You’ve probably heard the term “pinch” in hockey, but do you really know what it means? Is it something you do to the other team when they aren’t wearing green on March 17th? I know there are times in the game when I am screaming “PINCH PINCH PINCH!” at the top of my lungs -and I know my team mate(s) can hear me- but they never pinch.
Pinching is when a defenseman pounces on the opposing team’s forward or his passing lane. Think of it as trying for an interception in football. When the quarterback throws the ball, instead of staying with his opponent, the defensive back quickly positions himself in front of the wide receiver. Pinching in hockey is kind of like that, you are cutting off your opponent in hopes for a turnover.
Pinching is risky but it can pay off.
When you decide to pinch in your attacking zone, make sure that
- A winger has you covered OR
- Your fellow defensemen is far enough back to cover you.
If your team is up a goal or two, don’t pinch. The main reason for pinching is to obtain the puck in hopes to score a goal. Instead, hang back at the point and keep the puck in the zone. If the opposing team starts to breakout, play the body, and force the puck carrier to the boards.
Never pinch when someone is already pinching. This will literally leave you defenseless.
A good time to pinch would be when your team is down a point and you need to score. In every circumstance, communicate with your teammates. Say something along the lines of “cover” or better yet “SMITH- COVER!” This will let your teammates know they need to cover your position because you’re about to leave it.
One thing that I’ve found works best for me is to assess each player’s skill level on the opposing team. If a player is weaker, I know my chances of picking him off are a lot better.
When you decide to pinch it is a 110% type of situation. You should not hesitate. If you’re going to pinch DO IT otherwise you’ll most likely end up tripping over your own two feet.
Pinching can turn a game around for better or worse, so make sure you pinch with precision!