Let’s think about it. The game starts with a face-off, so who ever win it get the ball to start with it and set the tone of the game early. And if you don’t play the face-off right you can get brunt early for a goal in under 10 seconds. And let’s face it no team wants to be down 0-1 after 10 seconds into a game. What is why practicing face-offs as a team is so important.
I don’t have a rule but the way I’m approaching face-off this year is to have a face-off guy for each middie line. I think I will have four or five middie lines so; I will have four or five face-off specialist. Now, with my team we had two returning players that did the job from last year and I help two guys on the JV team get better at face-offs. So, they will remain my four guys. If you are starting a team or don’t know who your guys are, have a competition for the spots after practice or during practice. Tell them how important it is to the team and if they win how they will be on the field more. Kids will want to do it. I have seen some long stick that can take a face-off because they are quick and if they lose what better way to stop a fast break than to have a long stick on ball right a way.
After you get your guys picked for the season, it is a good idea for them to practice face-off four to five times a week. Maybe one or two times with the whole team. That why they are always getting better. The thing about face-off is that if you win you control the ball more. Than leads to more scoring chances and more less time on defense, two things that will give you team a better chance to win. Of these guys each of them should have their own move, if you can. They are many different face-off moves. I attached two video I found that work. The reason that you have each kid have their own move is then you can adjust to the other teams top face-off guy. Now my number one guy is good at all the moves, so he adjusts on his own. And if he can’t beat that guy, he knows which one of the other guys on our team is the best shot to win the face-off, because they have been practicing against the same moves in practices. I let this senior be in charge off the face-off department because his passion for winning them is second to none. He is team players so, if he can’t win the face-off he lets someone else try.
Last, if you are having a hard time of winning the face-offs in a game. Try two things. First, get a guy that is going to be physical out there. Some face-off guys like to be so quick that getting hit isn’t fun all the time. Plus it wears that guy out while the physical guy doing the hitting likes it and wants to keep doing it. Second, try putting a long stick on the guy and play defense right way. Yes, you lose the face-off but, you don’t give up easy goals or fast breaks. You team defense is in better position this way.
I’m sure you know after every goal there is a face-off, so start practicing them to give your team a better advantage in the game. And to think it only takes about 10-15 minutes a day, and the rest of the team can do something else.
Check out more at www.coachgafner.com