Thinking the Game: The Cycle (Part 2)February 10, 2013
We covered why the offensive zone cycle is important in the last post. Today, we are going to get down to brass tacks and look at some practical tips to help you become a player who cycles the puck well. Let’s not waste time; Let’s get right to the main points
A team that cycles well has good in zone positioning. One of the most basic rules of thumb for any offensive zone play is to maintain a “High Guy” and a Net Front Guy”. The best way to think about it is to think of the shape of a triangle. This is how your formation should look in the offensive zone. Take a look at these two pictures:
In one picture you have a clear triangle formation in the offensive zone. By keeping yourself in this formation you make it harder on the defense to cover you because you are more spread out. You also have a person who can transition to defense should the play breakdown. Position is key to an effective cycle.
2. Use the boards
In order to cycle well you need to play the puck to your teammates away from the defense. The defense will play from the inside out 99% of the time. This means that when you pass the puck to your teammates you will want use the boards when passing the puck. Or, at least play it towards the side of the boards. There is no sense in making life difficult by trying to make a challenging pass through the middle of the ice.
3. Make it easy on your teammates
When making a cycle pass, try and bank the puck off the boards so that it is easier for your teammate to handle the pass. It is very difficult to pick the puck up right off the boards, especially when moving and with a defender right on you. Remember, you are not just throwing the puck, but actually using the boards to helping you make a pass. Always be thinking about how you can help your teammates and make their job easier.
This can be said for any aspect of the game, but especially important when cycling because you are often making passes without totally seeing your teammate. It is very important for you to communicate with your teammates about where you are and where you are going. Make sure you talk, make sure you talk loud, and make sure you work with your linemates in practice so you get accustomed to each others habits.
Learn more about the Cycle and much more at one of our summer camps by clicking here