Hockey practice: tips to help you out !

Preparing a hockey training or practice always takes you a long time and you don’t know how to fix this problem?

Once again, MonClubSportif is here to help you.👊

First of all, to facilitate your preparation, it is essential for you to have a plan at the beginning of the season with clear and precise objectives.

It isn’t necessary to have a planning of each established practice for a full season in advance, but it is important to know from the beginning what will be the elements to work on.

Of course, it will always be possible to adjust during the season. After all, trainings and practices are used to work out the aspects of your team that didn’t work during games.🤷‍♀️

The basics of practice remain almost the same, but the hockey exercises chosen vary depending on the age group of the players, their level, and their goals.

How many players are present at tonight’s practice?

Are you the only coach present or will there be an assistant accompanying you?

These are all things to consider before planning a training session or practice.

Regular hockey practice generally involves 4 major steps:

  1. A short warm-up period
  2. Technical Skills Exercises
  3. Individual and/or collective tactics
  4. A period of games in limited space

The time for each step may vary depending on the level, the objectives to be achieved, and the duration of the practice.

For example, if you want to devote the first part of the season to individual player development, you will plan more individual tactical exercises than group exercises during your training.

To help you even more, we have prepared a small guide with examples of exercises for each practice phase.

1. Short warm-up period :

A warm-up should last between 10 and 15 minutes. During this period, it is essential to do exercises that work every single muscle in your body in order to increase heart rate.

You can do simple exercises like a few reps of backwards skating from the blue line to the red line. It is also important to include exercises that work the arm muscles with the stick and that allow the players to practice their speed and technical skills.

Warm-up drill example – Shark chase :

example of a hockey training workouts

Pick 3 or 4 players from your team who will be the sharks and who will stand between the two blue lines at all times.

The other team members, stand with their sticks at the goal line. When the coach whistles, the players will have to cross the entire ice without being hit by the “sharks”.

If a player is touched by a shark, he becomes a shark in turn. The last one left to not being hit by a shark is the winner.🦈

2. Technical Skills Exercises:

What is important to remember is that your exercises should be simple and clear to explain, otherwise you will lose all of your player’s attention.

Don’t spend too much time teaching and vocalizing an exercise. Instead, demonstrate it.

Players will be much more inclined to understand it this way. There are a multitude of exercises to choose from, depending on the position of the players.

To facilitate the preparation of these exercises, it is always better to have a bank of exercises ready for each type of technique you want to work on.

You will save a lot of time by simply choosing from your bank, instead of looking for exercises the day before your practice.

A useful software to help you make this bank is Practice Creator, which allows you to create exercises tailored to your needs.

Hockey Canada also offers several simple drill ideas.

Even if you are well-prepared, the players may not be receptive at all. This is why having a bank with several exercises and drills in hand can often be advantageous to find last-minute alternatives.

Technical skills exercise example – technical skating :

hockey technical skills example

The coach must place 4 pylons in a circle on the rink. Players must move the puck around the pylons without any indication. The goal is that their feet and hands are always in motion and as quickly as possible.

3. Individual and/or collective tactics

Once again, it’s time to take out your exercise bank.

Depending on the purpose of your practice, you will be able to integrate individual or collective tactical exercises within your practice.

Individually, it’s time to practice puck protection, dekes, back checking, 1-on-1 offense, and more.

As a group, it’s a good time to practice zone exits and entries, 3-on-3 zone entry, offensive zone attack, and the power play.

iCoacHockeyD, a Quebec organization, gives you access to a complete program and several useful exercises for coaches and players alike!

iCoachHockeyD helps you develop your player’s skills by working on the 4 components of a hockey player:

  • Physical
  • Technical
  • Tactical
  • Psychological.

It’s definitely a program to have in your back pocket!

Here is an example of collective tactics exercise:

Collective tactics:

example of a collective hockey tactics

The players stand near the boards at the blue line. The coach must place a pylon at the top of the circle in the offensive zone and a second near the red line, close to the middle circle, before moving to the distant blue line.

The player must step back, catch a pass, go around the pylon and accelerate to make a pass to the coach, who stands at the blue line. Afterward, the player turns around, ready to receive a pass from his coach.

Once he has possession of the puck, he must shoot at the net.

After his shot, he sprints to the corner to take a second puck. He must again bypass the cone located in the offensive zone and fire a second time.

This drill allows you to work on acceleration, transition, and opening to receive a pass.

4. A period of games in limited space :

It is always ideal to finish practice with a small game moment in restricted space. For children, it will be a small challenge, but also an opportunity to have fun.🏒

hockey period of game in limited space for kids example

The coach must place 3 obstacles in an area of the ice. Players are playing 2-on-2 positions and must pass the puck between obstacles to earn points.

This exercise allows you to work on the movement of the feet and finding passing lanes in tight spaces. They must know how to use the entire surface and place their stick well when it ends up in the passing corridors.

Fun above everything else!

If you follow all these steps, you should have no difficulty preparing an effective hockey practice. Of course, we must always adapt to the level of the players, but the main thing to remember is to have fun, you must not forget that!

Feel free to use MonClubSportif to attach PDF files of the exercises you’ve worked on with the players on the ice, but also examples for off-ice training, which they can keep and continue to do at home.

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