Closed Hips - Open Feet - Puck Protection

In this breakdown we discuss the CLOSED HIP technique. The open hip and the closed hip (10 & 2) maneuvers are essentially the same technique that are applied in different situations.

The closed hip maneuver is a terrific skill that uses deception, which creates elusiveness, escape-ability and puck protection. This makes players more effective and dangerous. 

There are many keys to success when performing this skill, but fundamentally, the success will come from hip mobility, which helps you get on the inside edges of both skates.

Points of emphasis:


Critical Elements:

  • Point front skate (toes/knee) pointed in the direction you want to go. 
  • Keeping shoulders square, head up, butt down, hips back and knees bent, rotate/push your back foot – USING INSIDE EDGE -- to open your hips gain the 10-2 position.
  • Propel off your back foot inside edge by pushing, C-cut, or resuming stride.

Effectively, the key to the success is deception, or your ability to “SELL” the defender, and manipulate his feet and stick.  As you see can see in the video examples, by pausing, hesitating, delaying, and selling the cutback, by opening/closing their hips, they create a brief moment of indecision by the defender which they then exploit.

Special note: The CLOSED HIP is a skill / skating technique where the application of the skill centers on puck protection. Therefore, it is critical that you not overhandle the puck. You DO NOT necessarily need to keep the puck connected to your tape and as you are moving at speed, the puck will continue with you at that same rate. In other words, lift your stick and play it with the backhand/forehand on the next touch. Effectively, you are making a pass to space, to yourself…while the pass is in flight, you are utilizing the techniques outline above (bend knees, hips back, eyes up) to PROTECT THE PUCK.

You can see in several of the video examples how players begin to open/close they lift their stick and they leave the puck under their body and denying access to the defender.

Lets Break it Down!

In this clip, Vladimir Tarasenko uses the closed hip technique to protect the puck. After he performs the move he explodes to the inside of the ice and drives to the net. 

Here is a second clip of Vladimir Tarasenko using the closed hip maneuver. In this situation he is able to protect the puck and deceive the defender for a split second. As you can see, the defender thinks he is about to stop and curl back up the boards, which makes the defender lunge at him. As soon as he does this, Tarasenko gains the inside of the ice and is able to score.

This clip of Nick Foligno is similar to the second Tarasenko clip. As you can see, he uses the closed hip technique to protect the puck and deceive the defender. He gets the defender to think he is curling back up the boards, (which freezes the defender) and that allows him to get space to make a perfect cross ice pass.

In this clip, Craig Smith uses the technique along the boards to protect the puck and make the defenceman think he is curling back towards the net. When the defencemen bites, Smith curls back up along the half wall and drives the net, which results in a goal!

Supporting Drills

Open Hip

Here is an example Sidney Crosby practicing the skill. Place a stick shaft on the ice. Using the 10-2 techniques, rotate around stick, riding your inside edges. 

The object is to stay in the 10-2 position continuously by pushing off back skate.  Should be done in both directions with and without puck. As you improve, keep your head up and try to be creative with the puck.

Open Hip Ladder Without Puck

Object is to 10&2 and ride your inside edges 270-360 degrees around the stick before opening up and advancing to the next level.

Start slowly, and work to ride the edge as LONG as possible. Alternate directions (counterclockwise /clockwise) at each level.

OPen Hip Ladder WITH Puck

Object is to 10&2 270-360 degrees around each stick as you move up the ladder.  As you approach each stick (or object) you open your front foot (and subsequently, your hips) and ride your inside edges beyond 360 degrees before transitioning to the next “level” and opening the opposite direction. around the stick while handling the puck.  As you improve, try to be creative with the puck.  Be sure to go in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions!

Swedish 5 Spot Circle

Set up pucks or small tires like a 5 on a dice.  Starting on the outside of the circle, skate to the center spot and 10&2 around the tires.

10 & 2 TAG

Two players line up at the “top” and “bottom” of the shaft.  On the whistle player A chases player B. Can change directions but must continue to utilize the 10 & 2 technique.

As players get better, you can also give the player who is "it" the puck, so they need to keep their head up while they are being chased. 

Special Notes

When you are practicing these closed hip techniques, start slow. Slowly working on the movement and mechanical technique of your movements is key. Work with the simple skating drills, both with and without the puck to master the concepts. Once you are comfortable, increase your speed, and creativity with the puck.

Learn how this same skill can be performed to help you scan the ice and add deception with the puck (Open Hips - Open Feet Skill Breakdown).


LaMarche on 8/4/2020

The 10 and 2 Tag is awesome - what a great way to get the kids to work this and compete and have fun!