advice | teaching back checking


Back checking is often thought about as just hard working hard.  Working hard is most important and at the same time an effective back check requires positioning and angling.  The purpose of back checking is to get the puck back off the rush before the other team shoots.  Usually forwards are tasked with back checking.  They are usually tired and less inspired when back checking.

Practice drills: 2 on 0 back checkHalf ice back check

A back check can be improved significantly when the defensemen and back checker work together.  The back checker needs to keep his head up.  Here are some tips for teaching back checking:

  • The back checker always stays on the net side of the puck carrier and steers him wide away from the net
  • defense need to point to who the back checker should take - communication by the defense is huge 
  • failing that, the back checker goes for the player on the weak side of the ice (ie. opposite side of the puck) or the high player 
  • failing that, they go for an open player and stick with that player, do not switch from player to player 


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