This week we are going to briefly touch on blocking shots and how important it is now for dmen to be able to effectively do it.
Not that long ago dmen were only encouraged to block shots as a last resort when something defensively broke down. A huge mistake was probably made and the only thing left was to block the shot. Dmen were taught to move players out of the front of the net and clear the lane so goalies could see the shot. As the game changed and evolved and the new obstruction rules were enforced, defensive systems adjusted and now dmen are coached to get in the lane at all costs and get your body in front of any shot. You can no longer ‘tie up’ a player and try to move him out of the way. You will be called for interference. So now a lot of the time your only way to defend is to try and block the shot. ‘Shot blocks’ has now become one of the biggest stats when evaluating dmen.
Here is the good and the bad. The good, equipment has improved dramatically as a result of the new style of play. There is tremendous high absorption, low weight gear that really helps ease the pain. The bad news. The new equipment also applies to sticks and shooters are shooting the puck harder than ever. But there is now way around it. To play effective d, you have to be able to block shots.
So let’s get some very basic, simple advice and take a look at some things that might help out with overcoming the angst and help keep you healthy.
I went to one of our pros and asked him the simple question, “What advice would you give young dmen when blocking a shot?” His answer, “Don’t get hit in the _ _ _ _!” Great advice…..Thanks. I pushed him some more on the subject and the one thing he told me that stuck out to me was this, “You have to have the mindset that blocking a shot is every bit as important as a forward scoring a goal or getting an assist. It can change a game. We all want to impact every game and blocking a shot can and is our way to do that. Sure it hurts sometimes. But it only hurts for a while. Not blocking the shot and causing a goal hurts for a lot longer.” Well said. One of the common themes is to close the gap on the shooter as quickly as possible. Get to the shooter fast. Do not allow him the time and space to really wind up or lean into his shot. There are some other simple things and techniques that can help you out.
Below are some great examples and videos.. Michael Sauer starts it off and sums it up pretty well. Click on the link.
Michael Sauer- Dman-NY Rangers
Sometimes it is the Dmen who get to hit the forwards though!!! This shouldn’t make me smile but for some reason it does…..