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Video Coach

The Most Impactful Invisible Line on the Ice

By Ian Taylor, OMHA Executive Director, 11/08/22, 9:15AM EST


Video Coach | Presented by CoachThem

Welcome to OMHA Video Coach presented by CoachThem where we review a video clip from game action and then break down the sequence into frames identifying key skills, individual and team tactics, strategy and hockey IQ. Video is a great teaching tool that can be used by both players and coaches.

The dotline, although invisible, represents the most impactful threshold in the game of hockey. Defenders want to keep the puck and attacking players outside the dotline and the middle of the ice is the land of opportunity when looking to create offense.

We have discussed the dotline in previous Video Coach segments and in this segment we look at the need to attack the dotline to remain triple threat – to skate, pass or shoot.

Now, let’s take a closer look and break it down…
  • VAN6 gains possession of the puck and immediately swings into the middle of the ice, inside the dotline.
  • VAN9 switches lanes, fill space and provides support outside the dotline.
  • VAN6 kicks the puck to VAN9
  • EDM5 defends through the dotline
  • VAN9 enters the offensive zone in possession
  • He slows down as he scans and reads both pressure and support
  • VAN has a 3v1 with two EDM back checkers in pursuit.

Draw Drills, Plan Practices

One of a coach’s most valuable tools is their coaching board. With CoachThem, coaches can design drills and create practice plans right on their device and save them. Collaborating and sharing with out coaches has never been easier. Tag your drills, create descriptions of how they are run and emphasize the key points. CoachThem is a collaborative tool to make everyone better. Download CoachThem now.
  • VAN6 drives the middle lane to the net
  • VAN43 slows to provide attacking depth and also forces EDM29 to slow down as he backchecks into the zone.
  • VAN9 has no immediate pressure so he starts to move off the boards and towards the dotline.
  • If VAN9 stays wide – he only has a passing option.
  • This would allow EDM5 to simply take away the passing lane to VAN6
  • By getting off the wall and attacking the dotline, this forces EDM5 to have to protect both the threat of driving the net net or passing. 
  • EDM5 stays in the middle and defends against the pass
  • VAN9 sees this and takes advantage with the third option of his triple threat and shoots from the dotline.
Watch again to see the importance of attacking the dotline to be a multiple option threat.

Here is a similar example where entering the offensive zone, wide and outside the dotline, allows the puck carrier time to read pressure and support and then attack the dotline and keep all three threat options available – drive the net, pass or shoot.

Coaches – use the dotline to define both defensive and offensive tactics and teach players the importance of protecting or attacking the middle of the ice. When on the attack reinforce the need to get off the wall to become a triple threat.

Attacking Through the Dot Line


  • Drill starts with O net front and X at the top of the circle.
  • X passes to O with their feet moving, O returns the pass to X.
  • O then skates up around the top of the cone and drives towards the net creating a "middle land drive".
  • X drives towards the net with the puck through the "dot line" for a shot on goal.
  • After the shot X will start the drill on the other side of the ice, becoming the "middle lane drive" player.

Key Points:

  • Quick hands and quick feet.
  • Players must read and react off one another.
  • The player driving "wide" must get inside (towards the middle of the ice) the dot-line before shooting.
  • As players get comfortable with this drill, the progression is for X to pass to O for a scoring chance (shot or re-direct) or have X pass of the goalies pad to create a scoring opportunity for O

This drill can be used as a warm-up, position specific drill during split ice sessions or during a shared ice practice. Coaches can also use this drill out of both ends for quicker/more repetitions.

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Ian Taylor is the Executive Director of the OMHA and former Director of Hockey Development. A proud hockey dad of two, Ian has over 25 years of instructional and coaching experience.

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