requires a person with excellent timing and hand-eye coordination to make the chances of obtaining the puck in his favor.
In conclusion, hockey tactics are essential in the game. Not only do these tactics better equip players to handle situations, but also they take a great deal of training. Each individual tactic requires knowledge of the requirements for successfully performing the tactic without obtaining a penalty. These requirements can range from speed and timing, to proper body position. In the end, individual as well as team tactics are all part of the game that most Canadians and Americans love—hockey.