Using the Power Push to Beat Defenders on the Rush - Hockey Skill Breakdown
There are many different strategies that a player can use on the rush. Some players will make an early move and drive the middle lane, others will stop along the half wall and wait for their team to enter the zone - but time and time again, we see players drive wide and use their body positioning to shield the puck and get in a scoring position.
In this blog we’re going to explore the Power Push, break down what goes into developing this skill, show how it is used to beat the defence while driving wide, AND give you 4 drills to work on this technique in practice.
Before we get into some video examples, let's start by defining the Power Push.
Simply put, the Power Push is a skating technique that players use to gain positioning on their opponent. By using the inside leg and upper body to lean into the defence, and the outside leg to create speed - the offensive player can shield the puck from their opponent and gain positioning in the middle of the ice.
Players at all ages and skill levels unknowingly use a similar technique in game situations every day, but when we break down the details of a successful Power Push, it’s clear that elite players execute this skill with specific points and produce consistent results.
As you can see in the 3 clips above, CAN14, STL91 and PIT87 use similar techniques to their Power Push. Specifically, these 5 details:
- Lean into the defender with the inside shoulder
- Move puck distant from the body, while keeping full control
- Drive inside leg forward and ahead
- Use inside arm to block defender's stick/reach
- Maintain speed by pushing off the outside skate
Although these plays may look simple in full speed, they are very specific and technical, and use skills that can be taught and developed.
Focusing on edge control, lower body strength/balance and situational awareness, I've put together 4 drills that you can use in your practices to help your players master the Power Push. All 4 drills can be found below and within the CoachThem Drill Marketplace so you can add them to your playbook!
1. Power Push - Edges Warm Up
The foundation to this skill is strong edge work, so a simple warm up of inside/outside edges is effective in getting your players to feel comfortable leaning on both sides of their skates.
- Opposite corners run at the same time
- Players start drill, using only their inside edge. Rotate the upper body (head) first and the bottom will follow
- While the player is turning, they're only using the inside edge of their outside foot (one leg). Shoulders square to the boards
- Run 6-7 turns down the ice. Option to add a pass at the end for a shot
- Same as previous sequence, but players use their inside skate and outside edge to turn
2. Power Push - NZone Regroup
An effective starting point to implement the Power Push, this drill allows for lower speed, higher rep practice under pressure from alternating sides.
- Drill runs on both sides. Players will do a figure 8 with two power pushes before attacking the net
- X1 skates around the dot, and immediately after turning, coach jumps in play and applies pressure
- X1 has to protect the puck by doing the power push (getting inside the Coach)
- X1 turns around the second dot and the coach applies pressure again
- After player breaks away from the coach, they drive down the ice for a shot on goal
- Option: Use another player instead of the coaches for the pressure
3. Power Push - Battle Drill
Building off the last drill, we progress to a tighter spaced battle and implement more physicality and pressure on the offense to apply the Power Push.
- X1 tries to attack the inside of the ice. X2 tries to defend the inside of the ice
Part 1 (controlled, 3 reps)
- X2 is following X1 and applies light pressure
- X1 is working on getting the inside. Leaning low, pushing on the outside leg and knee drive with the inside leg
- Players do figure 8 three times and X2 allows X1 to attack the net
Part 2 (non-controlled)
- It's a 1 vs 1 battle
- X1 can attack the net at any moment, but only if they use the power push to get inside the defender
4. Power Push - Give and Go Entry
Bringing it all together, the final drill picks up the speed and replicates a rush down the ice. The coach in this drill is key, as they will vary the intensity and length of pressure on the rush.
- X1 pass to X2, they pass back and forth and X2 ends up with puck
- X1 opens up to receive the pass on the wall
- X1 builds speed into the zone and get's entry pressure from the coach
- Attack the coach with the power push (high speed) and go in for a shot on net
- Opposite sides run drill at the same time
Blog by CoachThem Contributor, Mitch Giguere
Mitch Giguere, ChPC, is the father of four children and a passionate hockey coach, currently working as an Assistant Coach for the Concordia Stingers (USports). Previously, he worked with the Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg, was the video coach for the Winnipeg Ice (WHL) and coached in the MJHL. Mitch has his High Performance 2 from Hockey Canada and has an Advanced Coaching Diploma (NCCP4) from the Canadian Sports Institute. You can follow his popular video breakdown on Twitter @Coach_Mitch85 and follow his Facebook Page Behind The Bench for more great hockey content.