6 Best Youth Hockey Drills for New Coaches
As a new street hockey coach, you want to adopt a few go-to hockey drills that teach kids the basics, while also being ridiculously fun. Whether you’re focusing on stick handling or practicing shots on goal, here are 6 hockey drills to add to your next practice.
This shooting drill in disguise helps youth hockey players with their accuracy. Set up bowling pins—or cones—across the center of the floor. Then divide your players into two teams, one on each side of the pins. Every player gets three tries to knock a pin down. When they do, it’s worth one point. At the end, the team with the most points wins.
This drill is a great way to teach basic offensive and defensive strategies. Using cones, set up four squares, one on each corner of the rink. Every player has a ball, except for two or three players (depending on how many total players you have) who are pirates. The pirates are on defense, attempting to steal the ball away. The players with balls must maintain possession until they run safely into an island—aka one of the squares you set up. If their ball is stolen along the way, they become a pirate too until there is only one player left standing.
Sharks and Minnows
Sharks and minnows is a simpler version of Treasure Island that also teaches stickhandling and possession. All the players line up on one side of the rink with a ball—they are the minnows. Then, select one shark to start. The shark doesn’t have a ball and stands in the center of the rink. The minnows need to make it to the other side of the rink with their ball, while weaving outside of the shark. