The biggest predictor of success is preparation.
In hockey, that means what you do before you hit the puck. It’s about how you prepare and set the conditions for your puck touches. In this video and article, we’ll take a look at a strategy called “tune-up.”
“Working-up” is a contact movement before the puck that allows players to be dangerous as soon as they touch the puck. Done well, players attack quickly in a dangerous area that forces the defense to react.
It’s not enough to just grab the puck and do something.
If you wait for the puck and then make decisions and execute, you’ll never be processing the game at a pace high enough to play where and how you want to. The best players play in the future and have a leg up on the competition.
Players need to prepare for their puck touch so they can get the most out of each of them. This usually means attacking or protecting the puck as soon as it hits its stick.
As a coach, I emphasize (1) good habits of sweeping and checking shoulders before getting the puck, (2) deciding what to do once it hits your stick, even before receiving the puck, and (3)) scans and prepares for the next contact as soon as the puck has passed your club.
As my friend Jack Han says, “first contact makes the game.”
My question to challenge you … how do you prepare for your puck hits? How do you train your players to prepare for their puck touches?