Hockey is a sport that requires the player to have excellent skating, shooting, and passing skills. But one skill that often sets great players apart from the rest is their ability to deke. If you’re new to hockey or just want to learn more about the game, understanding what a deke is can help you master this essential move.
A deke, short for “decoy,” is a deceptive move that a player uses to fake out their opponent. It involves quick changes in direction, speed, or body position that make it difficult for the defender to read and react. A successful deke can create space on the ice, open up scoring opportunities, and even lead to game-winning goals.
Dekeing is both an offensive and defensive skill, as it allows the player to evade checks and strip pucks away from their opponents. However, mastering the art of deking takes time and practice. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you understand what a deke is and how to execute it effectively. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, there’s always room to improve your deking skills and take your game to the next level.
The Definition of a Deke in Hockey
A deke, short for “decoy,” is a hockey move where the player with possession of the puck fakes out an opponent by feinting a shot or pass in one direction and quickly moving the puck in another direction. The purpose of deking is to create separation from defending players, open up shooting lanes, or create passing opportunities.
Dekeing combines elements of deception, misdirection, and skill, making it an exciting part of the game that can change the course of a play or even a game.
The Origin of the Term “Deke”
“The origin of the word “deke” comes from old-time barnstorming teams in Canada. Fans were always impressed with players who made an immediate impact on their team and eventually referred to those who could accomplish this as ‘decoys.’ With time, this was shortened to “deke,” which we still use today.” -Troy Smith, former professional hockey player
The term “deke” has been used in Canadian hockey slang since at least the 1950s. It stems from the word “decoy,” or a lure meant to distract or draw away attention. In hockey, the deke allows the player to deceive and distract defenders, much like a decoy would.
The Definition of a Deke in Modern Hockey
In modern hockey, the deke involves quick stickhandling skills and changes of direction to confuse and elude opponents. Players will often use body movements such as head fakes or shoulder drops to add to the illusion and further disorient their opponents.
Some common types of dekes in modern hockey include:
- The toe drag: A maneuver where the player drags the puck with their toe to avoid a defender
- The backhand deke: A move where the player fakes a forehand shot and quickly moves the puck to their backhand side, often catching the goaltender off-guard
- The one-handed deke: Using only one hand on the stick, the player performs quick stickhandling movements to dodge a defending player or goaltender
A successful deke can be a game-changer. It can create a scoring opportunity for the offensive team or turn what could have been a breakaway for the opposing team into an offensive rush in the other direction.
The Importance of Mastering Dekeing Skills
“Deking is such an important part of hockey because it’s all about deception. The best players in the world are masters of trickery; they can make people believe things that aren’t true.” -Bobby Orr, former professional hockey player
Mastering deking skills should be a priority for any serious hockey player. Being able to deceive defenders and create space opens up opportunities for goal-scoring chances and better overall playmaking. Not only does dekeing allow players to get around defenders, but it also takes pressure off teammates by giving them more time and space to make plays.
While dekeing is flashy and exciting, it requires practice and skill to execute successfully during a game. Players need to work on their stickhandling abilities, footwork, body positioning, and reaction time to become effective at using deception to gain an advantage over opponents.
Skills such as these take time to develop, but once mastered, they can elevate a player’s game and make them much harder to defend against. And whether you’re playing in amateur leagues or at the national level, becoming a master of dekes can help you become a better player overall.
The Importance of Dekeing in Hockey
Creating Scoring Opportunities
Dekeing is an essential technique for any hockey player looking to score goals. By using a deke, also known as a fake-out or a head-fake, players can mislead the opposing team’s goalie and create scoring opportunities. Dekeing allows a player to maneuver past defenders with ease, giving them an open shot at the net.
Players who incorporate deking moves into their gameplay are often more successful in scoring than those who rely solely on speed and power. According to former NHL player and Stanley Cup champion Ray Bourque, “The biggest difference between scorers and non-scorers is often the ability to make a move and finish. Dekeing can give you that extra edge.”
In addition to creating scoring opportunities, dekeing can also draw penalties from opposing players. When a defender commits a penalty while trying to stop a deking attack, they risk being sent to the penalty box, leaving their team shorthanded. This can significantly shift the game’s momentum towards the offensive team and provide them with an advantage.
“Using a good deke not only helps you get past your opponent, but it draws penalties too,” says retired NHL player and coach Dave King. “It’s another way to win games.”
Maintaining Possession of the Puck
Another crucial aspect of deking is its ability to help players maintain possession of the puck. During a deking attack, a skilled player can use quick movements and deceptive fakes to keep control of the puck and avoid turnovers. Through effective dekeing techniques, players can evade checkers and protect the puck until they find an opening to shoot or pass the puck.
“Deking can help keep control of the puck, which is critical for a team’s offensive success,” says former NHL player and assistant coach Todd Richards. “Having possession of the puck means your team has the opportunity to create scoring chances.”
