The biggest predictor of success is preparation.
In hockey, this mean what you do before you ever touch the puck. It’s about how your prepare and set up the conditions for your puck-touches. In this video and post we are going to look at one strategy called “working-up.”
“Working-up” is a pre-puck touch movement that allows players to be dangerous as soon as they touch the puck. Done properly, players are attacking with speed into a dangerous area that makes the defense have to react.
It’s not enough to get the puck and then do something.
If you wait for the puck then make decisions and execute, you’ll never process the game at a high enough rate to play where or how you want. The best players play in the future and are steps ahead of the competition.
Players need to prepare for their puck touch so they can make the most of each one. That usually means attacking or protecting the puck as soon as it hits their stick.
As a coach I stress (1) good habits of scanning and shoulder checking before getting the puck, (2) making up your mind what you’re going to do once it hits your stick, before you even receive the puck, and (3) scanning and preparing for the next touch as soon as the puck is passed off your stick.
As my friend Jack Han says, “the first touch makes the play.”
My question to challenge you… how do you prepare for your puck touches? How do you coach your players to prepare for their puck touches?