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12U-18U: D-Zone Build-Up

By USA Hockey, 10/01/16, 10:45AM MDT

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Purpose: To introduce defensive-zone concepts through a small game. This drill is great for teaching defensive details while providing players many repetitions and a progression up to your five-player defensive-zone coverage.

Coaching Points: Start with one offensive player (without puck) in each corner (X1 & X2). These players should be facing the coach, who stands just inside the blue line between the circles. Defensive players (D1, D2 & F1) should start in front of the net. Coach begins drill by passing a puck to either offensive player (in this illustration, coach passes to X2 initially). NOTE: Coach should not make a direct pass to the offensive player. Coach should bounce the puck off the wall so X2 does not get a clean pick-up. Defending players must then react to the situation. Here is where the coaching begins. Teach D2 how you want to close on the puck (e.g., stick-on-stick, up the wall, stick first-body second, etc.). Teach F1 how to back up the puck and D1 how to play net-front. The object is to force a loose puck, have F1 secure the loose puck and break it out to the coach. Once this happens, defending players should return to the net-front and reorganize themselves and then attack X1 as coach fires the puck into the alternating corner. Have X2 return to his or her original corner and wait for another repetition.

This is a great drill for easily teaching the finer points of defensive-zone play. If you’re teaching layers, zone or man-on-man, you can instruct players on these concepts with this drill.

Equipment: One net, one puck.

Progression: Add a second player in each corner; add defensive wingers to teach positional play and defending versus high rolls.

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