How To Defend In Hockey

How To Defend In Hockey
Defending in hockey is crucial for a team’s success. It requires a combination of skill, strategy, and teamwork. Here are five supporting facts on how to defend effectively in hockey:

1. Positioning: Proper positioning is key to defending in hockey. Players should understand their responsibilities and be in the right place at the right time. This involves keeping a good gap between the attacker and the defender, staying between the attacker and the goal, and always being aware of the opposing players’ movements.

2. Stick Position: A well-positioned stick can disrupt passing lanes and prevent the opponent from getting a clear shot on goal. Defenders should aim to have an active stick that denies passing opportunities, deflects shots, and disrupts the opponent’s stickhandling.

3. Body Position: By maintaining a low and balanced stance, defenders can effectively defend against the opponent’s advances. They should use their body to create obstacles, maintain a tight gap, and force the attacker to the outside, away from dangerous scoring areas.

4. Anticipation: Good defenders anticipate the opponent’s next move before it happens. By reading the play and understanding the opponent’s tendencies, defenders can make smart decisions and react quickly to intercept passes, block shots, or disrupt the opponent’s movements.

5. Communication: Effective communication among defenders is essential. Players need to constantly communicate with each other, using verbal and non-verbal cues to coordinate defensive strategies, switch assignments, or warn teammates about potential threats.

FAQs about defending in hockey:

1. What are some common defensive strategies in hockey?
– Common strategies include man-to-man defense, zone defense, and defensive trapping. Each strategy has its own strengths and can be adapted based on the team’s playing style and the specific game situation.

2. How can defenders work on their positioning?
– Defenders can work on their positioning by understanding their role and responsibilities within the team’s defensive system. Practicing specific game-like scenarios, such as defending against odd-man rushes or defending in the corners, can also help improve positioning.

3. How important is stick checking in defending?
– Stick checking is a crucial defensive skill as it allows defenders to disrupt the opponent’s stickhandling, intercept passes, and prevent shots on goal. It requires good hand-eye coordination, timing, and active stick positioning.

4. What role does physicality play in defending?
– Physicality can be a valuable asset when defending in hockey. Proper body checking, angling, and physical engagement can help slow down opponents, win back possession, and create turnovers. However, it is important to play within the rules and avoid unnecessary penalties.

5. How can defenders improve their anticipation skills?
– Improving anticipation skills comes with experience and a deep understanding of the game. Defenders can study opponents’ tendencies, watch game footage, and actively focus on reading the play during practices and games to enhance their anticipation skills.

6. Is defending in hockey only the responsibility of defensemen?
– No, defending in hockey is a collective effort involving both defensemen and forwards. All players on the ice need to contribute to defensive play, from backchecking and blocking shots to supporting teammates in defensive zones.

7. How can communication enhance defensive play?
– Communication among defenders is essential to ensure everyone is on the same page, maintain proper coverage, and react effectively to opponent movements. Clear and consistent communication can help avoid defensive breakdowns and improve overall team defense.


Defending in hockey requires a combination of positioning, stickwork, body control, anticipation, and communication. By mastering these skills and working together as a team, players can effectively defend against opponents and contribute to their team’s success.