What Does “Playing Big” Mean in Ice Hockey?
A quick word on 'being' big vs 'playing' big
Just because a player is physically bigger than an opponent does not necessarily mean they have an advantage. Yet, you often hear commentators, coaches, management, etc. compliment players by talking about a player’s ability to “play big” or they “play bigger than their size.”
What is “playing big”?
Playing big is the ability to prioritize body positioning and control space.
Rather than fishing using their stick, players that play big take the extra step or shuffle push to establish or keep body positioning.
A big (see what we did there) piece of “playing big” is initiating contact early. Here is a great example of a 5’9” player physically initiating contact against a 6’4” opponent to gain and maintain body positioning so he has exclusive access to the space that the puck is in. The physically smaller player is then able to easily make the next play.
Play big and win more puck battles by establishing “Position before Possession”
Increasing puck touch efficiency by understanding the difference between an Attack Puck vs Possession Puck
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