How to Hockey Check

Hockey players check opponents to gain control of the puck. There are many different checking methods. By learning proper checking techniques, players can improve their defensive effectiveness without risking being penalized. If you want to learn how to hockey check, consider these guidelines.


  1. 1
    Build your checking skills. Not all checking in hockey involves body contact. Effective positioning is the foundation of learning how to hockey check. The fundamentals of proper positioning include:
    • Defensive position: Take a position between your net and the opponent. Stay in the player's shooting or passing lane. Blocking lanes forces the puck carrier to take risks with the puck, often leading to a turnover.
    • Defensive angling: Expand your range as a defender by angling yourself between 2 opponents so you can quickly pressure either one. Try to force your opponents away from the center of the ice. Never surrender proper defensive position.
  2. 2
    Keep your stick active. By keeping your stick on the ice and moving, you expand your defensive zone. You can use your stick to steal the puck from player while still holding a desirable defensive position. Some of the most effective stick checking techniques are:
    • Poke: While holding your stick with one hand, jab at the puck on a rival's stick.
    • Lift: Lift your opponent's stick with yours so that the puck is freed.
    • Press: Cross your stick over your opponent's so it can't move.
    • Sweep: Using one hand, make a circular motion to slap puck away from the opponent.
  3. 3
    Make body contact with the puck carrier. You sometimes can control an opponent through physical pressure. This can be done by taking away the player's skating lane or blocking his path.
    • Rub: Move parallel to your opponent to impede his movement.
    • Screen: Hold your ground to stop a player.
    • Pin: Neutralize an opponent by holding him against the boards.
    • Box out: Move a player away from a particular area, usually the slot area in front of your goal.
  4. 4
    Practice body checks. Hard body checks often separate a player from the puck, but only can be administered within the confines of the rules. The correct technique in all body checks is to make contact with your hips and shoulders while keeping your stick on the ice.
    • Front: Lean forward and make contact with the shoulder.
    • Side: Extend the outside knee and deliver the bow with the hip and shoulder. In open ice, shift your weight to the side you're checking. Along the boards, strive to control your opponent's arms.
    • Hip: Forming a tripod with the hand closest to the opponent on the ice, make hip-to-hip contact.
  5. 5
    Prepare to receive checks. Hockey players must be ready for contact at all times. By learning how to receive a check, you can protect yourself and keep yourself in the play. Players can withstand the punishment of hard checks by staying alert and taking certain safety measures.
    • Avoid the check. By anticipating a check, you may be able to avoid it. Quick stops can make a checker miss you. A roll-off technique enables you to slide off an oncoming opponent by pivoting sharply at the last instant. This method enables you to avoid the full force of the check.
    • Brace for contact. If you cannot avoid a collision, it is important for you to become as much of a checker as the player bearing down on you. Turn your shoulder and hip into the checker. Keep a wide base and low center o gravity, using your stick to form a triangular base.


  • Always keep your head up. This helps you anticipate collisions and avoid serious injuries.
  • Keep control of your stick. Don't put it between your opponent's legs or in his skates. Such a tactic often results in a penalty for tripping, slashing or hooking.


  • Never push with your arms or elbows when checking.
  • Do not take more than 3 strides toward an opponent when applying a check, especially along the boards. This sometimes leads to injuries and often results in a significant penalty.

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Categories: Ice Hockey