Although this post is focused on helping beginners, a lot of experienced players make these same mistakes. I'd love to pretend I'm not guilty of these offenses, but let's just say it doesn't hurt to have a friendly reminder.
Keeping the Head Down
Players who aren't used to the feeling of a ball on the end of their stick have a tendency to look down to make sure it's still there. While stick-handling is important, it's still secondary to being able to move the ball well. Think about it: the ball will always be the fastest moving and most maneuverable object on the court. If a player's eyes are constantly checking on the ball he will miss what is happening around him. On the other hand, a player with his head up can survey the scene; he can avoid defenders, see open teammates, and take cues from the goalie. A player who can set up passes will be a much better asset to his team than someone who can run fast and execute fancy toe drags.
Giving Up After Getting Burned
New players are bound to let an opponent slip by at some point, it happens. The real problem occurs when the defender doesn't pursue the ball after getting beat. Teammates tend to be more understanding if a solid effort is made to retrieve the ball after losing it. It may take time for a player to develop speed and cornering, but he can show hustle from day one. Many times a player's persistence pays off, and he is able to regain possession of the ball. In addition, a sense of personal pride is felt when a player is able to redeem himself.
Holding the Stick Too High From the Ground
One of the most basic fundamentals of hockey is keeping the stick down on the court. When it's there, passes are easier to receive, quick shots are easier to execute, and those playing defense are more likely to intercept the ball. Hockey is a fast paced sport where every second counts. Sometimes the time it takes to bring the stick from the knees to the court is enough to miss an opportunity. A blade on the court also helps hockey players stay low and maintain proper posture.
Getting Caught Out of Position
Each player on a team has a responsibly and teammates need to be able to count on one another.Part of being dependable means being at the right place at the right time. When defending, sometimes just putting a body on an opponent or hitting his stick up is enough to stop him. Even those who aren't strong shooters find goal scoring opportunities when camping out in front of the goal; some of the best assists are provided courtesy the goalie's pads. One of the best ways a player can help his teammates is by always providing a passing option.
Watching Passes to Make Sure They Connect
It is not necessary to wait around to admire a perfect pass or watch nervously to see if a shaky pass connects. Most beginners can run a lot faster when they don't have the ball, so cutting to an open area is often a good option immediately after dishing the ball. Remember, when passing to a player who is moving, make sure to lead them. Pass to where he will be, not to where is at present.
Turning Away From the Offense
In most circumstance it is not natural to face an object flying right at you, but this is hockey. Shinguards and acup are worn to protect the front of the body. When players turn their back to a shot, it leaves their calves and thighs vulnerable to abuse. Most importantly though, their eyes are taken off the play. The best bet is to face the shooter and take a ball to the shins or block it with the stick. A ball bouncing of these surfaces will be the most predictable, and often result in an easy turn over.
Carrying the Puck Too Far From the Body
Players who are still developing their stick handling skills can prevent the ball from being stolen. Keeping the body between the ball and the defender is a great way to maintain possession. By using the body as a shield a defender will be boxed out to the point he is unable to make a steal. Too many rookies hang the ball a few feet out from their body, making it easy for a defender to slap it away. The only thing a defender should be able to see is the name on the back of the jersey. And remember, body contact is OK!
Clearing the Puck In Front of the Home Goal
A player should never dump the ball in front of his own goal. It is the tendency of some beginners to get nervous and dump the ball without even looking to see who they are passing it to. They may think this is better than the alternative, but often a member of the opposing team is center ice in front of the goal, ready to receive the ball. An assist to the other team is much worse than a turn over.
I don't know if you do this or not, but I find a lot of guys that pride themselves on "hustling" chase the ball all over the floor, with no regard to their position.
The hustle is great but you should learn where you are expected to be - by all means back check and if an opportunity presents itself take advantage of it - but good teams are able to let the ball do a lot of the work because they know where each other are going to be. If you are running all over the place you'll just get in the way.
