Mastering the art of deking is a crucial skill for any hockey player who wants to dominate on the ice. But what exactly is deke in hockey? It refers to a maneuver that involves faking out an opponent with fast and deceptive movements of the body, stick or both.
One of the primary objectives of deking is to create separation from the defender and move closer to the net. A well-executed deke can buy you time and space to take a shot, make a pass, or simply get around your opponent by taking advantage of their momentum.
Deke is not just about being flashy; it’s also about being strategic and unpredictable. That’s why learning how to master this essential skill can make all the difference in your performance as a hockey player.
“The best players in the world use dekes to open up opportunities that wouldn’t be available otherwise.” -Sidney Crosby
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into what deke means and explore various types of dekes, when and where they are used, along with tips to help you improve your technique.
Whether you’re a beginner who wants to add more tools to your arsenal or an experienced player looking to refine your skills, understanding the fundamentals of deking is a must-have element to elevate your game to the next level.
Understanding The Basics Of Dekeing And Its Importance In Hockey
The Definition Of Dekeing And Its Role In Hockey
In hockey, deking is a technique used by players to try and deceive their opponent in order to gain an advantage. This involves using quick movements of the stick, body feints, and fake shots to draw defenders out of position or make them commit early before making a pass or shot towards the goal.
Dekeing is used primarily by forwards who are trying to score a goal or create scoring opportunities for their teammates. It is also useful for breaking through tight defensive zones and regaining possession after losing it.
The Benefits Of Mastering Dekeing Skills
Mastery of deking skills enables a forward to become unpredictable and more effective in attacking the opposing team’s goal. Dekeing makes it harder for defenders and goalkeepers to anticipate where the puck will go next and respond accordingly. If executed with timing and precision, it can be very difficult to defend against, even for experienced players.
A well-executed deke can also draw multiple defenders towards the player, creating space for other offensive players on the ice to take advantage of.
The Importance Of Timing And Precision In Dekeing
Successful deking relies heavily on the player’s ability to read the movement of defenders and quickly adjust their own actions. Therefore, timing and precision play a crucial part in executing successful dekes. A split-second delay or a poorly timed pivot can result in loss of possession and missed scoring opportunities for the team.
Training and practice are essential to develop good deking skills, including timing and precision. Skilled players often spend hours working on honing their techniques and developing new ones that they can use during games.
The Psychological Advantage Of Successful Dekeing
Gaining a psychological advantage over the opposing team is another benefit of being a skilled deker. When a forward successfully executes a series of well-planned and perfectly executed dekes, it can have a demoralizing effect on the defenders and goalkeeper who will feel like they are always one step behind.
The pressure to defend against an unpredictable player can also create space for other forwards and increase the likelihood of drawing penalties from frustrated defenders.
“The best players in the world utilize deception as a weapon.” -Mark Messier
The Different Types Of Dekes And When To Use Them During A Game
Deke, short for “decoy,” is a basic hockey move used to deceive an opponent with the puck. There are different types of dekes that players can use during a game, each designed to create space and outmaneuver defenders.
The Toe Drag Deke And Its Effectiveness
The toe drag deke is one of the most effective moves in hockey, made famous by NHL legends like Pavel Datsyuk. In executing the toe drag, the player drags the puck slightly to the side with his toe using a quick movement. This creates a decoy to lure opponents away from the puck’s original position. Players usually do this while skating at high speeds or when being pursued by an opponent.
“A well-timed toe drag can keep the defender guessing, which may result in him overcommitting, slipping to the ice or being turned around” – Michael Wakabayashi, USA Hockey Magazine
The toe drag deke is particularly useful when attackers approach two or more oncoming defenders since it allows them to dodge their sticks efficiently, making the defense flat-footed. This kind of hesitation deceives a rival into making the incorrect movement, giving the attacker an opportunity to rush towards the net.
The Backhand Deke And When To Use It
The backhand deke leverages the player’s ability to slide their stick blade, allowing the puck to be carried on the backside of the blade instead of on its forehand side. While gliding forward, the attacker shifts the puck onto the backhand of the stick before quickly maneuvering it back to a shooting or passing position. The sudden change in direction confuses defenders who assume the puck-holder would continue on his forehand side of the stick.
“You can also see good players utilize a backhand deke when switching to their free hand with a skillful one-handed reach, that keeps defenders at bay” – Melanie Monday, Ice Hockey Systems Inc
The backhand deke works best in situations where the defender is positioned towards the player’s forehand and doesn’t expect them to switch direction abruptly. It is an essential tactic for attacking from behind the net and sneaking past defensemen who attempt to pin an attacker against the boards.
