Wednesday Drill of the Week: 2v1 to 4v2

2v1 to 4v2

Another transition drill, this one focuses on the offensive side of the transition game.

The drill starts with X1 and X2 (in black) crossing and attacking one D 2v1. Play out the rush.

On a whistle, X3 takes off with a puck. X1 and X2, as well as the D that played the 2v1 join him to create a 4 man rush. Two new D (in green) gap from the red line and play the rush 4v2. This rush plays out. On the whistle, two new players cross and attack 2v1. X3 provides backpressure on the 2v1 rush. The drill becomes continuous.

Areas of emphasis are quick transition from the 2v1 to 4v2. On the whistle, every player should be looking to quickly jump and attack on the change of direction. The D should activate quickly and look to get up ice to create a four man front.

Wednesday Drill of the Week: 3v2 +1 O/D Transition

3v2 +1 OD Transition

A multiple element transition drill. The drill starts with the three black XF’s and one black X D attacking the two red OD with the one red OF backchecking. On a pass, the three XFs attack 3v2 with a backchecker and X D trying to jump into the play (3v2 +1/1 rush). The rush plays out, then goes into a 3v3 down low (X D is done after rush).

Two new D wait in NZ, two red F’s move into the zone above the circles (they cannot be defended). When the red team gets the puck, they pass to the forwards and active a new 3v2 +1/1 rush (down low F joins, weak D activates and one XF backchecks). It becomes a continuous drill.

The down low forward has a larger workload in this drill – two rushes and one backcheck. It is important that everyone works through the down low segment of the drill. Additionally, you could move the “safe zone” forwards back to the far blue line to create a longer skate for them.

Focus is on the transition elements of the drill, encourage players to be active participants and anticipate getting up ice quickly as the play moves from defense to offense to defense to offense…

Transition Hockey

These days, the sport of hockey is all about Transition. Offensive Transition, Defensive Transition, Transition Transition. OK, I’m kidding about that last one, but winning hockey games often comes down to winning the transition game.

Offensive Transition is the action of moving from defense to offense. It involves quickly changing directions and attacking off of a loose puck or a turnover. Players must recognize the opportunity to generate a quick attack or an odd-man rush. Offensive Transition often involves a quick first step and explosive speed, as well as defensemen jumping into the play and players using open ice. Head-manning the puck, area passes, indirect passes, slant support, and middle lane drive are all important concepts to master in Offensive Transition. Teams that are good in Offensive Transition attempt to catch their opponents moving the wrong direction and take advantage of players caught up ice.

Just as O-Transition involves moving to offense, so does D-Transition involve the process of moving from Offense to Defense. Similar to O-Transition, Transition to Defense involves a quick first step and explosive speed. D-Transition also involves effort and will power. Communication, awareness, play recognition, stick skills and tie-ups are crucial to successful Defensive Transition. Teams that excel in defensive transition play with a sense of urgency and are effective at reading the play and taking away the most dangerous option for their opponents. In D-Transition, it is often not the first or second man back that makes the difference, but the third or the fourth player making an effort or failing to pick up their player on the backcheck that is the difference between a harmless rush and a goal against.

Why is Transition hockey becoming so critical in hockey today? Players are getting faster, stronger, and more explosive and the game is moving up and down the ice at a quicker pace. This has forced teams to be better at defending the rush, which has resulted in more opportunities to transition to offense. The transition game is similar to the chicken/egg argument – does good D-Transition lead to O-Transition or is it the other way around? Either way, it is imperative that teams excel in both areas and have great first step quickness and explosive speed.