Checking skills are critical to the game of hockey and when performed properly can create quality scoring opportunities or help a team regain control of the puck. Just like skating, puck control, passing and shooting there are key progressions to the skills of checking. When taught correctly, checking skills greatly enhance a player’s enjoyment of the great game of hockey.
Body checking is the fourth step in the progression of checking skills. Players must learn and master all aspects of the checking game to become effective and complete players. The introduction to checking skills begins the first time a young player steps on the ice and begins to acquire sound skating fundamentals.
"Teaching Checking – A Progressive Approach" provides coaches, parents, and players with a complete set of definitions, descriptions and drills to properly understand and execute a wide variety of checking skills within the game of hockey.
The CHA encourages coaches to take the time to become familiar with the material in this manual and to adopt the progressions that are presented. Players will benefit from a coaching approach that incorporates many of the drills and activities contained within this material.
Body Checking: Body Checking is defined as an individual defensive tactic designed to legally separate the puck carrier from the puck. This tactic is the result of a defensive player applying physical extension of the body toward the puck carrier moving in an opposite or parallel direction. The action of the defensive player is deliberate and forceful in an opposite direction to which the offensive player is moving and is not solely determined by the movement of the puck carrier.
Body Contact is defined as an individual defensive tactic designed to legally block or impede the progress of an offensive puck carrier. This tactic is a result of movement of the defensive player to restrict movement of the puck carrier anywhere on the ice through skating, angling and positioning. The defensive player may not hit the offensive player by going in opposite direction to that player or by extending toward the offensive player in an effort to initiate contact. There must be no action where the puck carrier is pushed, hit or shoved into the boards.
Canadian Hockey Association 4 Step Checking Model:
Step #1 – Positioning and Angling
• The first step in teaching Checking is to learn how to control skating and establish position to approach the opponent from an angle minimizing time and space for the opponent.
Step #2 – Stick Checks
• The second step is to effectively use the stick, poke checking and sweep checking, lifting and locking the opponent’s stick.
Step #3 – Body Contact
• The third step is to use the body to block the opponent’s way or take away the skating lanes of another player. The correct stance and effective use of leg strength are important parts of these techniques.
Step #4 – Body Checking
• The fourth and final step is the actual body checking. This step includes teaching techniques to check and receive a body check as well as safety and rules.