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Hello and a happy hockey season to all.

I have 15 skaters, 2 goalies. I was wondering how coaches - pro, Jr, college, high school, and youth teams - how do you choose your lines?

Do you throw a scorer (as best as a scorer can be at the youth level) with a player who will pass, along with a player who will go in the corners. Throw two scorers together, with a player who will pass. Do you make one really strong line with two other "lunch pail" type of players on the other two?

With the Dmen, I have three real solid D, the other three are fast, but do not handle the puck as well. I have some of the F's and D switch in games - get the players a chance to play a different position.

Ours is a Pee Wee A team, our highest level.

I have always heard that a tough team will put their "top" 6 forwards together and their 3rd line is a "go get'm" kinda of a group, a group that if they score - it is a plus, but if they do not give up any goals - a win/win situation.

The Dmen, if you have your top 3, keep one of them on the ice at all times.

Our goalies, we will keep moving them every other game.

Thoughts? I would appreciate any thoughts from all the great coaches we have here on this wonderful website.

Thank you,
Iceman

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Iceman - I follow the advice from a successful division one college coach as best I can: "Every line should have a checker, and passer, and a scorer." Unfortunately we don't always have enough to fill all the roles on all the lines though! I like to balance D players out as much as possible (stronger with weaker, older with younger etc.) To give the weaker ones more back-up if they make a mistake. I don't stick to these rules hard and fast though, as sometimes players have chemistry together that just can't be ignored.

Things I'm hoping to do this year: Change lines around infrequently or as little as possible, and have players on their correct sides as much as possible (right shot on right W/D, left shot on left W/D etc.) to help with breakouts. Sounds pretty obvious, but in the past I've overlooked this detail (maybe because I played the off-side D in college?).

Hope this helps you make your decisions,
Dave

   
Regular Member
Registered: 08/24/09
Posts: 79
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Iceman, the ideal is to have a playmaker, corner man and scorer but as a coach your probably don't have these ingredients for every line One thing to avoid is to try to make 3 even lines and put a weak player on each line. If you put a Play Ender on a line they can nullify skilled players; so put the play enders together and stress that they work hard.


'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
   
Admin
Registered: 06/25/08
Posts: 3066
Location: Calgary, Canada
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DaveM and Tom,

Thank you very much for your ideas/thoughts - I would appreciate more or add a question. I have been coming to Tom's site now for 8 years, in some capacity.

I started helping my son's team and now I am coaching a high school in the US. I can NOT tell you how much this site from the, drills, video, thoughts, concepts and all the commmunication have helped me get to where I am now - THANK YOU!!!

I appreciate the advice - happy coaching to all. Please support this site and get involved.

Thanks,
Iceman

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I agree with DaveM about keeping the lines consistent. I have 9F and 6D on our roster

Our kids really enjoy the SAG's so we tend to go with only 2 colours for practices; but how do you go about building line chemistry during practice when splitting the colours do not allow for lines or pairings during SAG and transition games?

Iceman said it best, support the site - it's worth it (I look through my thumb-drive daily!)
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Gentlemen, thank you all for the kind words.

I also have 6D and 9F also and each line has a colour and I put green pinnies on a few from one of the other lines to make it 8-7. Sometimes an affiliate plays and I often get my asst. coaches to play and even off the teams. I have reversables on order and they should get here soon. Then I will have a set of pinnies of a different colour when we are doing some team play things. I have green pinnies now and have to get some red ones because our colours are green and white.

My team was doing spin on the bikes beside a soccer team having a practice that was very similar to my on ice session last night. They were playing 2 touch with jokers on the side and it was amazing how well they moved the ball. It was indoor and later they moved the nets closer to restrict time and space and played 3 on 3.

   
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Registered: 05/02/11
Posts: 4
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Splitting the lines... chemistry question:

Take 6 F's (2 lines) and 1 D pairing in one colour vs. 3 F's (1 line) + 2 D pairing. That's 8 vs. 7. During the transition games, players will have to play all both roles if 1 vs 1; all 4 roles if 2 vs. 2 or more, so don't get too caught up in "F vs. D"... learn a different position as this will benefit each individual and create a stranger collective group.

You can rotate the forward lines or D pairings each practice / week / segment throughout the season:
Line 1 & 2 / D 1 vs. Line 3 & D 2 / D 3... then Line 1 & 3 / D 2 vs Line 2 & D 1 / D 3... etc. Keep track who is with who so it is equal trhoughout the year.

If you want to keep it the same combinations for a week / or longer segment, keep score daily and this will create an additional challenge / intensity / focus / competition between your two colours. Then after a certain amount of time, change up the 'teams' (colours) and start at zero again.


Dean
M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

   
Active Member
Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 2063
Location: Calgary AB Canada
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I know this is late to the party, but I wanted to throw this out there for discussion. It sort of ties the points Tom and DaveM made together.

I'm not 100 percent positive, but I think it was Ken Hitchcock talking once about not thinking in terms of 3-man lines, but rather in pairs. He liked to find two players that had good chemistry and then fit in a complementary piece.

I like that theory because it's sometimes easier to find three or four pairs of players that match-up well together than maybe even just two sets of three. It's still possible to come up with the "ideal" playmaker-scorer-grinder combo this way, but it allows for some flexibility if there isn't enough of one type to go around.

   
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Registered: 10/14/11
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Kevin we spent the first half of the season mixing the lines up and trying players at various positions. I went with the idea of putting two players together.

A few weeks ago we went with our 6 offensive players on two lines and a checking line. Our goals for has gone up by two a game and our GA by one a game. These combo's can go out on the pplay without me mixing all of the lines up. We have 9 F and 6 D and are playing with three five man units. We have two great skating tenacious D playing with the checking line and a puck mover defensive defense pair playing with each of the offensive lines.

There is no rule saying the checking line can't score and they chip in a few goals.

The problem with having offensive players on the same line with checkers is that the checkers tend to dump the puck in and dump the puck out instead of making plays and this results in a lot of puck chasing instead of puck possession.

So I think it is better to keep puck movers together and defensive forwards together so they can contribute what they are good at. The offensive players create scoring chances and the more defensive players gain zones and keep the puck in front of them.


'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
   
Admin
Registered: 06/25/08
Posts: 3066
Location: Calgary, Canada
8 posts :: Page 1 of 1