Confusing Opposing Players and Goalies
One of the primary goals of dekeing is to confuse the opposing players, including the goalie. By using smooth stickhandling moves, players can make it difficult for defenders to anticipate their next move, giving them an advantage. Dekeing puts pressure on goalies, forcing them to react quickly and potentially make mistakes that result in goals being scored against their team.
In his book, “Breaking Away: A Harrowing True Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph,” retired NHL player Patrick O’Sullivan describes the importance of strategic deking, stating, “The whole point of head fakes was to throw opponents off balance. When done correctly, you could make a defender bite so hard he’d actually stumble or go down on one knee. The same principle applied with goaltenders – if you got ’em moving in the wrong direction, there was a good chance they were going to get burned.”
“You need to have enough deception in your move to sell people and believe what you’re doing.” -Former NHL player Teemu Selanne
Dekeing is a vital skill in hockey that can provide numerous benefits to individuals and teams. It not only helps create scoring opportunities and draws penalties but also assists in keeping possession of the puck and confusing opponents. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, mastering dekeing can elevate your game and lead to greater success on the ice.
The Different Types of Dekes in Hockey
As a hockey player, being able to deke is an important skill that can help you get past opposition defensemen and score goals. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of dekes in hockey, including the basic deke, toe drag, backhand deke, and one-handed deke.
The Basic Deke
The basic deke involves faking out a defender by shifting your weight from one foot to the other while keeping control of the puck. To perform this move, start on your forehand and then shift the puck over to your backhand side. Next, pretend like you’re going to shoot or pass the puck to one side, but instead, quickly bring it to the other side and skate around the defender.
“The most important thing when it comes to deking is timing. You need to be able to anticipate what the defender is going to do and make your move at the right time.” -Bobby Orr
The Toe Drag
The toe drag is a more advanced type of deke that requires excellent stickhandling skills. To perform a toe drag, skate towards the defender with the puck on your forehand side. Then, use the toe of your stick blade to pull the puck back towards your skates. This will cause the defender to lunge forward, giving you the opportunity to skate around them. According to NHL veteran Patrik Elias, “the key to pulling off a successful toe drag is making sure you have confidence in yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things and push yourself outside of your comfort zone.”
The Backhand Deke
The backhand deke is a great way to catch defenders off guard. To perform this move, start on your backhand side and then quickly shift the puck over to your forehand. Then, pretend like you’re going to take a shot or pass the puck in one direction, but instead, bring it back towards the other side and skate around the defender. According to NHL player Jonathan Toews, “the key to pulling off a successful backhand deke is to sell the fake as much as possible. You need to make the defender believe that you’re going to do something else with the puck before making your move.”
The One-Handed Deke
The one-handed deke is a flashy move that can be effective when executed properly. To perform this move, skate towards the defender with the puck on your forehand side. Then, use your free hand to push the defender’s stick away while simultaneously pulling the puck towards your body with one hand. This will create space for you to skate around the defender and make a play. NHL superstar Connor McDavid believes that “the key to performing a one-handed deke successfully is being willing to take chances. Sometimes you have to get creative if you want to beat top-level defenders.”
By mastering these different types of dekes, you’ll become a more versatile and dangerous player on the ice. Remember to practice them regularly and always keep an eye out for opportunities to execute these moves during games.
How to Practice and Improve Your Dekeing Skills
Setting Up Drills to Practice Dekes
If you want to improve your deking skills, the best way to do so is by practicing different types of dekes. Try setting up different drills that focus on improving specific areas in which you want to excel.
One drill you can try involves using cones or other obstacles to simulate defenders. This will help you work on maneuvering around them and executing quick dekes on the fly.
You can also set up one-on-one or two-on-two scenarios with teammates to practice reading their movements and anticipating how to get past them. Focus on changing directions quickly and using body fakes to create space to make a move.
Don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to setting up drills. The more realistic you can make them, the better prepared you’ll be for actual game situations.
Watching and Learning from Professional Players
Another great way to improve your dekeing skills is by studying professional players who excel at this aspect of the game. Watch highlight reels or full games featuring elite forwards such as Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, or Patrick Kane.
Pay attention to their body positioning, hand movements, and footwork when they’re making moves on defenders. Take note of what seems to give them an edge over opponents and try to incorporate those same techniques into your own game.
You can also find instructional videos online that break down different dekes and show you how to execute them properly. Some popular channels include HockeyShare and Coach Jeremy.
“When I first started playing hockey, my dad taught me some pretty basic moves, like going between the legs and through guys’ sticks and stuff like that. As I got to higher levels, it was more about reading what the defender does and trying to make him commit one way. Then you take advantage of that commitment.” -Sidney Crosby
Remember that learning from others is a valuable tool for improvement, so don’t be afraid to ask coaches or experienced players for feedback on your deking skills.
- Set realistic goals for yourself when practicing dekes, such as mastering a specific move or improving your accuracy in game situations.
- Don’t be discouraged by failures or mistakes – use them as opportunities to learn and improve.
- Practicing your deking skills can also help boost your confidence on the ice, which will translate into greater success during games.
If you’re looking to enhance your dekeing abilities, focus on setting up drills that target areas where you need improvement, and study and learn from the techniques used by elite players. With diligent practice and attention to detail, you can hone your deking skills and become a dominant force on the ice.
