When it comes to ice hockey, there are few skills more crucial than deking. This is the ability to move the puck in a deceptive manner so as to fake out an opposing player and gain an advantage. If you can master this skill, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a formidable force on the rink.
Of course, like any skill worth learning, there’s no magic formula for mastering deking in hockey. It takes practice, patience, and perseverance to hone your techniques until they become second nature. However, with a little guidance and some smart tips, you can accelerate your progress and start improving your game in no time.
“Playing well is not just about going out and giving 110% but rather truly understanding the game.” – Wayne Gretzky
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what deking really means in the context of hockey. We’ll explore some of the key moves and strategies that players use to execute successful dekes on the ice. And we’ll share some tricks and tips that can help you take your own deking game to the next level.
If you’re serious about improving your hockey skills – whether for recreational play or competitive purposes – then read on. By mastering the art of deking, you’ll be able to outsmart your opponents, score more goals, and perhaps even take your team to victory. So let’s get started!
Understanding Deking In Hockey
The Definition of Deking in Hockey
Deking in hockey is a skill that involves faking out an opponent to create space and time for a player with the puck. It’s also known as stickhandling or dribbling. The purpose of deking is to get past an opponent while maintaining possession, allowing players to move into scoring position.
Deking is most commonly used near the offensive end of the rink when a player has little or no room to maneuver around defenders. A successful deke can result in a breakaway or clear shot on net.
The History of Deking in Hockey
As hockey evolved from its early days in the late 1800s, so did the techniques and tactics used by players. One notable change was the introduction of stickhandling or deking.
Stickhandling became popular in North America during the 1920s and 1930s after Canadiens legend Howie Morenz incorporated it into his game. Some older players saw this new technique as too flashy and unnecessary, but younger players learned from Morenz and soon stickhandling became an essential part of every team’s attack strategy.
In today’s NHL, deking remains a crucial skill for forwards to master since playing three periods at high speed requires them to shake off defenders effectively. With faster skates and better-developed training regimens, stickhandling skills have continued to progress and impress fans more than ever before.
“If he comes inside you…D’oh!” -Don Cherry (Canadian former ice hockey coach)
Importance Of Deking In Hockey
Creating Scoring Opportunities
Deking is an essential skill in hockey that allows players to create scoring opportunities. It involves faking out the goalie or defender with quick and unexpected moves while carrying the puck, making it more difficult for the opposition to predict the player’s next move.
According to former NHL forward and coach John Vigilante, “Deking is important because it can make all the difference between a good play and a great play. Being able to deceive opponents with your stickhandling skills will help you get around them faster and give you better chances to shoot on goal.”
Dekes such as the toe drag or the spin-o-rama are examples of advanced moves that many elite-level players use to score goals during games. Being proficient in deking enables players to keep control of the puck, maintain their momentum, and execute scoring opportunities with precision.
Deking also plays a crucial role in avoiding defenders on the ice. By using quick movements and deceptive fake-outs, players can evade pressure from opposing players without losing possession of the puck.
“You have to be able to deke around guys and not lose speed. If you’re carrying the puck up the ice and there’s someone trying to hit you, you need to be able to sidestep him and keep going,” explains retired NHL defenseman Bret Hedican.
The ability to avoid defenders through deking helps players break into the offensive zone with ease, giving their team more chances to mount an attack and potentially score a goal.
Another benefit of deking in hockey is its ability to confuse goaltenders, which ultimately leads to more goals being scored. By faking out the goalie with deceptive moves and multiple shot fakes, players increase their chances of scoring.
“A player who is good at deking can make a goaltender look foolish,” explains former NHL goaltender Andrew Raycroft.
The best players in the league are adept at using various dekes to get around the opposition’s defense and score goals by catching the goalie off guard. Consequentially, goalies have to work hard on their lateral movement and anticipation skills to keep up with these skilled players.
Improving Puck Control
Deking also improves puck control for players, which makes it easier for them to hold onto possession while skating down the ice. This skill comes in handy during high-pressure situations, such as power plays or clutch moments late in games.
“Dekes allow you to keep the puck close to your stick, giving you better control of it,” said British Columbia native Alexander McKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche. “This helps keep defenders from stripping the puck off your stick.”
