You may have always wondered how to check in ice hockey. Checking in ice hockey is defined as using force to either obtain the puck or to disrupt your opponent's play. Here are some tips on how exactly to check in hockey.
- Keep your positioning. When committing to your check, it is extremely important to stay within your positioning and not enable the opposition to gain the upper hand. Missing a check can put yourself out of position and in a worse position than not attempting one, therefore you must always consider the risk over the reward in the situation. In determining when to throw a body check, notice your position and its relationship to your opponent on the ice before committing fully.
- Keep your sticks and hands down. When throwing the classic body check, make sure your hands and stick are down in order to not inflict damage with either of them. The classic body check makes contact with your shoulder to the opposing player's shoulder. A hit directly to the head may injure the opposing player severely or lead to an elbowing penalty, while contact with a stick could lead to a high-sticking penalty.
- Make sure check is within the rules. Checking a player outside of the rules will lead to an unnecessary roughness penalty. Make sure to check your opponent near enough to the boards so that they do not fall violently into them leading to a boarding penalty. The referee may give out a charging penalty for taking too many steps before making contact or an interference penalty for checking a player without the puck. The cardinal rule of hockey is to never check your opponent with their back turned, it will automatically lead to a checking-from-behind infraction and much worse results for the opposing player.
- Determine your type of check. Sometimes the decision on how to check varies with your positioning. Besides the body check, you can stick-check, back-check or poke-check. A stick-check ties up your opponent in order to keep them away from a check. A back-check legally cancels out an opposing player while they have their back to you by lifting up the stick or forcing them into a position where they can accept a legal check. A poke-check uses your stick to rustle the puck away from a player.
- Develop your own style. Every hockey player will give you a different answer when asked how to check in hockey. They will tell you everything outlined above needs to combine with your own personal style.
After reading this informative article, you should know exactly how to check in ice hockey both correctly and effectively.
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