What Makes A Good Defenseman In Hockey? [Solved!]

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A hockey defenseman’s primary responsibility is to defend the opposing team’s net. In order to do this, they will often have to battle for the puck with the opposing team. Having good stickhandling ability and the intelligence to know when to pinch or block a shot are just a few of the numerous attributes that a good hockey defenseman needs to posses. Below, we will discuss the core qualities that separate the good from the great defensemen.

Skating And Acceleration

Hockey is a fast-paced game, and the faster a player can skate, the more dangerous they will be. The best defensemen are able to completely change direction seamlessly while gliding across the ice. They do this by incorporating quick starts and stops into their skating patterns. This allows them to be in the perfect position to either block or retrieve a slapshot with the first part of their skating stride.

Another important factor in a defenseman’s skating is the acceleration. The faster they can get up to speed, the more dangerous they will be in the right situation. This is why it is so important for them to be able to change gears quickly while skating. Having the ability to transition from a leisurely stroll to a full-speed pursuit in a split second is an invaluable asset.

Strength

An offensive blueliner’s primary responsibility is to attack the puck. However, in order to do this, they need to possess enough strength to deflect some of the hit that comes their way. This is why the strength of a hockey defenseman is often mistaken to be their hitting power. While it is good to be able to take a hit, a strong player knows when to stay down and block a shot or pass the puck to a teammate instead.

However, size is also important when discussing a hockey defenseman’s strength. In general, the smaller the player, the stronger they will be. This is why top-level players often try to stay away from the physical confrontation with the other team. Instead, they will prefer to launch a quick offense from the other side of the ice.

A good hockey player also needs to be able to lift their feet and stay balanced while on the puck. This is especially crucial for those players that frequently switch shifts or partners during a game. If they cannot do this easily, then they will struggle to play at a high level consistently.

Intelligence

Just like a quarterback, a hockey defenseman needs to have the intelligence to know what is happening on the ice at all times. They must process information quickly and react accordingly. Furthermore, they need to be able to do this while under pressure. A lot of this responsibility falls to the goaltender, who is always watching the play and calling out signals to his defensemen.

However, the hockey goalie cannot do this by themselves. They need the help of at least two of their defensemen in order to execute a proper pass. Since the goalkeeper is often caught between the puck and the attacking team, it is up to the defensemen to make the right decisions quickly and effectively. This is why it is vital that they process information quickly and use their head instead of their hands whenever possible.

Flexibility

Flexibility is important in every aspect of life, but especially so in hockey. This is because the position shifts so much from one game to the next that a player must be able to adapt quickly. The best defensemen know how to keep their masks and are constantly moving to either block or retrieve a shot that comes their way. They do this by using their flexibility and by taking advantage of the ice in front of them. As a result, they are often found skating towards the middle of the ice instead of just staying towards the outside.

However, the opposite is also true. An offensively-minded defenseman will often try to attack the puck and skip towards the blueline instead of skating towards the middle. This is because the flexibility that they have allows them to do so, and it is often a quicker route to the goal for them.

Style

Finally, a good hockey defenseman needs to have a certain style. They should never get into the habit of just rushing into hits or taking them on themselves. This is because they should play with the mind set of a hockey savant, anticipating plays and moving in the correct direction at the right time. This helps to create a smooth game play that is most effective for both teams involved.

On the flip side, a player that goes out and takes hits will often find themselves sitting on the bench more than they are playing. This is because they are usually the ones that get caught out of position or take too many hits that they can no longer handle effectively. Taking hits is dangerous because it takes away from the goal of playing the game smartly and effectively. It also prevents the player from shifting gears and changing directions as easily when needed.

TOTALITY

Good hockey players always put the game first. This is because they understand that the more that they learn, the better they will be able to play. As a result, they constantly try to improve their craft, using video analysis, watching games from both angles, and asking coaches for help when needed. A good hockey player is effective, efficient, and dedicated to continuing to develop their game and excel in their position.

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