The List

THE LIST by  Jeff Serowik Pro Ambitions Hockey Inc.

  • I made a list of my responsibilities on the ice for practice and in games.
  • I would read it before every game.
  • In the locker room, in between taping my stick, sometimes while listening to my play list.
  • I would add to MY LIST throughout the season and make changes annually depending on my role on the team that year or my coach’s style.
  • Carry THE LIST in your wallet, or in a safe spot in your hockey bag.
  • For a decade when I played professional hockey this is what I did with the encouragement of my sports psychologist who urged me to make THE LIST. It is an incredibly useful tool to get your head in the game and mentally prepare for games, practices and try outs.
  • As I mentioned above, MY LIST grew over the years depending on the systems and style of hockey my coach that season preferred.
  • Make your LIST.
  • THE LIST clarifies a lot, a daily reminder of your job out there.
  • Here are a few things from MY LIST. Remember I was a defenseman.


  1. Join the rush after a good hard, clean breakout pass. I used to beat my forwards up the ice.
  2. Find seams in the offensive zone to get pucks to net.
  3. Get a check, make contact with puck or an opponent on my first shift to get myself right into the game.
  4. Shoot to score in warm ups, treat every warm up shot like it is a shootout.
  5. Find pockets where to come in quickly, get a shot and then cut back. Remember I am a D.
  6. Keep my feet moving at all times. Keep my stick on the ice at all times.
  7. Keep my head on a swivel.
  8. Be vocal with my teammates and my goalie.
  9. Be vocal with my teammates who are not playing much on the bench.
  10. Lateral movement on the blue line. Never stand still. Get the goalie moving because he or she is watching you move and create a shooting lane.
  11. Hit the net, most of my shots were wrist shots.
  12. High cycle.
  13. Keep pucks in at blue line.
  14. Put my skate right behind my stick on blue line. Hard leg and skate against my stick to stop bouncy pucks.
  15. Go right in to the dirty area for rebounds.
  16. Stay low and centered at my core to protect myself and be ready to go in any directions in that ready position.
  17. Be alert and low and protect myself around the boards and in the dirty areas.
  18. Never take safety for granted.
  19. Always use my big legs as a safety measure to stop bouncy puck and keep in the offensive zone.
  20. Demand the puck. Literally yelling for it.
  21. My forwards knew I was the fourth guy waiting right behind them to support offensively or defensively.
  22. Support D partner always.
  23. If D partner is on the wall, I cannot be on the other wall. Always half ice from him.
  24. Fake a shot, move laterally and then shoot for real.
  25. Head fakes and body fakes are a must throughout the game.


  1. Good gaps.
  2. Stay inside the dots.
  3. Stick on puck. Wherever the puck goes your stick is your weapon pointing right at it. On it.
  4. Never turn your back to the play.
  5. Always support my D partner and communicate with him.
  6. Butts and Mugs. Meaning if my opponent has his butt facing me, he can’t see me so I attack hard. This is a stealth move. If his mug or face is looking at me, then I get low and attack with caution on an angle because he could beat me.
  7. Stick on the ice.
  8. Clear front of net.
  9. I like to work off the back post. Some like the front post. I focus on the back post and this is how I teach D at my camps.
  10. Head on swivel. Don’t be a puck watcher. Do not glue your eyes to the puck. You need to assess the entire ice and see the whole surface urgently, not just the puck. That is how you will create the next play.
  11. Hard GREAT breakout pass. Crisp and clean. Take major pride in the breakout then be ready willing and able to jump into the play. In youth hockey I see the D take a breather after the breakout. NO breather. Skate even harder into the play after that break out pass here is a chance for offense.
  12. Make the simple play when applicable. You are not always going to have a great breakout pass. So then flip it out or eat the puck. Hold it in your feet. Take the hit to protect the puck.
  13. Use net as a screen when breaking out puck. I will teach you this at camp. Hard to describe in writing.
  14. Hinge passes with my D partner.
  15. Physical play always. Make opponents pay the price.
  16. Dont’ let forward beat you to net from the corner.
  17. Watch where your opponent with the puck is looking, this will give you a clue where it is going.
  18. Be sure to give my teammates options with the puck. We will go over this more specifically at camp.
  19. Make easy small outlet passes to yourself, off the boards, to a teammate, these are small and basic but get the job done.
  20. If my teammates are outnumbered along the boards, this goes for D or Forwards, go in and help.
  21. A lot of goals are scored by drop passes. Watch out for these on the offense and defense.
  22. Watch my opponents chest, that is how I know where he is going.
  23. Win BATTLES everywhere with and without the puck.
  24. Outlet passes are small passes to my center or wing or off the boards back to myself
  25. Keep it simple. Don’t get fancy. Don’t overhandle the puck.    Sign up for summer camps now. Plan your work and work your plan. At each camp this summer we are going to make a list with the kids. We will encourage players to add to their list throughout their season and use it as a training tool.

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