Three Ingredients to a Successful Deke

Photo by Chris DiGiamo

Every sport seems to have a name for an ankle-breaking fake out. Football players juke, basketball players have the crossover, boxers feint, and hockey players deke. What do all these have in common? Let’s examine the ingredients:

Confident Approach

The first element involves a confident, almost casual approach. Doing this will leave your opponent guessing what you are going to do next. If your head is down, if you look hurried or off balance, you’re predictable. Conversely if your butt is down and your back is flat, eyes forward, you will be ready to spring at any second. The defender will be anxious to make a move as soon as you do.


Effective maneuvers usually involve some sort of reverse in direction. In order to trick your opponent you must make him commit to choosing where he will go next.  You can bait him in one of two ways: 1. Dangle the puck in front of him and tempt him with an easy steal he won’t be able to pass up. This requires exceptional control. Don’t bother teasing him if the puck if you can’t protect it. 2. Make a move so quick that your opponent thinks that if he doesn’t act immediately, you will blow by him. Once he bites, head the other way. This move will only be effective if you can skate quickly. If your defender realizes a mismatch, he will be less likely to buy your fake because he won’t feel anxious to make a move right when you do.

Last but not least try not to give any cues what you are about to do next. Keep your eyes surveying the area in front of you and leave your options open.


Once your opponent is sucked in, acting quickly is essential. All you need is a one stride advantage, but if your too slow to act the defender may recover, resulting in a lost opportunity.

Probably the most common deke you have seen occurs when a player quickly hits the puck forward as if to advance, then catches it with his backhand and pulls it back to take a quick shot with the forehand.


The following examples are from the Team Canada: Skills of Gold DVD


Share This Article

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • Delicious

Leave a Comment

Tell us who you are! Basic html is allowed. Advertising, profanity, self-promotion, and off-topic comments will be removed.