9 posts :: Page 1 of 1
By: Likes:
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Hello fellow coaches,

I have tried a few different breakouts for our team (pee wee's), but I just can't get that ONE, that we can consistently run to be successful.

I have tried the center, wings are to move, but.....
I have tried hitting the wings to one touch out, but they stand still and the opposing D pinch.
I have tried bumping back to the D, but.....

Just looking for some ideas, ANY help would be much appreciated.

I know I am continuing to work on ice awareness, passing, receiving.

Thank you,
Iceman, I think the first key is that the D try to beat the first forechecker and get between the dots and make tape to tape and not rim passes. This causes him to skate away from pressure to open ice. If he drives the back of the net it sets up the wheel, D to D or reverse if the player chases him and the counter if the checker goes in front. If he can beat him and start skating up ice then the defenders have to back up and can't pinch without risking a breakaway pass. The forwards need to time their skating so they are moving at the same speed and not standing still. Posting player on the boards must face the puck. Centre must skate flat giving the stick and skates as a target and the wide wing decide:
a - D under pressure then cut across high slot.
b - D skates up with full control then wide wing stretch.
c - good first pass made then stay in the wide lane.

So my thought is that any static breakout will NOT work. As soon as you stand still or glide slowly the defends can stay in and force. When you skate up ice they must retreat.

I am also anxious to read other coaches ideas.

By: Likes:

Hi there -

My competetive Peewee team had been struggling with the same issue (amongst others!).

Each player having solid, speedy basic skills and an understanding of their options (4 roles described here) helps a lot - chalk talk goes a little ways but actually stopping practice breakouts, slowing things down and repeating (deep practice) helps - we saw dividends after about 3 weeks so stay the course!

Other 'quicker fixes':
- teaching D (or low F) to hit the glass for clearing the puck (not an elegant breakout but a good option when out-gunned)
- D zone face-off alignment and responsibility plan to maintain / re-obtain posession before set-up
- physical play - our wingers were gunshy and hesitant to take a hit from the pinching D to make the 1/2 boards pass to supporting F's
- goalie 'quarterbacking' verbally to D re: forecheck formation and D wheel option

Sprinkle in some small-area games to emphasize short sharp passes and support as well as transition drills.

Love this site, learning so much...


Registered: 11/24/12
Posts: 6
By: Likes:

This is by Paulie but for some reason the sight won't let him post; so I am posting it for him. PS - Paulie I need a diagram to understand.
Ice man,

I agree with both Tom's and Ice Sage's comments.

I like your last line re: working on on-ice awareness, as well as the skills. For me, the break-out is all about that.

In practice I like to use drills/games that require the player to do something else after passing. I constantly stress this. One such tweak I use for break-outs is adding a second, then third puck to the Five man continuous break-out drill ( where the 5-man-unit--6 man unit because the goalies need to involve themselves-- collects the dumped puck, breaks-out, gains the red-line, dumps, and goes to the sideboards to rest while a waiting 5MU activates)

Confusion and tentativeness will be readily apparent. Don't despair.

The idea is to attempt to get the boy's to dump the two/three pucks as close as possible timewise, to teach support, and to allow the players themselves to problem solve-- to understand the big picture. Done at the start of practice, it creates a need to know, getting the boy's focussed on the practice objectives. I would then do the Murdoch break-out routine, or a similar exercise that would repeat the desired patterns/timings. Now return to the game: 1 puck, 2 pucks, 3, 2, 1 puck, 1 puck with the player dumping forechecking, 1 puck with the two players not dumping doing the forecheck. Reverse the process again, if desired.

Really works wonders. Hope you find this useful.



I can provide drills if you email me.

'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
Registered: 06/25/08
Posts: 3066
Location: Calgary, Canada
By: Likes:


This is very tough at this age.
99% of rim passes DO NOT work first of all.

Stress the first pass is the most important pass. Have D learn to stay tight to the net on a wheel (use net as a screen).Turn up ice tight to the net for open ice as Tom mentions.

Use supporting Center pass option , rather than going up the boards all the time. At this age I would say most D panic with the puck and just want to get rid of the puck as quick as possible , usually up the boards. Have wingers box out pinching D on a pass or bump back.

I like starting practice sometimes with a continuous breakout drill ( 6 player). Each end have a player support or mirror the shooter , have a board side and center support pass option. this is continuous both ends but have a coach take away a passing option forcing a different pass.

Teams at higher levels like the off the glass play and battle in the Nzone for it. But work the development of these players with pressure when ready.

Does your D have patience and know how to support each other with communication ?

Good luck


By: Likes:

I posted links about puck handling but want this topic to be on top. So I am posting so it will be the most recent thread.

It is great to see a discussion here. I didn't know if anyone was actually coming to the site or if it was just random people who google coaching. It has been like I have posted into a vacuum every morning.

