Whether you know it or not, every time you hit the ice you have an extra player on your team who is always willing to pass you the puck and help out, the boards!.The boards can be an effective tool in hockey, but like all your other teammates, the boards can’t help you out unless you actually use them correctly.The boards are a neutral player that can give you a tactical advantage if you correctly and at the right time.
Bouncing the puck off the boards
- Like any skill on the ice, you need to maintain your hockey stance
- Wide base with skates just over shoulder width apart
- Shoulders square to the ice
- Head up so you can see around you
- Good knee bend for balance, low centre of gravity and control
The first thing that you should practice is firing a puck at the boards to see how much it bounces. Not all boards will react the same way especially if they are old or damaged. The puck might be more responsive and bounce back hard and fast if the boards are fairly new and lively. This allows you to judge how hard to need to hit the puck against the boards.
Angle and hight you pass the puck
The angle and hight you fire the puck against the boards will control where the puck ends up. If you use the wrong angle, the puck could be left behind you or bounce to far forward and out of your reach. Bounce the puck against the boards so it ends up in front of your stick and in your control.
This clip shows you what happens if you don’t bounce the puck at the right angle and don’t use enough power.
This clip shows what happens if you use to much power and angle to far forward.
Bouncing the puck off the boards is a great skill to use if you don’t have the confidence or chance to stick handle around an opponent. This is a great tool to have in your tool box because once you get use to how powerful you need to bounce the puck, and what angle you need to hit it off the boards to get puck the in front of your or to your teammate, its a great way to get around a defender.
Here are a few ways to use the boards to your advantage…
Miss the Net
Deliberately shoot the puck wide of the net so that it forcefully caroms off the back boards to an open teammate at the side of the net. When the shot whizzes past the goalie, he will likely follow it to the post, leaving the wide side of the net open. Since the caromed puck will move quicker than the goalie, your forward, positioned to the side of the goal, can receive this pass and have a quality scoring opportunity.
Get practice as this is a great move to use to get your team working together, making you harder to beat when playing offensively.
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