Every player loves having the puck on their stick.
If you polled 100 players if they like playing with the puck vs playing without it, 100% would agree playing with the puck is more fun. Yet in the defensive zone, many players have a terrible habit of throwing pucks away.
At worst it’s a turnover to the other team. At best it’s a 50/50 puck race after going glass and out. Thrown-away pucks from the defensive zone are almost always situations that go against your team’s chance of driving play and winning.
Yet how do coaches get in the way enough to promote better decisions?
Rather than players panicking once they touch the puck they should be comfortable holding onto the puck and making a quality hockey decision. How do we allow them the mental tools to avoid throwing the puck away?
2-Steps is a rule that is used in the defensive zone to add poise and help make good decisions with the puck rather than tossing it away. The reason it’s so effective is that it adds a pause between thinking and executing.
That’s poise on the puck.
Very quickly you will begin to notice improved decision quality in your team. After a few reminders, your players will start to enforce two steps for you when a teammate forgets. This positive peer pressure starts in the defensive zone but quickly spreads to the rest of the ice.
Adding the pause to their toolkit is a freeing experience for players. When players understand they won’t be yelled at for trying to make a better play or settling for going glass and out, they build confidence.
If a player comes to the bench after a panicked decision, all a coach has to do is calmly raise two fingers and say “two steps.” It’s as simple as that.
What follows are fewer turnovers, better decisions, and more possession time for our team. All are ingredients pushing our players towards success.