Developing defensemen can be a difficult task. The skill sets required to be a solid defenseman are unique and require years of practice. One of the biggest things to work on with defenders is lateral movement. Here are some drills I like to use to improve my defensemen’s footwork:
1) Backward Snake Bites – Players skate backwards around each cone in the pattern. Players should keep their knees bent and chest up.
2) D Turn Step Outs – Players perform quick start backward, and pivot out to the wall and stop. Player returns to starting position, performs a D turn to accelerate backwards, and steps out to the wall again.
3) Defense Lightning – Player starts forward, skates to the red line, does a defense turn and then skates backward to the blue line, then pivots forward and skates back to the red line, then pivots backward again and skates (backward) into the zone.
4) D Half-Circle – Player starts forward around the circle to the top, performs a hard D turn and returns around the same portion of the circle skating backwards.
5) 4 Pivot – Player starts above the top cone and skates backward to the far cone, pivots forward, then returns to the top cone and performs a defense turn. Player will continue the drill around each cone.