The Art Of Deception


by Perfect Skating March 27, 2018

Do you ever take the time to study the best players in the world?  Their movement, their skill and how they think?  We do, as a matter of fact, we’ve got one person on our staff that does just that.  That person connects with analytics groups to scale to a group of about 30.  But why?  We call it data mapping.  The data points give us accuracy on building out the macro concepts and micro context of our programming at Perfect Skating. 

One of the biggest concepts that comes out of our data mapping is the concept of deception, and no not the evil kind of deception where you’re not telling your coach you had bacon and sausage at breakfast this morning before your big final game.  This is all about execution. As a matter of fact, the biggest reason why plays are executed and goals are scored share two common concepts.  The first is dictating re: being active or attacking as opposed to reactive and defending. We’ve written about this quite a bit and we are going to continue expanding on some of that language and literature but the one that revs up the heat map of execution is the concept of deception.

Check out this deceptive rim reception below the goaline by Stepan. His little shoulder and hip swivel has the D absolutely bite hard and he escapes out the other side. Its quick and subtle but makes the D look silly.

You see, you can be a highly dictative or non-reactive player and lack execution.  Know some of those players?  We see it all the time both in the NHL right down to minor hockey athletes.  It’s always one of two asymmetries in their mindset.  1) How they dictate (Yes there are layers to the concept of dictation, sorry, more on that for another post and 2) the lack of the creativity in their mind or lack of skill to add elements of deception in their execution.

Let’s start with the first one, creativity.  It’s a build it and they will come type of dogma.  You first need to see it.  Then you build it.  How do see it?  Well that’s a tough one and we’re not talking about recognizing a play or hockey IQ right now. That’s a macro concept and we are much deeper down the layers.  Good players who execute at the highest level add creative pieces at the end of their paint brush.  It’s little things, like a pulling a puck close to their body before they release the puck, a little shake (quick shift of weight) to get to an outside edge to create speed to make a no look pass across the Valiquette line (We’ll post about it soon!) or even visual deception where a player off looks an open player and subtly just sauces it over for an open net tap in.  Athletes need to be challenged to create these strokes of creativity in purposeful practice so they can have better chances of executing in games.

The second one is a little more linear in thought process.  It falls into the fundamentals category and is much easier to train, the skill of the deception.  To perfect this micro concept, it’s about layering down all the different types of deceptive maneuvers and plotting them onto areas of the ice based on practicality.  Then it’s mirroring the situations in which the deception can occur.  Then it’s working on the dexterity and coordinative movement in sequence.  Put it all together and an athlete starts to execute deceptive maneuvering and it becomes so exciting!  Their numbers start to jump, they start finding their inner strengths, confidence blossoms and leaders are born.  All from a little layer deep within. We call it an art, the art of deception.

Watch as Bozak collects the loose puck and opens his blade slightly to sell the shot before passing to Kapanen for the empty net. Howard bites on the Bozak stick fake and can't get back across the net on the pass

Every one of us, in all facets of life want to do better, execute a little more, finish the job.  What we’ve found in hockey is that it’s often a little thing, layered deep within a concept that can make all the difference in the world.  Find those layers in your game, get around people who can help you find them. Whether it’s the creative piece or layering the fundamentals a player’s true success will be found within his understanding and control of the game’s most ancient art, the art of deception.




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