The Importance of Heads Up Hockey9:08 AM
By; David Bailey
Everyone has seen the bone crushing hits delivered in the N.H.L, a guy crosses the blue line with his head down and takes a shoulder to the jaw. This just showcases the importance of heads up hockey. Especially for younger guys who are just starting to play checking hockey, its a whole new game,more fun but more dangerous as well. Every coach will stress the importance of heads up hockey, for all the young guys out there this is being able to pass,shoot, and stick handle without having to look at the puck the whole time. Besides keeping your head up to not get hurt from an opposing check, you also need to know the right way to throw a hit or you risk inuring yourself instead of making that big open ice check that fans love to see. The first step to a good clean check is keeping your elbows down and leading with your shoulder,keep your knees bent and get as low as possible, the lower you are and wider your stance the less likely you are to fall. the other type of check that is not as popular but can have a quite the effect is the hip check. This takes speed,quick feet,and a very sturdy skater to pull off. It is mostly done on the boards to an enclosing offense men although its possible in open ice but more difficult and easier to get beat. you start by leading with your hip and getting very low while skating backwards and slowly close off the opposing player to the boards so he has no choice but to try to sneak between you and the boards. At the moment he tries it you throw your hip out and close him off against the boards, because you are so low and they are usually moving so fast this is type of hit that can easily flip a guy head over heels, but it takes skill to pull this off correctly. This brings up another big problem in youth hockey,hitting from behind, this is the most dangerous thing that can happen the number one rule is if can see the numbers on their jersey don't throw the hit that is how people break bones and this could possibly result in serious neck,back and head injuries.So remember for a good clean check and a game without injury, keep your head up and your elbows down. Everyone likes to see a big hit but no one wants to see any other player carried off the ice.