In terms of crowding the net - I find in ball hockey sometimes being right on top of the net all the time isn't good. The rebounds typically come out a little further - so you want to be out a little higher. Except of course if you are simply trying to screen the goalie than by all means get your arse right in there. But I found I started potting a lot more goals by going to the net, drawin the dman with me, but then taking a few steps back to find a soft spot - you're open for both a quick pass or rebounds. More options than being the guy that's strictly being a garbage man in the crease.
playing defense is fairly easy, strip the ball, play positional (force the shooter to the outside), playing to your goalie's strength, clearing out the trash (forwards and rebounds) and the very important thing, when you have the ball in your own zone, LOOK UP, I can't stress this enough, clearing the ball is a stopgap, you need to hit your teammates, learn to play it off boards and read offensive potential (not only will it generate scoring chances, it makes you better in your own end), in the offensive zone, have a high slot and a medium slot and try to cover board clearing passes as they roll out
I agree with ndrew029. A great/poor outlet pass can make or break your rush, so I try to work on my passing game as much as possible. Tape-to-tape, but I also work on my saucer/flip passes. Often I pass to an open area where I want my teammate to go rather than where he is standing. Like pool players, I use the wall a lot to bank passes, or to get the ball out of the zone. And like ndrew029 says, it's not a one man team. No one likes a ball hog so work on that passing.
As for defensive zone coverage, I use my stick a lot to block passing lanes...with one hand on the stick and laying it almost flat along the ground in the passing lane sometimes to block a pass going across in front of me. I try not to screen my goalie or I'll get an earful. Stay with the shooter and try to force him to the outside.
every wensday we play ball hockey and we use the orange hard balls but when i go to tip it i can never get it right, whats the best angle or positions or any sort of tips that can help me perfect this skill?
i play Road hockey nearly every day for about 3-5 hours. I practise tipping a lot of the time, it is one of those skills that takes a lot of work and practise.
what i did is just have your friend shoot the ball from way back and try to get a stick on it, then have him gradually move closer and closer. when i started practising i started from standing at the side of the net until i built the eye hand co-ordination to actually stand in front.
something im now really good at is screening the goalie, having my friend slap shot the ball at the net and then getting a stick on it to deflect it.
here's my warning though, I've been sacked many times, yes it hurts.. and yes it sometimes does make you want to cry.. or stop.. but just remember to jump next time..
My best way-I'd be camped out in front and have my stick at belt level and when its coming just try to deflect it alittle bit by smacking down at it.It doesn't have to change direction alot for a good deflection.It's good to practice that move.Don't need a goalie or even a net just have a buddy take wrist or snapshots at you and try to get your hand to eye coordination down.Always tell him to keep the shots at waist level.Any higher and its close to being a high stick.
With a net behind you, have someone repeatedly throw the ball at your private parts. You must keep both hands on the stick at all times and no ducking or moving out of the way is permitted...................and this must be done while in the nude. You'll soon get the hang of it.
For the Goalies
I found a lot of it is natural ability and reflexes. If you have that then there are two other things you need to remember. First, staying deep in your net is suicidal. You have to cut down angles. I would come out quite a few paces if an odd man chance was developing. The d-man's job is take away the pass. If he does his job, you come out and there's no angle for them to shoot at. If he makes a nice pass, you live with it. If he tries to go around you, pokecheck or scramble back. Don't go down! Of course you need to have confidence and develop trust with your defenders to not allow the pass or you are screwed right from the beginning.
Here's a couple pieces of advice from a guy who played for a long time and has played in National tournaments many moons ago.
1. Don't do what feels good for you.
2. Get out of the crease and stay out.
3. Use your body as much as possible
4. Keep your hands out and active as they are invaluable in dek.
5. Work on lateral movement
Here's the reasons why for each.
Most goalies feel very secure deep in the net. They know where the net is, the posts are they feel they have to move less. But...you'll get beat more.
The ball travels a lot faster than a puck. It also doesn't travel in straight lines, it curves, dips and dives. Very unpredictable. The deeper you are the more net you show laterally, quality dek players can snipe corners and posts easily. Because the ball curves, dips and dives, you need to be as close to the point of the change in direction that is feasibly possible. That means you need to at every chance you get, be at or above the top of the crease.
By doing this it will allow you to rely more upon your body to make the saves with less reaching and stabbing at shots, which inevitably will not be where you think they will be, because the ball dips, dives and curves.
That being said you will need good hands, because you're not going to be able to be out a top the crease all the time and the ball will still dip and dive away from you.
Also, dek hockey is an east-west game. Less north-south. So your ability to traverse the crease left-right on your feet and be planted and able to make saves is paramount. Also, since we've now told you to stay atop the crease, you've got a little further to travel.