Is it all about balance?

Discussion in 'The Rink' started by Maximum Cheddar, Sep 17, 2011.

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  1. Maximum Cheddar

    Maximum Cheddar Registered User

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    We have a problem on our rec team. Half of our players are good and the other half are not. Yesterday we tried to balance the lineup with 1 good d-man and 1 weak d-man. We also had 2 lines with 2 good players and 1 weak player, and a 3rd line of 1 good player and 2 weak ones. We did not fair well losing 5 -0. So my question is how do we handle this situation? What's the best way to disperse the lineup? It was just our first game together I'm I over reacting? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. flyers10

    flyers10 Registered User

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    It was only your first game. Try it another game before switching. The other team may have been much better so no line change would help anyway. Also new teams playing teams that have played together for a few years almost always struggle at first until you get some chemistry together. The risk of stacking the lines is that you may get a few goals from line 1 but lines 2 & 3 get hammered and give up 7. Have people play to their strengths. If the weak forward doesn't skate well but is bigger have them drive to net and park themselves there, etc, etc.
     
  3. Pajicz

    Pajicz Registered User

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    I wouldn't prefer balancing the line-up before the game starts; playing with an awful linemate just makes a good player play badly. Got too much experience about it. Only if you're winning by 2-3 goals, then it might be a good choice to mix up a bit.
     
  4. Wildturkey12

    Wildturkey12 Do It!

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    What we usually do is put two of the good d-men on the same line with some of the not so good forwards and vice versa. The key is to make sure the defense doesnt change at the same time as the forwards. We score a lot of goals during that minute where we overlap. Then again, our team is not very good.
     
  5. Pog Form

    Pog Form Registered User

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    I read on here recently about a method of setting lines by matching player speed rather than trying to balance good/not-so-good. Seemed like it could work.
     
  6. Rink Bum

    Rink Bum Registered User

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    MC,

    How are your weak players positionally? Do they know their positions and how to cover when in your own zone?

    Sounds like the summer team I was on. We had a range of levels from A/B players to beginners. Tried all sorts of lineups and didn't help as players were out of position. But once the beginners were able to play their positions better it was easier to get the puck out of our zone at least and then get some scoring.

    Also, as your team begins to play together, the chemistry will come. Case in point, first game and first time we're playing together, we had 14 on our bench versus 5 plus their 1 sub..........err, we lost horribly...... :cry:

    They were not better by any huge means, just a team that had been playing together for some time, and they knew their positions.
     
  7. Subnordi

    Subnordi Registered User

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    What my team did was try to have a line combo of Skill/Size/Speed, worked great
     
  8. Maximum Cheddar

    Maximum Cheddar Registered User

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    We went over positional stuff in practice, but once the game started it all went out the window.
     
  9. Maximum Cheddar

    Maximum Cheddar Registered User

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    I actually really like this idea but I don't think it would work for this team. 4 of the weaker players have low skill, are slow, and they are all tiny. But I do like the idea and may fashion the roster after this method the best I can.:yo:
     
  10. jsykes

    jsykes Registered User

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    Do the pros put one star on each of the four lines with "checkers" in order to balance lines?

    No.

    You put your best players together to give them the best chance of performing and scoring goals. You then use your less skilled players as "checking" lines or simply lines that play their position and good defense and try to keep from getting scored on. If they do this, they will eventually get chances as well.

    We've done this more recently on one of my teams and it works. One line is very strong, gets lots of chances and scores goals. Our other two are decent, we play good position, keep scoring chances down and every now and then get some good chances and even score from time to time.

    Look at the pros. Skilled players together and not so skilled players together.

    When you put your skilled players with less skilled players, the line can only be as strong as the weakest player on the line.
     
  11. Jarick

    Jarick Doing Nothing

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    I would match up players based on speed and ability to play with others. On D we like to pair good and bad players...you don't want two guys running around aimlessly.
     
  12. Wilch

    Wilch Unregistered User

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    Sounds like you're just playing on a stacked team.

    Generally it's tough to allocate the lines in leagues with wider talent spread or on weaker teams in general.
     
  13. jsykes

    jsykes Registered User

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    Not at all. We're a B team with about one line worth of B players and most of the players would not be out of place in a C league.

    We lost most of our games and finished in last place trying to "balance" lines. When we did what I'm saying above, we won 4 of our 5 last games and played the first place team (and eventual league champs) to a 3-1 loss in the playoffs.

    Unless you have guys that just plain should be no where near your league, it should work. Our good line would get chances and our others would work hard and try to keep the puck out of our own net.

    It worked and will work most of the time.
     
  14. Stickmata

    Stickmata Registered User

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    I would stack your top O line with your best players then mix a line then have a line of weak players. Make sure the weaker players focus on defensive positioning so they don't give up a goal. I would split your D, matching strong and weak on every line though.

    I play on teams where I am in both camps. On the really strong team where I'm a weaker player, I focus on backchecking hard and being defensively responsible, knowing that I'm at a speed disadvantage to the better players. I chip in a few goals here and there throughout the season, but my role is to chew up minutes and keep the other team off the board. On that team, I gauge my play solely on +/-, not whether I score at all. I've found that even though I'm at a huge skill disadvantage, I can add a lot of value defensively and help the team that way. That's what your weaker players should be thinking about IMO. A crappy player that skates hard and knows where to be can still help the team.
     
  15. Dr Van Nostrand

    Dr Van Nostrand Banned

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    Fast - passer - physical
    physical - passer - fast
    fast - physical - passer
     
  16. Jarick

    Jarick Doing Nothing

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    Yeah that's what we did last year. Stack the top line then put a fast skater on each of the other lines who can play some kind of D.

