Posted by Greg Carter
As the season turns the corner and the standings start to tighten up, players and coaches know that the ticket to the tournament lies in scoring goals. Great defense is important, but you have to score to win the big prize. Here are a few tips to help you find the back of the net in your next game.
Pick a plate. If you ever watch skills competitions there are plates or bulls eyes in each corner that serve as targets for the all-stars to hit. When the pucks hits the plate they either fall off or break. It’s a fun way to show the impact and importance of picking a corner when shooting to score. Next time you are coming down the ice and have a chance to score, rather than firing right at the logo on the goaltenders sweater, think about picking a corner, and blowing up that plate!
Lateral movement. This is important at all levels of the game, but especially at the youth levels where if you can learn it young, you are bound to score a ton of goals. We see this a lot, especially on rebounds, where the puck will bounce from the goaltender right onto the stick of an attacking forward, but rather than moving right or left, the player shoots it right back into the goaltender. Practice moving the puck across your body to both the left and right and before too long it will become second nature to move laterally. And to score more goals!
Pass the puck. Great goal scorers know that they can’t do it alone. Passing the puck to teammates and then moving to open space for the return pass is one of the most effective ways to score goals. If the goalie only has one player to focus on they have a better chance of stopping the puck. Once you start involving other players and the goalie starts moving in their crease, space opens up and you will find more net to shoot at. Pass the puck and skate hard for the return pass or rebound.
Get to the net. This one seems obvious and easy, but the more youth hockey games I watch the more I realize that you can’t instruct players enough when it comes to getting to the net. Whether you are looking for a pass or a rebound, you need to be near the net…not on your way there or skating passed it below the goal line. In any given game there are going to be a lot of puck scrambles, rebounds and passes that happen in and around the crease, and the only way you are going to capitalize is if you skate hard and get there.
Good luck incorporating these tips into your game and have fun scoring your next big goal!