So I will step out of the way and invite other coaches to give their ideas on how to teach the breakout effectively.
I take a look at the Austrian league website a few times a week to see how my old team the Red Bulls are doing. They are usually first or second but this year they are playing really badly and are 10th of 12 teams. http://www.eishockey.at/erste-bank-ehl/ is the link and they have video clips that are about 5 minutes long of each game. They play Sunday, Tuesday, Friday every week. There are lots of NHL players in the league right now. I also like watching Linz play where Rob Daum, the former U of A coach is in charge and has an interesting low 2-1-2 power play with two players below the goal line. They get a lot of pp goals and are at the top of the league.

'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
Registered: 06/25/08
Posts: 3066
Location: Calgary, Canada
By: Likes:

Many teams seem to use a forecheck that prioritizes taking away the boards option. I have been stressing to our D that passing into coverage on the boards is just creating a loose puck battle which is no better than losing the puck in the corner. (Any stats out there to back that up?) SAGs and situational drills that reward other options than the boards pass have worked well with the 7-10 y.o.'s I have coached. Simple misdirection/deception has been really effective when the D have the presence of mind to use it.

Registered: 03/30/10
Posts: 34
By: Likes:

The biggest problem with break outs that I have encountered over the last few years(Atom and PeeWee) is trying to get my forwards to come back deep enough into our zone. As soon as the D got the puck the forwards were taking off like it was a race to the other end of the ice trying to get a break away pass. I like the centerman to curl low enough in our zone to help out in the corners if needed and be a passing option for the D-man on the break out. I also like my wingers to come back to the hash marks so that the other teams D have to really pinch to stop the break out. I feel it is even more important for the wingers to come back to the hash marks now that there is checking so the wingers aren't looking over their shoulders trying to receive a pass.

Since players all seem to understand and learn differently I try to explain why they are doing what they are doing, show them on a board and practice the break out over and over. I start with the most basic quick up and progress to a D to D pass and then add some pressure and let them figure out what their best option is. I think the break out is some thing that has to be taught by doing a lot of repitions. This is something that can be done out of both ends of the ice at the same time so that the players don't do a lot of standing around.

By: Likes:

My $0.02 worth. Current coach of a high school girls team, but I applied the same philosophies when coaching Bantam boys and I think the same could apply to a competitive Pee Wee team

-Try to break out on weak (non-puck) side. This requires weak side D to recognize when partner has puck and make him/herself available for d-to-d pass
-C should not get ahead of breakout wing. C needs to stay low, this aligns with my defensive strategy of C supporting the puck.
-Weakside W needs to get over to side they're breaking out on to stretch the ice as well as provide support for an off-the glass breakout

When the D has the puck they have options (in no particular order):
1) Pass to wing along boards
2) Center breakout
3) Skate it (preferably up the dots)
4) off-the-glass

If pass to wing along boards, options (again no particular order) include:
1) Skate, if time and space permit
2) pass to C, who has speed
3) Pass back to D (trailing play in support position)
4) Pass to weak side W at middle of blue line
5) pass off glass to weak side wing (again, reason why it's so important weak side comes over to support)

I emphasize the number of options we create in this alignment and do drills that practice each option. Some are position specific and others are just basic breakouts forcing team to using any of the 5 options above.

Hope this helps and good luck to you all!!

Registered: 12/12/12
Posts: 2
By: Likes:

Hello fellow coaches,

I would like to thank everyone for responding, I would like to give you an update. I did read and value all your suggestions - I took certain aspects and exposed our team to the different methods of breaking out of our zone.

In practice - mostly during our off ice practice, we "walked through" what we wanted to accomplish. And when we got on the ice we would go over it on the ice - not standing and talking, but executing the play.

We played alot of SAG games that had the players break it out - forwards and Dmen. I thought this really got our players thinking what and where they needed to be during a full ice game.

The players learned more about patience and not just "throwing the puck" to a spot, nothing wrong with an area pass, but that wasn't our intentions Smile

Working on agility skating, passing - both stationary and moving w/puck, transitioning. Ice awareness, boy, do we talk about this all the time and the SAG's have helped immensly.

Communication - from the goalie, to the D partner to all the forwards - a great help to moving the puck. We would start a drill, where the player had to look over both shoulders AND get verbal communication to assist the player, to help them with their breakouts. I now see (I mean hear) our players all the time, it has lead to communicating in all 3 zones now.

We do a continuous breakout drill - the kids LOVE it!!! We use it for a warm up; get the goalies involved where they just don't stop the puck behind the net, but actually pass it & hard, to a D or forward. The Dmen, making calls - "GO-GO", "D to D", "Reverse", "Stop" have really expedited our breakouts.

Don't get me wrong, every once in a while we still get that dreaded "rimmed" pass, but MUCH better.

I will keep in touch throughout the season and again - THANK YOU all.


9 posts :: Page 1 of 1