COVID Affordance: Playing Defense with a Great Stick

I want to play games.

But, within the constraints of COVID protocols, there is an exciting opportunity in front of hockey coaches and players everywhere. We get to invest time in individual player development.

In college sports, we are typically constrained with time, giving us just a few weeks to prepare for early season games that impact national rankings and NCAA Tournament implications. Not this season.

One constraint we have at all levels of hockey right now is no body contact. This affords an opportunity to improve the critical skill of playing defense with your stick in order to get the puck back from the other team.

Playing with a great stick means several things to me:

  • Influencing direction
  • Taking away space
  • Taking away passing lanes
  • Stripping the puck
  • Disrupting the puck

In my experience, the ability to play defense with your stick is an underdeveloped skill at most levels.

Here is a six-minute video that shows Curry hockey players playing defense with their stick and how it leads to scoring goals.

Curry Hockey scoring goals after getting the puck back, using a great stick.

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