Posted by Greg Carter
In a recent article we talked about Alex Ovechkin’s pursuit of Wayne Gretzky’s all-time scoring record and lessons youth hockey players can learn from watching this chase unfold over the next few years. After a dozen or so games this season, the excitement has only continued to build.
While scoring goals garner the headlines – and in the case of Ovechkin another notch closer the record – assists and great passes can be equally impressive and exciting.
Great players know where teammates are on the ice and great passers have the ability to put the puck on their stick: stretch passes that spring players into the offensive zone to split the defensemen are just as exciting as the goal itself. Tic-tac-toe passes that force the goalie to move laterally across the goal crease allowing for an easy tap in are as pretty as it gets.
Saucer passes across a sprawling defenseman’s stick landing perfectly flat on a linemate’s stick should be an ESPN Top 10 every time. Full-stride tape-to-tape passes heading up ice that leave a defender spinning like a top, is just as fun to watch as the puck crossing the goal line.
Precision passing is a skill that just like any other, requires practice, practice, and more practice. Youth hockey players should focus on the fundamentals of passing such as keeping your head up and proper form and follow through. Mechanics are important to passing, but one of the greatest passers said it best ‘great passers don’t miss the tape, just like great goal scorers don’t miss the net.’
As your youth hockey season gets underway, focus on making great passes – precision passes – every time. Too often practices and drills lose their flow because of errant passes. The drill stops, players get back in line and the opportunity is lost. A great coach once said that players need to work as hard as making a great pass as they do taking a great shot on a goal.
This season pass with purpose and pass with precision!
Thanks for reading and good luck with the start of your season! If you are starting to think about youth hockey schools for the Summer of 2022, so are we! Stay tuned HERE for dates and locations!