There are all kinds of positions and tasks in youth hockey. Being a defenseman is one of the most important. However, this is certainly not an easy role to play. With that said, however, following a few simple tips can help young players to improve greatly as defensemen.
Tip #1: Stay in the Right Place
Where a player stands when playing the defenseman role is very important. Ideally, he should stay between his man and the net, a spot often referred to as the “goal side.” From this position, players are encouraged to try and get a feel for the direction and the speed of the player they are covering. From there, the defenseman’s job is to keep his body between the player and the net. Some caution does need to be exercised, however, because recent rule changes make it a penalty to push too hard against an opponent. A good coach can help a player to understand where the line is drawn between using force and using too much force.
Tip #2: Help Out Your Partner
When playing defenseman, a player will have a “defensive partner.” When this person has the puck, it is imperative that the defenseman support him. The easiest way to do this is for the defenseman to sag close to his end. This will make it harder for your partner’s passes to be intercepted and will offer up an extra line of defense as well.
Tip #3: Be Skilled at Passing
While there are all kinds of important skills for defensemen to work on, one of the most important is passing. Good passes can help out other players on offensive plays and can often save the game. Players are encouraged to practice passing in all kinds of situations in order to get truly good at this invaluable skill.