Professor Watermelon's "Skating 101"

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Professor Watermelon's "Skating 101"

Post by Watermelon » Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:54 pm

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I have created this guide for the following purpose:

To help new or mediocre Zealot Hockey skaters become inhouse-ready

You might say to yourself, "I am already a good player, this is a waste of time for me." There are many players who think they are good when they really are not. Moreover, if you do know all of this already, you can give me constructive criticism.

Why should you listen to my advice?

I started playing Zealot Hockey in January, and I sucked. 6 months later, I was voted in to the ZHL Season 1 All-Star game. So in short, you should trust my advice because I understand what it takes to get from the very bottom to the (near) top.






Chapter 1: Controls

Proper understanding and usage of the controls in Zealot Hockey is required if you wish to become skilled at the game. Since you can easily figure these out on your own, I am only going to cover one very common mistake related to controls: The use of the X button.

Hitting X allows you to turn and move in a different direction on the ice faster. It is there for a reason. If you want to get good at Zealot Hockey, you should form a habit of hitting X every time you change direction on the ice. It may seem difficult at first, but trust me, it will become second nature.






Chapter 2: Basic Defense

Your primary objective as a defender should NOT be to steal the puck. Rather, you should focus on making your goalie's life easier.


Instead of constantly trying to steal the puck, wasting your Z boost and letting yourself get out of position, focus on doing the following:

A) Block shooting lanes
Don't give the opponent with the puck a clear lane to shoot at the net.

B) Block passing lanes
Don't give the opponent with the puck a clear lane to pass to his teammate.

C) Punish the puck holder if he gets aggressive.
If the puck holder tries to skate through you, or lets himself get cornered, this is the time to steal with a nice left click.

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Chapter 3: Basic Passing and Receiving

Section I: Passing

Without passing, you will not be able to convert your defense to offense. You will score fewer goals and your opponents will score more. In essence, a team with poor passing is a team that is poor at everything.

With that said, here are some good passing tips:

1. Accuracy counts!
Try to practice hitting other players while they're moving. Lead your target.

2. Don't neglect the wall
Don't forget that you can bounce your passes off the walls! These passes are generally less likely to be intercepted.

3. Try not to pass backwards!
Passing at a backwards angle can be very risky if it misses! It is better to wait for your teammate to catch up, and then pass.

4. PRACTICE
The only way to become more consistent at passing is by.. passing more!

There are different styles of passing. Some players prefer to make long, powerful, accurate passes, while others prefer to make quick, slow, short passes. The main piece of advice I can give you is to find what style you're most comfortable with, and focus completely on defense and passing until you have them nailed. Let your teammates worry about scoring goals for now. The "Defensive Passer" mindset will also allow you to play in more inhouses without being detrimentel to balance, as you will be making valuable contributions to your team and will not be interupting the offense. This helps, because inhouses are better practice than pubs.



Section II: Receiving

It is important to remember that the more unpredictable you are in your movement, the harder it will be to pass to you. You should try to make where you are going obvious to the passer. In higher level games, this gets trickier, and the phrase "good synergy" is often synonymous with "they know the usual patterns of each other's movement".

Here are some useful receiving tips:

1. Be predictable
It is very difficult to pass to someone when you don't know what they are doing. Make your intended path of movement obvious to the person passing. Straight lines are your friend!

2. Use your Z effectively
If the enemy defenders have your passing lane covered, and boosting forward will open it up again, do so. If you are already open, do not use your boost. I've seen wide open players randomly make a Z boost into defensive coverage, removing themselves from the possession.

3. Use your stick
Your catch radius can be manipulated by how you place your stick. If a pass is a tiny bit behind you, right click behind yourself to move your stick back and catch it. This might seem difficult at first, but it will become natural.

4. Be prepared
You should always be ready to react when someone passes to you. If you do not have C hit in time, or it is on cooldown, or it runs out right before the catch, you must be ready to improvise. Some of the most effective shots in the game involve "fake" one-timers where the receiver does some jukes of his own instead of hitting C.






Chapter 4: Basic Shooting

Section I: Fundamentals

Shooting is probably the most dynamic and subjective skill in Zealot Hockey. The reason I say this is because every goalie will respond at least slightly differently to what you throw at them. A big part of scoring ability is a familiarity with the goalie you are playing against. It is also important to understand that those " epicsolo goals" you're able to get in public games almost NEVER work in inhouses, because the opponents actually know how to play defense and the goalie knows how to position himself. Goals in Zealot Hockey inhouses are usually generated by good defense and good passing.

That being said, there are still some fundamental tips I can give with regard to scoring.

1. Aim your shots
This might come across as "duh", but there are many new players who make the mistake of just blindly hitting the puck towards the net. It is important that you intentionally aim your shot to where you think the goalie will not be able to cover it. Generally speaking, the best places to aim your shots are the corners of the net (as close to the posts as possible without hitting them). Aiming in these locations will require maximum effort from the goalie in order to block them.


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2. Aim your one-timers
The same principle should be applied here. You should aim your one-timer at a position where you don't think the goalie will block.

3. Employ jukes
In situations where you are 1v1 or 1v2 with an enemy goalie, it is sometimes better to try and juke them out than it is to take a regular shot. Juking is very dynamic in this game, and I cannot really offer any advice besides "make them think you're going one direction, and then go the other".

4. Mix things up
Keep the enemy goalie on edge! Don't do the same thing over and over.

5. Don't forget you can pass!
If the shot clearly isn't open, there is more than likely a teammate in your vicinity with a better opportunity to score. If you want to win the game, you must be unselfish. Besides, good passes will get you points for assists anyways.