Mastering the Art of Dekeing in Game Situations
Reading Opposing Players and Goalies
A deke is a move in ice hockey where the player with possession of the puck fakes out an opposing player or goaltender to create space or scoring opportunities.
But to effectively execute a successful deke, you need to read your opponents first. Anticipate their moves and tendencies when defending so that you can exploit their weaknesses. Keep your eyes on the opposition’s feet and body movement to determine whether they are preparing for a hit, a poke check or attempting to anticipate your next step.
You must also be aware of which way the goalie’s stick is angled. If it faces to your left, you may want to try a right-handed deke, whereas if the stick angles toward your right, consider using a left-handed deke instead.
“In pro hockey now, everyone studies video clips of each other, so a lot depends on knowing what players are going to do,” former NHL player Wayne Gretzky said in an interview concerning reading opponents.
Timing and Execution of Dekes
The timing and execution of your deke are crucial when mastering this skill. A poorly timed deke will result in a lost opportunity, while poor execution can lead to losing possession of the puck.
To practice your timing, train with someone who will simulate game situations as well as movements from various angles and speeds. Additionally, repetition brings mastery, so repeat your training exercises until executing the perfect deke becomes second nature.
Regarding deception execution, learning the importance of balance in performing double- and triple-dekes over one or two steps is valuable information. Proper usage of weight transfers to disguise certain movements like changing direction can make all the difference in executing successful dekes. A good way to improve your balance while performing a deke is to keep your head up and maintain control of the puck with one hand (opportunities for protection, particularly if someone is trying to poke at it) while using the other hand to fake out the opponent.
“To be realistic, I don’t think there’s any hockey player that can honestly say he hasn’t tried to deke somebody at one time or another,” professional ice hockey coach Dick Irvin noted about timing.
Mastering the art of deking requires you to put yourself in more challenging situations by practicing game-like simulations, analyzing your opponents, and paying attention to balance, weight transfers, and stick handling.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Dekeing in Hockey
Overuse of Dekes
In hockey, a deke is a move used by players to fake out an opponent and create space. However, overusing this move can lead to predictability on the ice. Repetitive dekes allow defenders to anticipate incoming moves and effectively neutralize them.
The key to effective deking is variation. Players must mix up their approaches and use different types of moves to keep opponents guessing. Incorporating fakes, head fakes, and changes of direction can help make players more unpredictable and less susceptible to being shut down on the ice.
“It’s about understanding when to use certain moves, not just going for it every time you have the puck,” says former NHL player Mike Modano.
Another mistake that many players make when deking is telegraphing their moves. This means giving away the intended direction or type of move through body language, positioning, or timing of movement.
Telegraphing a deke gives defenders valuable information they can use to position themselves better to intercept passes or prevent shots on goal. To avoid this, players should practice keeping their movements subtle and using timing and tempo changes to throw off defenders’ expectations.
“The best way to telegraph a useful punch is to step grandly forward. Practice moderation in anything that requires strength.” – Kazushi Sakuraba
Not Protecting the Puck
Deking can be an extremely effective tool for creating attacking opportunities, but without proper puck protection, it can also cause turnovers and other defensive breakdowns. A common mistake made by many players is not shielding the puck enough during dekes, leaving it exposed and vulnerable to interception or poke checks.
To avoid losing possession of the puck during dekes, players must remember to keep their body between the defender and the puck at all times. This means using the body to shield the puck and maintaining a low center of gravity to gain leverage on opponents while maneuvering through them.
“When I was young, my idol was Bobby Orr. He was strong and balanced, making him nearly impossible to knock off the puck.” – Wayne Gretzky
Effective deking in hockey requires variation, subtlety, and proper puck protection. By avoiding these common mistakes, players can increase their chances of success on the ice and create more opportunities for scoring goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a deke in hockey?
A deke is a move in hockey where a player fakes out an opponent by making a sudden change in direction or speed. It is used to create space, evade defenders, and make plays.
What are some common deke moves used in hockey?
Some common deke moves used in hockey include the toe drag, the fake shot, the backhand, the between-the-legs, and the spin-o-rama. These moves require quick hands and feet, and can be used in a variety of situations on the ice.
How can mastering dekes improve your hockey game?
Mastering dekes can improve your hockey game by giving you more options on the ice. Being able to fake out defenders can create more scoring opportunities, and give you more time and space to make plays. It also makes you a more unpredictable player, which can be an advantage in competitive games.
What are some tips for executing dekes effectively?
Some tips for executing dekes effectively include keeping your head up, practicing your footwork and stickhandling skills, staying low and balanced, and being patient. It’s also important to read the defender and take advantage of their positioning and movements.
Are there any risks associated with attempting a deke during a game?
Yes, there are risks associated with attempting a deke during a game. If you are not successful in faking out the defender, you may lose possession of the puck or leave yourself vulnerable to a hit. It’s important to weigh the risks and benefits of attempting a deke, and make smart decisions on the ice.