The Forehand Deke And Its Variations
The forehand deke is more common than the backhand variation since it’s easier to execute while maintaining control of the puck. In this move, the attacker fakes an intent to shoot or pass by carrying the puck on the forehand side before shifting it across their body onto the other side – which is either their backhand or the opposite side’s forehand-positioned stick blade, away from the opponent.
“Using versatility and style, a skater may add some variations to the forehand deke: look-offs, pulling-the-string toe drags, stutter-steps, etc.” – Rod Haney, Excelle Sports
In addition, attackers using the forehand deke will pull multiple fake-out moves with the puck while sidestepping a goalie during a penalty shot or breakaway opportunity for scoring opportunities. Attackers can replicate backhand dekes’ effectiveness by tilting their wrist slightly as they slide the puck forward through the blade’s curve onto the backside, deceiving goalkeepers expecting shots to enter from the forehand side only.
Mastering The Art Of Dekeing: Tips And Techniques From Hockey Pros
The Importance Of Stickhandling In Dekeing
Stickhandling is one of the most important skills a hockey player can have. It allows players to manipulate the puck quickly and effectively, making it easier to move past defenders. When it comes to deking, stickhandling plays a crucial role in creating deceptive moves that will fool your opponents.
When stickhandling in deking situations, players should focus on quick, precise movements to keep their opponent guessing. Players should practice moving the puck from side-to-side while skating, creating unpredictable patterns that make it difficult for defenders to anticipate their next move.
“The key to successful deking is being able to control the puck under pressure.” -Bobby Orr
The Role Of Body Movement In Dekeing
In addition to stickhandling, body movement is also critical when it comes to deking. Players need to be able to use their body to fake out their opponents and create open scoring opportunities. This involves using small but powerful movements like shoulder dips or feints to get defenders leaning the wrong way.
To effectively use body movement in deking situations, players need to have excellent balance and coordination. They should practice shifting their weight and positioning their bodies so they can quickly change direction or make sudden pivots as necessary during game play.
“Deking is all about deception, and you achieve that through your body language.” -Sidney Crosby
How To Read Your Opponent And React Accordingly
Lastly, effective deking requires players to be excellent readers of their opponents. By understanding how an opposing defender will react to certain moves or fakes, players can make quick decisions and capitalize on scoring opportunities.
Players should study their opponents’ tendencies and look for patterns in their defense. This will help them anticipate how to deke around defenders and create open shooting lanes. Additionally, players can use this knowledge to set up their teammates with scoring chances by passing the puck to an open player near the net.
“Deking isn’t just about beating your opponent one-on-one; it’s about creating opportunities that make your team successful.” -Wayne Gretzky
Mastering the art of deking requires a combination of stickhandling, body movement, and reading your opponents. By developing these skills through practice and consistent game play, hockey players can become more effective at creating offensive opportunities and contributing to their teams’ success.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Trying To Deke Your Opponent
Overcomplicating Your Deke And Losing Control
When trying to deke your opponent, it’s important to keep things simple. Overcomplicating your movements and making unnecessary moves will only result in losing control of the puck. Instead, focus on a few basic moves that you can execute fluidly. Quick, small fakes can help create space between you and the defender without putting yourself at risk of giving up possession.
“It’s not necessarily about looking good, it is effective deking,” -Brenden Dillon, NHL Defenseman
Telegraphing Your Deke And Giving Away Your Intentions
Telling the defensemen what move you’re going to make before you even take it will only lead to an easier time for them. They’ll be able to anticipate your movement and plan their own accordingly. By keeping your intentions hidden until the last second, you give yourself the upper hand. Try to stay aware of your body language and avoid any tells that may give away your plans.
“They know every move we’re gonna do. So try to keep the abilities there but mix it up.” -Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks Forward
Not Being Confident Enough In Your Deeking Skills
Confidence is key when it comes to being a successful hockey player. This is no different when it comes to deking your opposition. If you don’t have faith in your ability to handle the puck and make clean moves, then you’ll likely struggle with this aspect of the game. Practice your deking skills regularly so that you can build up your confidence through repetition and improve your overall performance on the ice.
“If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.” -Carl Lewis, Olympic Gold Medalist Sprinter
Deking is an essential skill for any hockey player looking to be successful on the ice. By avoiding these common mistakes and implementing some tips and tricks along the way, you can improve your overall performance and gain an edge over your opponents. Practice makes perfect, so get out there and start working on your moves!
Drills And Exercises To Improve Your Dekeing Skills And Take Your Game To The Next Level
Dekeing, also known as stickhandling, is an essential skill for any hockey player looking to improve his or her game. It involves maneuvering the puck around your opponent’s stick and then passing it or shooting it on net. This can be done with a variety of moves, including feints, fakes, and jukes.
