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Youth Hockey
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Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

Anon
My kid plays PW and has been a defenseman for his entire youth hockey experience playing club. He started out as a center/wing and then migrated to the defense position because at mites, he could skate. As the teams become more \"complete\" at PW there are fewer odd man rushes due to the forwards backchecking.

If you want to overcome a weak defenseman, have the coach run some backchecking drills. The lack of backchecking combined with a slow-footed defenseman will expose any team.

The previous poster, while amusing, had some solid points. Defenseman get frustrated when they\'ve worked hard to get the puck, start the breakout and are heading up ice only to put on the breaks quickly because a stick-handling forward has given up the puck with zero offensive zone time. They also get frustrated when the puck-carrying forward would rather stick handle his way out of a situation rather than send it to the point.

Teams that can put together a practice where the forwards are involved in backchecking and the defenseman are involved in the transition and offensive zone will win a lot of games. Even with a very weak defenseman, you can win a lot of games with a solid d paired with the weakest d and a line of backchecking forwards.
Sadly most PWDs can't:

-Make a good breakout pass..(pass on time & tape to tape not late and behind skates)
-Shoot on goal, usually wide right or left like field goal kicker.
-Reach goal or Goalie with any type of shot power.
-Handle pass to point w/o turning it over quite a bit.

Don't get me wrong, forwards make mistakes too. I've got two kids playing and one is a defenseman. Coaches don't spend enough time on the defense.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

When should D understand that you can't pass directly to the opponent, that is bad. I thought this was learned in mites but seeing it at the PW level.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

MrClean
When should D understand that you can't pass directly to the opponent, that is bad. I thought this was learned in mites but seeing it at the PW level.
Sounds like it's time your little guy tries out playing the most thankless position on the ice. Oh, he doesn't skate well enough to play D? Oh well, a summer of instruction and he just might learn to pivot both ways.

:(

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

Yeah, there we go, the season is 28 weeks long (4-5 day per week of hockey), but lets wait for the 8 weeks summer to work on it.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

Anon
Yeah, there we go, the season is 28 weeks long (4-5 day per week of hockey), but lets wait for the 8 weeks summer to work on it.
BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

simple, cut the kid(s). Plenty of skaters out there that can play D.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

Segregating the D and F for "skills" or at least part of those "skills nights" would be a good approach. I mean, have you ever seen them working on backwards skating, angling, 1v1's, D to D reverses, effective D positioning, etc. at skills? You know, the type of drills and teaching done at an 8 week summer program, but not during the 28 week season. I know the D benefit from the all around skills that are emphasized for the entire group, but some D-only component would be beneficial.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

Anon
Segregating the D and F for "skills" or at least part of those "skills nights" would be a good approach. I mean, have you ever seen them working on backwards skating, angling, 1v1's, D to D reverses, effective D positioning, etc. at skills? You know, the type of drills and teaching done at an 8 week summer program, but not during the 28 week season. I know the D benefit from the all around skills that are emphasized for the entire group, but some D-only component would be beneficial.

Yes, good idea, would help and something to be considered. If the D are not getting the "dont just throw the puck away" idea and just tossing the puck to the other team probably not right position or sport for the kid.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

CaptainStubing
Anon
Segregating the D and F for "skills" or at least part of those "skills nights" would be a good approach. I mean, have you ever seen them working on backwards skating, angling, 1v1's, D to D reverses, effective D positioning, etc. at skills? You know, the type of drills and teaching done at an 8 week summer program, but not during the 28 week season. I know the D benefit from the all around skills that are emphasized for the entire group, but some D-only component would be beneficial.

Yes, good idea, would help and something to be considered. If the D are not getting the "dont just throw the puck away" idea and just tossing the puck to the other team probably not right position or sport for the kid.
Team "skills" are generally mediocre at best. Ratio is generally awful, meaning they can't work on correcting for individual weaknesses.

And, yes, I HAVE seen small group skills orgs that work on separate drills for F and D.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

CaptainStubing
Anon
Segregating the D and F for \\\"skills\\\" or at least part of those \\\"skills nights\\\" would be a good approach. I mean, have you ever seen them working on backwards skating, angling, 1v1\\\'s, D to D reverses, effective D positioning, etc. at skills? You know, the type of drills and teaching done at an 8 week summer program, but not during the 28 week season. I know the D benefit from the all around skills that are emphasized for the entire group, but some D-only component would be beneficial.