By maintaining control of the puck through various dekes, players can establish dominance over their opponents and assert their presence on the ice. They can also use this extended control time to create more offensive breakthroughs or killing time when trying to run out the clock.
“Deking is an art form when done correctly and successfully in hockey.” -Former Toronto Maple Leafs Coach Mike BabcockOverall, deking is an essential skill every hockey player should master. It not only creates scoring opportunities but allows players to avoid defenders, confuse goalies, and improve puck control. With practice and patience, players can develop effective deking techniques that help elevate their game to new heights.
Basic Techniques For Deking In Hockey
Hockey is one of the most challenging and thrilling sports played worldwide. Deking is an essential skill that every player should develop to excel in this game. This technique enables players to fake out opponents by controlling and handling the puck effectively. A successful deke can create scoring opportunities, open up passing lanes or overpower defenders with a single move.
The Fake Shot
The Fake Shot, also known as the “pump-fake,” is one of the easiest and most effective ways to deceive an opponent during gameplay. Essentially, it involves pretending to shoot the puck while still having possession of it. To pull off a clasic form of this technique, position yourself directly in front of your opponent’s goal post with the puck firmly on the tip of your stick blade. Lower your stance and act like you are about to shoot the puck towards the net while intending merely to pass or carry it past your opponent who will attempt to stop the anticipated shot. If done correctly, your opponent will be fooled into turning their attention to the imaginary incoming shot attempt, which gives you more time to navigate around them or make a clean resourceful play.
The Toe Drag
The Toe Drag is a classic deking tactic that requires delicate power over the hockey stick’s shaft and blade. The aim is to drag the puck under control past a defender, creating space for a clear opportunity again to score. Start by providing indirect positioning to the opponent but attracting them closer enough to have the offensive chance at an opening. While holding the back end of the stick blade closer to your body, including being able to secure better leverage on the ice. Next, use the curve part of your stick blade’s toe to maneuver the puck concurrently in small motions. As you slide the puck across the range of your stick blade’s curve area, move it towards your closer hand to establish control. Once you have done that, the puck will be at a vantage point such that you can always capture any mishap and swiftly make an effortful goal attempt.
“A perfect Toe Drag can leave defensemen spinning like tops,” said former NHL All-Star forward Brendan Shanahan.
Finally, these are only two deking techniques of many more found in this game that will require critical skills mastery if you’re ever going to consider becoming an elite-level player. Start practicing them today!
Advanced Tips To Perfect Your Deking Skills
Changing Speed and Direction
If you want to become an elite deker in hockey, the ability to change speed and direction is a must-have skill. By changing speeds or directions quickly, you can easily deceive your opponents and create open spaces on the ice. When it comes to changing directions, it’s essential to use your edges effectively. You need to learn how to pivot on one foot without losing momentum, which will allow you to switch angles instantly.
You can also enhance your deception by faking shots or passes while changing speeds. This move will make your opponent anticipate what you’re about to do next and potentially create more space for you to maneuver through the defense.
“Speed creates opportunity.” -Maurice Greene
Using Body Fakes
Your body plays an important role when it comes to deceiving your opponents. A simple head fake or shoulder dip can distract your defender and give you enough time to get by them. For example, if you are approaching a defender straight-on, you can shift your weight and shoulders to either side before making a quick cut in the opposite direction. To execute this move successfully, you should keep your feet close together and your knees bent at all times for better balance.
Mastering body fakes requires precise timing and awareness of your surroundings. Knowing where the defenders are positioned on the ice can help you plan your moves accordingly. Remember to stay unpredictable and avoid repeating the same types of moves too frequently as that makes it easier for defenders to read your intent.
“Faking is key to success; people will believe anything.”
Mastering One-Handed Deking
The one-handed deke adds another level of complexity to your game and is ideal for situations when you need to protect the puck’s possession. To execute this trick, keep one hand on your stick while using your other hand to shield the puck from a defender. This move can be very effective since it allows you to maneuver through traffic quickly and unpredictably.
To master one-handed deking, practice controlling the puck with one hand without losing balance or speed. It’s also important to keep the defenders guessing about your next move by alternating between multiple fakeouts.