Stickhandling Drills To Enhance Your Control And Precision
To master dekeing, you need to have excellent control over the puck. One way to enhance your control and precision is by practicing stickhandling drills. Several types of stickhandling drills exist that will help you develop your skills in this area. Three popular ones are:
- The Figure Eight Drill: In this drill, you’ll need two cones set up about six feet apart. Start by skating around one cone using only one hand on your stick. After completing a full circle, switch hands and skate around the other cone from the opposite direction. You should be aiming to bring the puck behind each cone while keeping it within two sticks’ lengths at all times.
- The Toe Drag Drill: This drill requires you to move the puck side-to-side while pulling it along the ice with your toe. Use your stick to change directions quickly while maintaining control of the puck. Aim to get past the defender once your footwork becomes fluid.
- The Tight Turn Drill: For this drill, set up three cones in a straight line about 10-15 feet apart. Skate toward the first cone at top speed before making a tight turn around it, then do the same for the second and third. Do not lose control of the puck and try to complete this drill as quickly as possible. This will help you maneuver around defenders with ease.
Agility And Footwork Exercises For Better Movement On Ice
In addition to stickhandling drills, it is also essential to have excellent footwork and agility on the ice. To improve your movement and quickness, try implementing these exercises into your routine:
- Cone Drills: Set up several cones in a straight line about two feet apart. Skate forward through them, weaving from left to right with each cone. Then skate backward through them doing the same thing.
- Ladder Drills: Using an agility ladder, step forward, laterally, or diagonally within each box before moving on to the next one. Make sure that your movements are quick and precise while still maintaining balance.
- Hurdle Steps: Cross-step over a series of raised hurdles placed evenly along a designated path. Land with both skates on the opposite side without losing speed or balance. Use smaller hurdles until you’re comfortable with the exercise.
Partner Drills To Simulate Real Game Situations And Improve Your Reaction Time
Finally, practicing partner drills can simulate real game situations and improve your reaction time when dekeing. Here are three great drills to add to your training:
- The Back-Checking Drill: One player starts out at center ice with the puck A second player comes up behind and attempts to gain control by stealing the puck away. The first player must protect the puck while attempting to get past their opponent.
- The Two-On-One Breakout Drill: Two players start at center ice while a defender guards against them. The two players must move the puck to each other, getting past the defender and isolating the opposing goalie.
- The Faceoff Drill: Start with a face-off in your team’s defensive zone. Practice different scenarios that involve quick passes, break-out opportunities, and 2-on-1 surges. Make sure you’re always protecting the puck and keeping it moving forward towards the opponent’s goal.
“Practicing these drills regularly can improve your stickhandling skills, as well as your overall play on the ice.” – Bobby Orr
Improving your dekeing skills takes time, effort, and plenty of practice. By implementing these drills into your routine, you’ll be able to enhance your control and precision with the puck, increase agility and footwork, simulate real game situations, and further develop your reaction time. Keep practicing and never give up—this is how champions are made!
Frequently Asked Questions
How is the deke maneuver used in gameplay?
The deke maneuver is a valuable tool for hockey players looking to create scoring opportunities. By faking out defenders or goalies, players can create time and space to take a shot or make a pass. Dekes can be used in a variety of situations, including breakaways, power plays, and even during regular play in the offensive zone.
What are some common deke techniques used by professional hockey players?
Professional hockey players use a variety of deke techniques to fool their opponents. Some common techniques include the toe drag, where a player pulls the puck back while dragging their toe behind it, and the fake shot, where a player pretends to take a shot before quickly changing direction. Other popular dekes include the spin-o-rama and the between-the-legs move.
How can practicing dekes improve a player’s overall performance on the ice?
Practicing dekes can help players develop better stickhandling skills, as well as improve their ability to read and react to defenders and goalies. In addition, mastering dekes can give players an edge when it comes to creating scoring opportunities and winning one-on-one battles for the puck.
What are some tips for executing a successful deke maneuver?
To execute a successful deke maneuver, players should focus on using quick, sharp movements to fake out their opponents. It’s also important to keep the puck close to the body and maintain good balance throughout the maneuver. Players should practice dekes at varying speeds and in different situations to develop a wide range of skills.
Are there any risks or drawbacks to relying too heavily on dekes in hockey?
While dekes can be an effective tool for hockey players, relying too heavily on them can also be risky. Defenders and goalies can often anticipate dekes if they become too predictable, and overusing dekes can also lead to turnovers and lost scoring opportunities. As with any skill in hockey, it’s important to use dekes strategically and in moderation to avoid becoming too predictable or one-dimensional as a player.