Ice hockey, just like any other sports game, has its own strategies and tactics. It’s not only skating and cashing the puck. Every situation must be evaluated and coach and the players needs to choose the right strategy to win the game. Players need to think what to do each time and what the best solution is. Although tactics of the game is very complicated, because there are many methods that can also be mixed, there are some that are used very often. So let’s take a closer look at some of the most common strategies of ice hockey.
The first tactic is forecheck. Basically it is defensive play in offensive zone. The aim of this strategy is to make strain to the opposite teams defenseman so the players could regain the control of the puck. Usually it is used in situation when there is need to recover the puck after a rebound or after turnover. It can be either aggressive or conservative. The aggressive strategy is more suitable for fast players with great balance. The conservative strategy can also be used by not so agile players.
The next strategy is cycling. It is typical offensive strategy. That means the forwards are trying to move the puck along the boards from the defensive zone into the offensive zone. Then there is a chance of scoring. Usually in this strategy three forwards are working together by making a triangle. That makes it possible for one of the forwards to head for the goal, but this strategy also includes other ways.
Then there is gaining the zone. It is the most common strategy in ice hockey, but it is very complicated for the players to use it if opponents are protecting themselves wisely. It means gaining control over the puck, although it is crossing opponents’ defensive zone. In this situation players could also use the foarcheck strategy, but then they are not really gaining the zone. Player needs to get the control of the puck and get into opponents end at the same time to succeed.
Checking is one of the most popular defensive strategies. The aim of it is to separate the defenseman from the puck. It can be done in many ways. For example, there is body checking which means that player is using his whole body to separate the defenseman form the puck. Also there can be hip checking, shoulder checking, poke checking etc. It all depends on the way and parts of body used to gain the puck.
Clearing the puck is another defensive method. That means player relieves any sustained pressure by the opposite workforce. Payers can clear the puck just to relieve that strain on their workforce, without even trying to take the control. It often ends up with icing, so players must be careful.
Of course this is just a small part of ice hockey strategies. These are the ones that are used in typical games, but to win, coaches and players must know how to mix the basic strategies and think several steps forward. Both teams are aware of the basic strategies, so it is important to not let opponent guess what they are trying to do.