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Dear NDRA Coach...
Submitted By NDRA Coach on Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Dear NDRA Coach, When we are in the defensive triangle why do you tell us not to chase?  Wouldn’t it be better to chase after the ring carrier?

Sincerely, D

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The defensive triangle is the most effective way to shut down the opponent’s offense once they have possession of the ring in your end.  The triangle formation allows you to channel the offense to the outside of the “hot spot”, blocks the ring carrier’s route directly to the net, and causes the other team’s shot clock to expire.  You really have to work as a team and communicate with your defensive line mates in order to shut down the other team’s offense.  I liken the triangle formation to setting up a kind of “force field” in front on your net.

When you chase the ring carrier to the corner or far away from the net, you run the chance of getting beat 1-on-1 and giving the opposition an open route to your net.  The closer in a ring carrier can get to your net, the better their chance of scoring.  By chasing and getting taken out of the play, the opposing team is now 3 on 2 which gives them a huge opportunity to score.

One of the key skills that a defense needs to master is channeling.  Channeling is essentially trying to force your opponent to skate where they will be a lower scoring threat.  To channel successfully you need to know how large of a gap you can allow between yourself and your check.  If the gap is too big or too small, she will easily skate around you and drive to the hot spot.  

I’m sure you have heard the coaches encouraging you to “Push Out”, which means to keep the offense a good distance away from your goalie’s crease.  When you are too close to the crease in a defensive triangle you are allowing the ring carrier closer to your net which always increases their scoring chance.  Think of it this way:  the farther away that you can force your opponents to shoot the longer your goalie has to see the ring and move into position to stop the shot.
You might be wondering if it is ever ok to chase the ring outside the triangle.  The answer is yes, when you think that you have a good chance of getting possession.  For example if the offense takes a shot and the rebound goes into the corner, if you think you can get to the ring before the opposition, then go for it!  If you do get possession, then your team can breakout.  If you don’t end up with it, make sure that you stay between the ring carrier and your net so that they don’t have a free lane right to your goal.

There is a time when the defense should chase their check and play man-to-man.  This time is between the ringette lines when the other team is breaking out of their end.  If you cover your check, you prevent them from being open and getting a breakout pass.  They will try to evade and shake you, but do your best to stick with them.  This will give your team more time to forecheck the ring carrier and steal the ring away before it gets into your end.

Remember that staying in the triangle defensively does not mean that you stand still in your designated spot.  It is exhausting work and takes great skill to channel, push out, check and out-skate your opponents!  It’s a great feeling when you shut down your opponent’s number one scorer!  I heard some comments from yesterday’s game that the other team was saying in frustration “Why can’t I score today!?!”  That’s a great indication that you’re executing a killer defensive triangle!!

NDRA Coach

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