Defense Drill #3A: On-Ball Shadowing (“Closed Stance”)
- Arrange two parallel pylons at the crease and shooter positions, in one or both ends of the floor depending on numbers. One offensive player should start outside of, but between the pylons (with a ball), with one defender stationed between pylons ready to shadow the movements of the offender, while maintaining top-side positioning.
*Variation #1 (15 min): "Top-Shoulder Landmarking." On the coaches first whistle, the player on defense, who has their stick upside-down (Variation #1A), does their best to "stay in line with the offensive players top-side shoulder." The offensive player does their best to get the defender off-balance using various footwork patterns, while staying between the pylons.
After approximately 5 seconds of "shadowing," the coach blows a 2nd whistle to signal that offensive players are now allowed to take it to the net one-on-one (with the opposite side starting their 5 seconds of shadowing).
Alternate between sides, with one side "shadowing" on the first whistle and the other side starting on the second whistle. In effect, offensive players in the drill will have roughly 5 seconds to try to get a shot off (10 seconds total time in the drill), before exiting (on the coaches whistle). After playing offense, players are then next up on defense (after the other side takes their turn), and then exit the drill.
Halfway through the drill coaches should allow defensive players to hold their stick normally (Variation #1B) and discuss the role of stick-checking.
*Variation #1C (10 min): "Screen/Seam Shots." Same as the above variation except after the 2nd whistle the offensive player has 5 seconds to get a screen or seam shot, still having to stay between the pylons. The defender runs continuously back and forth, being sure to keep their “stick up” and to stand in the shooting lanes.
Variation #2 (10 min): "Mid-Boards To Point Position." Same as the above variations except the pylons that the players are shadowing between are positioned 2 metres off of the mid-boards, and at the point position.
Variation #3 (10 min): "Player Obstacle." Same as the above variations except after playing defense players remain between the pylons, acting as a obstacle for the new player playing defense to have to evade while shadowing.