The Importance of Winning Puck Recovery Battles

When you watch teams that consistently win puck recovery battles along the boards there is evidence of strategy, tactics, and skill at play in their execution. These teams understand how important winning puck recovery battles are to winning the puck possession and control game and ultimately the hockey game.


A puck recovery battle is a pressure trigger that requires a group tactical plan to be executed by players with the skills to get the job done. The coaching of this group tactic should be broken down into the elements of a tactical plan and the skills required to execute that plan. A planned approach with players having the skills to execute the plan is recommended.

Group Tactical Plan Elements

  •  Outnumber on the puck as a group for tactical advantage
  •  Structure the group to contain the puck battle area
  •  Define the roles of each player in the group P1-P5
  •  Passing option(s) upon puck recovery in the tight space
  •  Box out the opponent from the puck
  •  Skills teaching with emphasis on proper fundamentals
  •  Exit play options from the tight space area upon recovery of the puck• Defensive plan in lost  battle situations

Technical Hockey Skills & Abilities of Players

  • Checking Ability
  • Pressure Up Ability (Individual & Group)
  • Touch passing skills in a tight space
  • Communication
  • Strong Hockey Position for balance and safety of players and always two hands on the stick
  • Compete Level
  • Grit & Courage

Video Analysis

Every coach likely supports the concept of a planned approach to winning puck recovery battles and not leaving the process to chance. I share a few video clips of puck recovery battle situations for you. The teams that lost the puck battles may not have executed a planned approach or there were simply mistakes made.

Video Link:

Twitter Account Post – Puck Recovery Battle Execution

Final Thought

Kids benefit from being coached to win the puck possession game. When kids play more with the puck than without the puck they enjoy the game more and their offensive skills improve.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu

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