Top 10 Body Contact Myths

19 Aug Top 10 Body Contact Myths

doctor hockeyHere we go folks, the doctor is in the house with part 1 of a 2 parter on Body Contact.


10) Every hit should be highlight reel worthy

Don Cherry sure made a lot of money on the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em series of films, pumping up Old Time Hockey and all the bone crushing hits of the80’s and 90’s. Funny enough, these are the same hits we see ending careers and causing serious injuries out there. Any coincidence that the players in today’s game laying some of these brutal hits where that the opponents don’t see coming grew up in the hay day of catching a guy in “The Trolly Tracks”? Anyways body contact is for one purpose and one purpose only… TO SEPARATE THE MAN FROM THE PUCK IN ORDER TO REGAIN POSSESSION. Any other glorification of on ice contact does the game a big disservice. Don’t get me wrong, one guy hitting another guy who sees him coming is great to watch, when both guys are up to the challenge, but no one should be getting seriously injured out there!

9) It’s all about speed

Actually no, no it’s not at all. If you want to collide with the guy and let the hockey god’s decide on your fate, then sure reve up theengine and get at it, but proper body contact is all about the planned explosion just before impact. There doesn’t have to be speed at all, the player making the contact just has to BE LOW ENOUGH READY TO EXPLODE WITH THE LEGS, literally “popping” the player with his shoulder. This works so wel when being hit! Staying low and delivering a last minute “pop” when a guy thinks he is about to cream you is always a special moment that let’s him know how much you care!

 8 ) It doesn’t matter which shoulder you use

Another misunderstood principle of body contact. When you make contact with a player you always want to lock the hit with the same shoulder he is leading with! Right on right or left on left. If a player is leading with his left and you go in with your right, most of the time the contact will rotate you inward and you will end up on your face. Some of the best hitters are players that can REACT QUICKLY AND SWITCH TO THE APPROPRIATE SHOULDER in any given instant!

7) If you see the numbers on the back you can’t hit him

This is definitely something to be aware of but not something a bodychecker should live by because even hitting when you see the numbers on the sleeve can lead to a hit from behind and serious injury! My advice to players, MAKE BODY CONTACT WHEN YOU ARE ABLE TO MAKE EYE CONTACT. At least give a guy a split second to know you are coming in order to prepare. If this type of ethics was commonplace, a lot of NHL concussions would never have happened!

6) There’s no such thing as an efficient body check

If you believe this than I have some great swamp land in Florida for you to buy. Anybody that knows anything about skills knows that you have to go from the biggest muscles to the smallest when executed. This requires timing and surprise… EFFICIENCY of movement. So, a hit isn’t so much a collision between towo bodies as it is a coordinated sequence of muscle activation from quadriceps, to glutes, to abs/obliques and ending with the traps and shoulder (not the arms unless you want to go in the box for two minutes and feel shame!)

5) Checking is 100% brute strength

Ever been that guy who goes for the huge decapitating hit in the corner only to bounce off the guy, fall down and watch helplessly as he wraps the puck around and goes cheddar? Ya h, we all have, still convinced about the brute strength thing?Belive it or not the most important thing about separating the man from the puck (notice I didn’t say hitting) is balance! Yup, KEEP THAT CENTER OF GRAVITY IN THAT BALANCE OF SUPPORT and you’ll be able to immobilize even the biggest giants.

4) Take his number down and get him later

This is one of the dumbest pieces of advice a coach can give a player! I agree, never put your team at risk by immediately retaliating to a dirty hit, but is suggesting to rip a guys head off when the time is right actually justifiable? At the end of the day revenge is sweet on a cold plate, but even sweeter when it’s past the goal line… JUST PUT THE PUCK IN THE NET!

3) The hit is over once contact is made

This is one of the most misunderstood points about body contact. The contact is just the start, it’s not over until you get back into the play! The truth is most players who think thier sole responsibility is to make contact end up taking themselves out of the play! Either hit and pin or bump and go, either way he’s your responsibility and YOU GOTTA STAY BETWEEN HIM AND THE PUCK.

2) You always gotta know where potential hitters are

This isn’t totally false, but usually being paranoid about the proximity of other players leads to “hearing footsteps” and injuries. Focusing instead on where you are relative to the play, will mean that you can handle anything that comes your way. Bottom line… STAY LOW AND KEEP YOUR BUTT TO THE BOARDS and you’ll never be surprised.

1) A dead on hit is always the best
EEE EEE (Buzzer sound) Wrong again! Dead on contact is low percentage easy to side step, or headfake. THE BEST CONTACT IS ALWAYS THE RESULT OF PROPER ANGLING. A great coach at Benchwarmia U once taught me never confront unless you contain a guy first. In other words angle a guy, take away his ice then hit and pin… no injuries, no embarassing deked out of my pants moments… just straight neutralizing the opponent.
There you have it,
Tune in next time for Part 2 of 2: The Body Contact Checklist
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