Section II: Meta-game

You may think, "there's no way Zealot Hockey has a meta-game", but it in fact does. Zealot Hockey is a fast paced game that requires quick, almost muscle memory reactions on the part of goalies. Due to this, some of the top goalies in the game can be scored on by employing "meta" shots. These are shots which are so obscure that the goalie doesn't expect them and lets them go in. The most common employments of "meta" shots are:

1. Diagonal one-timers
These are shots where the player receiving a pass and shooting a one-timer aims his shot diagonally across the net. Why does this work? Because many inhouse goalies are very trained at blocking straight one-timers, so their immediate reaction of boosting to stop the straight shot will screw them over when you one-timer it diagonally.


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2. Straight snipes
It has become common occurance that longer range shots not involving one-timers are usually diagonal shots. The main reason for this is because it works extremely well against goalies that have poor reaction time. However, against better goalies, you can use this overused tactic to your advantage by shooting straight at where the goalie is standing, anticipating him to boost over to block the diagonal.





Chapter 5: "Triangle" Offense

Triangle Offense is arguably the most important thing you can learn to become a better teammate in Zealot Hockey. This type of positioning is employed by all top level teams, including the starting lineups of all six ZHL Season 1 teams. Moreover, use of triangle positioning is, in my opinion, the main difference between public games and inhouse games.

So what exactly is triangle offense?

It is the practice of forming a triangle with your three zealots. More specifically, you should have two players as "forwards" and one player as a "defender", as shown here:



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The majority of points scored in Zealot Hockey inhouses are off of "breakaways" - instances where an offense commits a turnover and the opponent skates down the rink with no opposition. In basketball, this is called a "Fast Break". By having a player without the puck save his boost and stay at the back of the offense, no turnover will become a breakaway for the other team. Triangle offense relies heavily on the discipline of the furthest-back skater, the "defender".



"Defender" Tips:

1. When you have the puck...

You need to get it ahead to your teammates safely. Strong passes travel down the rink much faster than zealots. Quickly passing forwards will give your teammates an opportunity to score before the opponents' defense is ready.

Do not perform high risk passes. There are no teammates behind you, so if you turn it over, the opponent will have a breakaway against your goalie. I highly suggest using wall bounces in this situation.

2. When you receive the puck...

You have two options. First, you can follow the tips in #1 and pass it back up. However, you may also switch places with one of your forward teammates. Safety takes precedence here, so if you are not 100% positive that a teammate is moving back to take your spot as the "defender", you need to stay back and be cautious with your decisions.

3. When the other team gets the puck...

Remember your primary goal is NOT to go for the steal. Your job as the back person is to slow the opponents down, preventing the breakaway and buying time for your teammates to catch back up to the action.


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The real beauty of the triangle offense is the wide amount of options it allows for scoring, while still keeping the team safe from breakaways.

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Just to give you an idea of some of the options Triangle Offense offers:

1. The handler can try to score himself
2. The handler can pass to the receiver for a one-timer
3. The handler can pass to the receiver, who can then juke the goalie to score, or pass to someone else
4. The handler can pass to the defender for a one-timer
5. The handler can pass to the defender, who can then swap positions with one of the forwards, shoot a wide open snipe, or make a quick, safe bounce pass



If this guide helps but one person become better at skating, then my goal here is accomplished. Thank you for reading.
Last edited by Watermelon on Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:54 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Professor Watermelon's "Skating 101"

Post by CountryKen » Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:59 am

Good guide buddy ! ill be sending newbs here !
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Re: Professor Watermelon's "Skating 101"

Post by ZachSmack » Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:31 am

Excellent guide it helped me out a ton
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Re: Professor Watermelon's "Skating 101"

Post by xNCrush » Sun Jul 20, 2014 5:43 am

We've needed this for a long time, this is very thorough and beginner friendly, thanks a lot for taking the time to post it!
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Re: Professor Watermelon's "Skating 101"

Post by Strawberry » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:32 pm

Can I get a tl;dr on this?
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Re: Professor Watermelon's "Skating 101"

Post by xNCrush » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:05 am

Strawberry wrote:Can I get a tl;dr on this?
dun b nub
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Re: Professor Watermelon's "Skating 101"

Post by Moon » Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:19 pm

teach to spin prs
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Re: Professor Watermelon's "Skating 101"

Post by l)arkangel » Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:42 pm

Maybe make a comment on how if you are last man back bringing up the puck, you really shouldn't try to deke out a pressuring defender. If you lose the puck as last man back, you are giving the other team a breakaway. First preference would be moving the puck up the ice to a teammate, second would be back to the goalie, third would be dump it.

and in receiving, moving your stick adds a very significant area to where you can receive the puck. Sometimes the perfect pass just isn't going to happen and you will need to help complete the pass by moving your stick.
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Re: Professor Watermelon's "Skating 101"

Post by Teroh » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:01 pm

l)arkangel wrote:Maybe make a comment on how if you are last man back bringing up the puck, you really shouldn't try to deke out a pressuring defender. If you lose the puck as last man back, you are giving the other team a breakaway. First preference would be moving the puck up the ice to a teammate, second would be back to the goalie, third would be dump it.

and in receiving, moving your stick adds a very significant area to where you can receive the puck. Sometimes the perfect pass just isn't going to happen and you will need to help complete the pass by moving your stick.
Yes and yes to both points. Lot of new players make both of these mistakes.
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Re: Professor Watermelon's "Skating 101"

Post by Watermelon » Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:55 am

Guide has been revised and edited with some changes/additions to Passing and Triangle Offense sections. Thank you for your suggestions.
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