Hockey is a fantastic sport that provides just the right mix of excitement and thrills. In hockey, every team has a plan for creating offense. Forth truth, athletes put a lot of effort away from the puck to improve their game. A team would like to carry the ball into the zone, but the defense makes it impossible and compels them to shoot. This is where the forecheck enters the picture.
What does forecheck in hockey mean?
Whenever a team pushes the opponent in the offensive zone to generate pressure and disruption, this is known as forechecking. All of that is done to acquire possession of the puck by compelling the other team to give the puck over. A hockey team can employ or will use a variety of forechecking systems during the game.
While on the attacking end of the ice, it is considered a defensive approach that uses checking to disturb your opponent and separate them from the puck. It’s unavoidable.
To win a hockey game, a team needs a strong forechecking system. To produce turnovers and possession time with the puck, a team must be able to disrupt and create mayhem in the offensive zone against the opposition.
In a normal forecheck situation, anyone from 1-3 players will provide pressure in the attacking zone. Whether chasing down a lost puck or hounding the puck carrier is the major player’s job. Some other two players would’ve been covering a deliberate attempt along the boards or cutting off the expected pass receiver.
What happens when the player crosses the blue line before the puck?
The puck carrier can delay a player’s entry into the offensive zone if he or she arrives before the puck crosses the blue line. A delayed offside is what this is called. All attacking players will vacate the offensive zone as soon as the referee raises their arm without sounding the whistle.
The puck-carrier is then allowed to enter the offensive zone, followed by the rest of his or her teammates. Whenever the puck drops into the neutral zone, all players must evacuate and re-enter the zone as a group, with both the puck carrier leading the charge. Delay offsides are waived and players are no longer forced to depart into the neutral zone if an opposition defensive player knocks the puck back into their zone.
Types Of Forechecking
Forechecking is a hockey strategy. It is usually used when trailing in the game, as it helps to control the puck. There are four types of forechecking:
1. Passive Forechecking:
In hockey, another name for passive forechecking is “stay at home.” It is a defensive strategy in which you play back and try to prevent an opponent from getting the puck while they’re trying to get into their zone. Teams will often do this when they have a lead, so that they can prevent their opponents from taking the puck back again.
If your team is behind by a goal or two, you’ll want to play passively. You’ll let the other team go through the center of the ice and then try to keep them there. If they can’t advance towards your net, they won’t score.
+ A good way to keep people away from your net is to clog up the middle with players who are more offensive than defensive. This is called “clogging up the middle.”
− If you clog up the middle and let people go around you then it’s really easy for them to go past you and get a goal because they have space to maneuver in.
2. Neutral Zone Forecheck:
When you’re playing ice hockey and you want to steal the puck, one of the important skills you’ll need to master is the neutral zone forecheck. This is a technique that involves using an opponent’s known plays against them in order to get the puck out of their hands before they can get it into their own zone, without being scored on.
The neutral zone forecheck is a fairly risky strategy due to its potential for leaving you open for a counterattack by your opponents. However, if done correctly, it can be very effective at forcing an opponent into making mistakes and losing control of the puck.
3. Offensive Forecheck:
Offensive forecheck is a highly important part of hockey that involves pressuring your opponent in their defensive zone, with the aim of preventing them from getting out of it and scoring on you instead. You need to be careful doing this though because if your opponent does manage to get out, then you’ll be caught out of position and vulnerable to being scored on.
Let’s say your opponent is trying to get off a clear against you. They’re trying to move the puck or pass it up the ice to their forwards and out of their defensive zone so they can create some space and set up for an attack on your goal. When they do this, they’re vulnerable and exposed with all the players moving in a line right up the middle of the ice.
If you can pressure them along that line, you’ll be able to keep them from getting out and scoring on you instead. But it’s important to be careful! If you’re playing too aggressively and your opponents manage to get around you, then you could end up caught hopelessly out of position and let them score easily on your goalie. So how do you strike that balance?
4. Trap Forecheck:
The best forechecking plays are called “traps.” A trap works by drawing your opponents into a certain area of the ice, and then having all players cover each other so that they can’t escape.
For example, a 2-1-2 forecheck (two defenders on the puck carrier, one defender in the middle and two defenders on the sides) can be set up as a trap in the neutral zone.
The center defender will play high near the opposing blueline and start pressuring the opposing defenseman who has the puck.
Meanwhile, one of the side defenders will go down to pressure the opposing forward who is nearest to him. The other side defender will also drop back to help cover passing lanes.
The net effect is that an opponent with possession of the puck will have three defenders coming at them from all directions, making it very difficult for them to get out of their own zone.
Best Forechecking Strategies in Hockey
The numbering system used to define forechecking methods is quite similar to the formations used in American Football. These methods are usually used in the attacking zone, although they may also be used in the neutral zone.
Aggressive and cautious techniques are also addressed. The player racing after the puck is represented by the first number in the “forecheck number system” in the numbering sequence. The middle value in a three-number system represents the secondary support to the primary forechecker.
Should the other side obtain the puck past the initial forecheckers, the last number symbolizes the guys who will hold the line. Let’s take a closer look at each strategy:
Forechecking Strategy 2-1-2
On the forecheck, the 2-1-2 Strategy is more aggressive. The forechecking side sends two players deep into the offensive zone to collect the puck, while the third forward lingers around the face-off circle closest to the puck.
The 3rd man high can enter the action if the two-deep forwards successfully turn the puck over. He can withdraw on the backcheck if he doesn’t want to fight. Meanwhile, the two defenses are waiting for the ball to come to them, as previously said.
Forechecking Strategy 1-2-2
The most commonly used strategy in a game is the 1-2-2 Strategy. When the game is close in score and/or there is lots of time left on the clock, this is your go-to tactic. The lead forechecker applies pressure to the puck carrier (opponent), while the other two forwards serve as backups.
These two forwards are on the ice to break up passes, grab loose pucks, and assist along the boards. The two defensemen essentially stand around waiting for the ball to come to them. If their teammates recover the puck or if the forecheck fails, they will take a more aggressive role.
2-3 Press Strategy
The 2-3 Press Strategy is an aggressive forecheck used in the game’s or period’s first few shifts. The goal is to send two forwards deep into the zone and chase both defensemen down low, hoping to knock them off the ball.
On the forecheck, two more defensemen and a forward are lined up at the blue line, ready to put pressure on. If the puck is passed along the boards by the opposing side, the puck will be challenged by the nearest defenseman. The image above exemplifies this point. When the puck is passed up the middle of the ice, the third forward (F3 – usually the centerman) is responsible for applying pressure to the puck handler.
1-4 Forechecking Strategy
All of the strategies are less aggressive than the 1-4 Forecheck Strategy. Only one player chases the puck in the offensive zone, while the others sit back and defend the line against a counterattack.
Sending in only one player has the goal of causing the puck bearer some discomfort. The goal is for the forechecker to slow down an offensive breakout, put pressure on the puck carrier to pass to a specific area of the ice, or acquire puck control. The 1-4 Strategy has a low chance of regaining the puck.
What Is the Importance of Forechecking?
Under a variety of situations, forechecking is essential. When a player dumps the puck into the offensive zone, offensive players may have to hustle to get the puck and pressure the other team’s defense.
A strong forecheck makes it nearly impossible for the opposition to switch players. The opposition squad will be tired and more likely to make mistakes as a result of this. Furthermore, forechecking might assist your side in reclaiming the ball following a turnover in the offensive zone. Forechecking helps you keep the puck in the offensive zone and boost your chances of scoring in any situation.