Breakaway Backcheck With 1 on 1 Variation

Breakaway Backcheck With 1 on 1 Variation diagram

Breakaway Backcheck With 1 on 1 Variation diagram

The video above will start with the breakaway backcheck drill and then will show how the drill can be modified to be a 1 on 1 with a backchecker (at the 1 minute 20 second mark).

Drill Setup:

  • Players are split into 2 lines. Offensive line (with pucks) is near the wall and ahead of the blue line. The defensive line starts more toward the middle and behind the blue line.
  • The idea is the offensive player has a step but the defensive player has the angle (closer/more direct line to the net). When coach says go it is a race. The offensive player is trying to get to the net while the defensive player is trying to cut them off. Play the puck out.

Drill Purpose:

  • The purpose of this drill is to allow players to work both sides of the playing in contact skills.
    • Defensive in terms of trying to get in front of and gain position on an offensive player.
    • Offensive in terms of trying to cut a defender off and not allowing them to gain position on you.


  • This drill can start from anywhere on the ice in this same format of giving the offensive player a step but defensive player the angle. Scenario outlined above is a back check type situation. This drill could also be setup coming out of the corner or maybe a shorter distance like the near blue line, instead of far blue line. Rules: At first I usually do not allow offensive player to use an escape turn to protect the puck. It is either gain body position or lose the puck. I want them to really have to work on gaining body position and get to the net versus a turn to evade pressure. After a time I usually then will say turns are allowed but should only be used if the defender was able to gain position on you. A turn should should not be option #1. Option#1 should be use your play in contact skills, cut the defender off and gain the net.
  • Second video example: Set up the drill but include a defenseman so it is a 1 on 1 with a backchecker. The forward needs to cut the backchecker off and work to gain position on the 1 on 1. 

Common Mistakes:

  • As the defender, the biggest mistake is player goes directly for the puck instead of hitting through the hands and poking / taking the puck. Stress body contact combined with stick poke or lift to gain position (position before possession). Offensive side the biggest mistake is the offensive player skates away from the defender (usually toward the corner) versus skating into and cutting off the defender. Stress that by skating away from the defender you are taking yourself out of a scoring chance situation / area (middle of rink) and giving the defender the chance to hit you as they now are able to re gain and angle you off into boards.

This drill is part of the Body Contact & Checking Course from Mark Zarbo Hockey.

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