Hockey is one of the most popular team-games all over the world. Among different types of hockey, ice hockey is the most popular type in North America and Canada. Many Americans take hockey as their careers.
You might want to take hockey as your career or just want to play it only for fun. This article is designed to work as a self-guide for you. After reading this, you will know how to play hockey like a pro.
How to Play Hockey Like a Pro?
Firstly, we shall talk about the game and its field. Later we will discuss positioning in the field, rules, and the skills you need to play hockey.
General discussion about hockey
Ice hockey is one of the popular types of hockey. Let’s see about ice hockey.
In this game, two teams face each other on the ice. Each team has 20 players. Among them, 12 are strikers, 6 are defenders, and 2 are goalies. But only 3 strikers, 2 defensemen, and 1 goaltender play on the ice at a time.
The objective of the game:
The objective of this game is to shoot the puck using your hockey stick into the opponent’s net. It is called a goal. The team scores more goals will win the match. The hockey stick is a J shaped stick. And puck is a rounded flat rubber object of 2-inch diameter.
The game is played for 60 minutes. The time is divided among 4 periods where each period is of 15 minutes. There is a gap for 2 minutes between 2 periods and also 15 minutes a halftime break.
The ice field is 200 feet long and 68 feet wide in North America, but the international rule is 60m × 30m. There are a centre red line and one red goal-line at each end. There are 2 semi-circles at the midpoint of each goal line called the crease.
Two blue lines divide the rink into 3 parts- centre neutral zone and 2 defending zones. There are 9 face-off spots on the ice- 1 at the centre, 4 in the neutral zone near the blue lines, and 4 others in the defending zone. The referee drops the puck in the centre spot, and the game begins.
Rules & regulations
Hockey has some rules and regulations to keep the game fast and fair. 2 referees and 2 linesman work to maintain the rules.
If a striker enters into the defence zone of the opponent before entering the puck, it is called offside. If there is an offside, the lineman stops the game. The game again starts with a face-off near the blue line.
Say a player shoots the ball from his defending zone and it passes the goal line of the opposite side. If any player of the opposite team gets the puck first, it will count as icing. If icing happens, the game will start again from the face-off spot of the defending zone of the shooter.
If you make a minor foul, you have to stay out of the game for 2 minutes. The team will play with 5 players. If the opposite team makes a goal at this time, you will count in again. If you get a major penalty, you have to stay away for 5 minutes. In this case, you have to wait for the full 5 minutes. Dangerous and dirty playings are being counted as fouls.
Skills & tactics
There are some common skills, regardless of where you play in the field. By gaining these skills, you can become a real pro and dominate in the field. Firstly get your helmet, different protective pads, hockey skates, and hockey stick.
Skating is the most important skill in ice hockey. Both forward and backward skating skills are necessary. Backward skating is a must-having skill for defenders. Crossover and transition skills are needed for crucial moments. Braking and explosive start skills are needed for strikers.
Here are some tips for skating well. Firstly, keep your skating shoes as sharpened as you feel comfortable. Bend your knees and make a v shape. Keep your head up and look forward. Now, expand your legs fully and move them faster. Put your weight over your skates and try to feel light while gliding. Always keep your feet hip-wide apart from each other.
Strikers shoot the puck from near the crease into the net to make goals.
Bent a leg back and came near the ground. Keep the puck near another ate. Now flick it for a fast and accurate shot.
You have to learn to pass in both standing and gliding position. Do a quick sweep rather than slapping the puck to pass it. And try to keep it as near as ground. So it will be easier for your teammate to receive the pass.
Angle down your stick. And receive the pass using the curved bottom of the stick.
Controlling the puck:
Practice dribbling in both standing and gliding position. Keep your head up. Look forward and glide on the ice. Meanwhile, dribble the puck back and forth.
Players enter the stick from one side of the opponent-controller to steal the puck. But always keep in mind that aggressive tackling may cause you a penalty.
Playing as a-team:
The understanding between players is important for winning the game. By practising more and more, understanding between players will grow.
Positioning in the field
There are mainly 3 positions in a field. They are striking, defending, and goalkeeping. Let’s know about their job on the ice.
Goalkeeper stays in the semicircular goal-area. A goalie can use his hand, stick, and pads to stop the puck from entering into the net. If you are a goalie, always keep an eye on the puck. Move to the side of crease near the rounded black thing.
Defenders try to stop the puck from coming near to the goal-net. Try to catch your opponent strikers and steal the puck from them. Then pass it to the wingers.
2 wingers and 1 centre play as strikers. Strikers' main target is to make goals. They bring the puck to the opponent’s goal-net and shoot or flick it inside the net.
Let’s prove your ability
Now you know the rules and tactics in a nutshell, how to play hockey like a pro. Let’s go on the ice and prove your ability.