Cut to the Middle on Off-Hand
This video demonstrates a progression of drills that all lead up to this effective offensive skill. The Off-Hand Pull and Push is an effective skill for zone entry as well as changing the angle of the shot. Boyle used this to perfection in the playoffs a couple years ago and nets a short handed goal by using this skill.
Drill 1 - Inside Edges
Most of us hockey players have worked on their inside edges more than than they would like to admit. It is one of the most basic fundamental skating drills but it is the foundation of this skill, therefore in this progression we use it as a bit of a warm up but also because it leads into the next drill. Emphasize full inside edges by telling players to carve full “C’s”, there is no hurry, just good solid inside edge work.
- Good knee bend
- Chest up
- Stick on the ice
- Cut hard into the ice (listen for the ice)
Drill 2 - Inside Edges with Puck (Forehand Only)
The next drill has players do the same inside edge drill but with a puck. The catch is that they can only use their forehand. Therefore players have to “push and pull” the puck to keep it on their forehand.
- Push and pull puck so it only touches forehand
- Fundamentals of inside edges is the same as the first drill
Drill 3 - Push and Pull
Place a line of about 7 - 8 pucks about 4 feet apart and have the players push and pull their puck through the line of pucks. Again, the players are only allowed to use the forehand which forces them to “push and pull” the puck. This drill will help them develop the feel for the “push and pull”. Make sure player’s bottom hand is sliding up and down the shaft of the stick.
- Left handed players stay on the right side of pucks and right handed players stay on left
- Push pucks to the outside and pull pucks back to the inside
- Bottom hand slides up and down the shaft
- Puck only touches the forehand
- Push puck away from body as you cut hard on the inside edge
Drill 4 - Inside Edges with puck and shot
Now we go back and build off of the second drill. This time we place an object, such as a net, slightly off center from the net. Players work their inside edges with the puck and at the net they will push the puck to the middle off their inside edge and shoot the puck. When players push the puck they should push it into shooting position. There will be a tendency for player to want to stickhandle before the shot but we want them to push the puck into a position where they can release the shot.
- Use and extra net or cones to simulate defender
- Start with the “Inside Edges with Puck” drill
- Push the puck off inside edge around the net into shooting position
- Shoot without any stickhandling
- Again, puck never touches backhand
Drill 5 - Full Speed Zone Entry, Cut to Middle
Now have players skate directly at the object and just before they reach it they pull the puck as if they are going to their backhand, use their inside edge to surround the puck, and push the puck back towards the middle into shooting position. This drill can simulate zone entry when the defense give up too much space at the blue line.
- Try to incorporate at full speed
- Skate straight ahead to simulate entering the zone at full speed
- At the net pull the puck as if to drive wide
- Use inside edges and slide bottom hand down shaft to push the puck to the middle
- Push the puck to shooting or passing position, no stickhandling
Drill 6 - Change the Angle
This skill uses the same fundamentals of pushing and pulling the puck to change the angle of the shot just as we see in Boyle’s goal. Challenge elite players to do this in stride. It is one thing to shoot in stride and another to shoot in stride with changing the the angle of the shot. The quick release and change of angle is extremely tough on goalies.
- A quicker version can be used when trying to shoot through defenders
- When skating at defender or goalie use the quicker version to to push the puck while in stride
- Change the angle slightly and let it rip!