    Matching up players who play well with others and can pass is a good idea too. I suck at using my linemates and tend to want to get the puck, burn up ice, and get a shot on net, so when I play with similar players, we're less productive. I like playing with guys who are my speed and like to pass since all I want to do is shoot and score goals.
     
  17. Rink Bum

    Rink Bum Registered User

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    LOL! Sounds all too familiar to me. Although, we did get better near the last few games of the season.
     
  18. RandV

    RandV It's a wolf v2.0

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    Are you expecting a full team for every game? With my team, which has started to round out a bit better after two years but being a mixed group certainly struggled with that problem, we always seemed to do best when we had 8 forwards show up. We'd put our two best players at center to rotate and have 3 pairs at wing. I know from experience that as a beginner LW/RW is by far the easiest position to play, and it makes a world of difference playing with an experienced center playing.

    So as an arm chair coach you probably have the right idea with the dmen as putting the two inexperienced guys together would likely be a disaster. For the forwards though I'd say your best bet is to put 3 good players down the middle, take the remaining 2 good players as the first players (and if you really want to win make them the PP unit). Partner up the remaining 4 poor players as a wingers and get them to stay on the point in your own end and gradually learn how to get the puck out and dump & chase or chip it into the middle for the center to pick up and gain the zone, and crash the net in the offensive end. It may be a struggle to even get a shot on net but if the puck is always moving up and down the ice the other team is less likely to score.

    This is basically how my initiation from 1 year in a beginners division in one league to the upper tier division in another league went. 2 years later I actually have pretty good chemistry with the guy I always played with that first year, when we'd be lucky to get a shot on net during a game.
     
  19. Guffaw

    Guffaw Registered User

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    I essentially agree with RandV

    I'll give you my perspective as an intermediate level men's league player on balancing lines etc. Skating for ~8yrs., but only playing forward for 3 yrs.

    I can do very little out there with two lower level/novice type forwards beside me. They can't keep up, make an accurate outlet pass to hit me in stride through the neutral zone, positioning is horrible etc. I can score in the league I play in so I figure I'm kind of wasted on a line like that. If I were coach I would put another slower/lower level player out with them and cut our looses. Perhaps if I were an advanced player I could burn 2-3 guys on my own and the line would still be productive, but I'm not or at least not yet.

    I don't think the players on a line all have to be able to skate at the same speed etc., but I do think they should be at a similar skill level overall. Match better players on the top lines and give them more ice time. I guess that could be an issue especially with d-men. Match your worse two together and they might get scorched so I guess it depends, but at least with your top forward line they all have to be in the top 4 or 5 forwards on the team IMO. It's the way it's done in every level of hockey I know of. Blair Betts doesn't play with Briere or Giroux.
     
  20. nullterm

    nullterm Registered User

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    One team i played on did this and worked great. Was on the size line and we had great chemistry. We'd start by getting the puck deep and then keep the puck moving along the boards. Then have one guy in the slot or just take it to the net. Nothing fancy or fast, just grinding it out to create scoring opportunities and just make simple plays defensively.
     
  21. Guffaw

    Guffaw Registered User

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    Skill/Size/Speed is great , but again I think the players need to be on similar levels. A guy built like a linebacker with no hockey sense or ability doesn't do the other two much good. I think good players need to be paired with good players.

    Are most of you guys playing in league's where the skill level of the players is pretty consistent? Maybe my viewpoint is skewed because the talent is so varied in our league. We have ~35yr. old players that played NCAA D1/Junior A and are still at a high level and on the flip side 50 yr. olds that have only been skating for a few years so it's all over the place.
     
  22. JoeCool16

    JoeCool16 Registered User

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    I'm pretty terrible at hockey and have only been playing for a couple seasons, skating for about a year before that. I've tried it both ways and they can both be successful.

    If you're playing with two guys who are bad or just learning, then the one "pro" should try simple, safe passes to the other players while trying to control the play. The guys that aren't as good should be aware that it's ok to make mistakes and not seize up when passes come. The worst thing that could happen is for the good player to play as if he's with forwards on his level. He'll probably end up looking as lost out there as the other two are.

    If you're going all 3 bad, then give them a defensive role. I loved that. We really studied up defensive positioning and ended up being the best +/- line on our team, despite only scoring once every couple games. You learn a lot about hockey playing a defensive game and it'll develop you as a player.

    Either way, I think you can make a successful team. Just play a simple game and make sure each line knows their role until chemistry starts to develop.
     
  23. Maximum Cheddar

    Maximum Cheddar Registered User

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    Funny you should mention that. The other game I took 3 of the weaker players that I thought might be a good checking line and put them together. One is good position wise. One is tenacious in his puck pursuit and one slaps it out once he gets it. The result? We lost 3 - 0. But the checking line was not scored on and had some of the best chances in the game. We have however been shutout 2 out of 3 games. Anyone know how to jump start an offence?:shakehead
     
  24. nullterm

    nullterm Registered User

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    The league is pretty wide, but fairly consistent in each division.

    We werent linebackers. Just above average regarding size, or atleast able to dig our feet in and not get push off the puck. Great to have that experience playing D now, as I may not have the speed or skill of guys I defend against, but I do know how to keep body position on them to shut down.
     
  25. Guffaw

    Guffaw Registered User

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    I understand. Just saying the speed/size/skill formula requires a certain level of competency from all 3. A really big guy that sucks probably doesn't belong on the top line. Just as a guy with alot of speed, but no hockey ability doesn't either.

    I find that if you put 3 of our top 4-5 players on a line the puck wont leave the opponents zone. Put them all on different lines and it might not get into the opponents zone. Just an observation
     

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