Yes, good idea, would help and something to be considered. If the D are not getting the \\\"dont just throw the puck away\\\" idea and just tossing the puck to the other team probably not right position or sport for the kid.
You could also move the player to the tier 1 squad. I think what you will find out is that the player will end up playing right where he belongs. It really is better to be a good tier 1 defenseman than a awful elite defenseman. I know it's a tough pill to swallow but it really is about development.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

Coachchic
CaptainStubing
Anon
Segregating the D and F for \\\\\\\"skills\\\\\\\" or at least part of those \\\\\\\"skills nights\\\\\\\" would be a good approach. I mean, have you ever seen them working on backwards skating, angling, 1v1\\\\\\\'s, D to D reverses, effective D positioning, etc. at skills? You know, the type of drills and teaching done at an 8 week summer program, but not during the 28 week season. I know the D benefit from the all around skills that are emphasized for the entire group, but some D-only component would be beneficial.

Yes, good idea, would help and something to be considered. If the D are not getting the \\\\\\\"dont just throw the puck away\\\\\\\" idea and just tossing the puck to the other team probably not right position or sport for the kid.
You could also move the player to the tier 1 squad. I think what you will find out is that the player will end up playing right where he belongs. It really is better to be a good tier 1 defenseman than a awful elite defenseman. I know it's a tough pill to swallow but it really is about development.
Thank you. Please change your screen name to Captain Obvious.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

Breakers
simple, cut the kid(s). Plenty of skaters out there that can play D.
You can cut him but your supposition that there's plenty of players out there who could play D effectively is crazy talk. You can always hide a bad wing, you can never hide a bad D.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

Sounds like my kids team. I think if parents were more focused on their kids and not so worried about what other kids are doing, youth hockey wouldn't have that reputation of having crazy parents. I've heard parents tell their kid that that goal that was scored wasn't their fault . It was another kids fault. Awesome way to teach responsibility. Being a team player is very important and is encouraged but I as a parent are more concerned with his individual development. When he comes to me frustrated I just remind him to support his teammates and be encouraging and that he can only control himself and what he does and how he needs to work hard and prepare for each game. Hopefully if he finds himself in a better situation he'll be able to step up his game.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

You should rotate the forwards back there ASAP. Firstly, it will help the parents realize that their kids stinks too, secondly if it great for their development to see the game from the D position and lastly it will help everyone realize how important back checking is..... you should do some of this anyway but definitely at the level this sounds like... if the kids can't get a puck to net and are falling over you are talking mites and or very low level hockey so just mix it around and make sure they are having fun.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

Sounds like you have a team of dusters, Coach. Teach them to skate in practice. Teach them positioning before/during games.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

Defesemen is the most thankless job on the ice. Forward score a couple garbage goals and fail to backcheck an entire game and he gets praise; goalie has a 10 save shut-out and he gets praise; defensemen is only noticed when something goes wrong and he gets no credit for the wins. Easily the most difficult position on the ice (positioning, skating, split second decision making)and why a kid would want to do it is beyond me.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

Maybe have your superstar forward backcheck for once?

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

Everyone please take the hooks out of your mouths. This thread was started by a disgruntled goalie dad who objected a couple of weeks ago to a thread about bad goalies making identical statements.

Applaud him, he sucked you in.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

And I thought it was posted by Bruce Cassidy complaining about Tory Krug.... What a disaster he has been this season and with that contract he might be trolling the local rinks looking for his own coaching job.

Re: How to overcome weak defensemen

anon
And I thought it was posted by Bruce Cassidy complaining about Tory Krug.... What a disaster he has been this season and with that contract he might be trolling the local rinks looking for his own coaching job.
It's not just this season. He's always been a defensive liability. It's just more glaring when he is getting top 4 minutes. Do you know how hard it is to be -2 in a 4-2 game when you also have two assists?

Reminds me of a couple of years ago when Ovechkin had 50+ goals and 25+ assists - and he was still, somehow, -35. That is HARD to do!