“If you’ve got skill, you don’t have to hit people.” -Mike Bossy
Adding Creativity to Your Deking Repertoire
Lastly, getting creative with your moves will help you become an unpredictable force on the ice. Try combining different feints, fakes, and directional changes to make your offensive repertoire more diverse. You can vary the pace of your dekes, throw in spin-o-ramas, and even slide pucks through open legs (also known as “the leg whip” technique) to confuse your opponents.
It’s crucial not to overdo these kinds of moves and understand where they should be used effectively. These flashy moves can be high-risk but also high-reward if executed correctly.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” -Steve JobsTo sum up, mastering deking skills requires patience, focus, and dedication. The ability to change speeds and directions, use body fakes, perfect one-handed deking, and add creativity to your repertoire are essential components of effective deking. Combine these tips with conscious intent to read the play on the ice and communicate well with your teammates, and you’ll significantly increase your chances of success.
Common Mistakes To Avoid While Deking In Hockey
Overcomplicating Your Moves
Deking is an essential skill in hockey that involves tricking your opponent by using a series of fast-paced moves to get past them while maintaining control of the puck. One common mistake players make while deking, especially those new to the game, is overcomplicating their moves. Faking out your opponent with too many moves not only slows you down but also makes it easier for your opponent to read and counter your actions.
The best thing to do is to keep things simple. Focus on quick movements and deceptive body language that will throw off your opponent without causing you to lose speed or control of the puck. You can start with basic moves like the inside-outside toe drag or the between-the-legs flip, and gradually build up to more complex maneuvers as you become more confident and experienced.
Telegraphing Your Intentions
Deking is all about being unpredictable. If you’re telegraphing your intentions by staring at the spot where you plan to pass the puck or staring straight ahead and flailing your stick around, then your opponent won’t have any trouble anticipating your next move. This is a big mistake that many less-experienced players make, and one that’s easy to correct.
To avoid this mistake, always be aware of your surroundings when you have the puck. Keep your head up and constantly scan the ice for potential opportunities to create scoring chances. When executing moves, use subtle fakes and head bobs instead of exaggerated gestures to throw off your opponent. Also, practice keeping the puck close to your body so that your moves become harder to predict.
Losing Control of the Puck
In an attempt to pull off fancy moves, many players end up losing control of the puck. This is a common and frustrating mistake that can quickly turn a scoring opportunity into a turnover.
The key to avoiding this mistake is to practice your stickhandling skills regularly. In particular, focus on keeping your hands soft and your movements smooth. When practicing deking, always keep one eye on the puck and be ready to adjust your moves accordingly if it begins to bounce or wobble.
“Stickhandling and protecting the puck is important in hockey.” -Wayne Gretzky
Mastering the art of deking takes both time and patience. By avoiding these three common mistakes—overcomplicating your moves, telegraphing your intentions, and losing control of the puck—you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more effective and efficient player on the ice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does Deking Mean in Hockey?
Deking, also known as stickhandling, refers to the technique used by hockey players to maneuver the puck around their opponents. It involves using the stick to move the puck in various directions while maintaining control. Deking is an essential skill for any hockey player, as it allows them to create scoring opportunities and avoid getting checked by their opponents.
What Are Some Common Deking Techniques in Hockey?
There are several common deking techniques in hockey, including the toe drag, the fake shot, and the spin-o-rama. The toe drag involves pulling the puck back with the toe of the stick, while the fake shot involves pretending to shoot the puck before quickly moving it in another direction. The spin-o-rama involves spinning the body while simultaneously moving the puck to create space from defenders.
How Do Players Practice Deking in Hockey?
Players practice deking in a variety of ways, including stickhandling drills, one-on-one drills against a defender, and simulated game situations. They also use specialized equipment such as cones and agility ladders to improve their footwork and agility. Consistent practice is crucial for players to master their deking skills and become successful on the ice.
What Are Some Tips for Improving Deking Skills in Hockey?
Some tips for improving deking skills in hockey include practicing with both hands on the stick, keeping the head up to maintain awareness of the surroundings, and using the body to shield the puck from defenders. It’s also important to vary deking techniques to keep defenders guessing and to practice deking at game speed to develop muscle memory and improve reaction time.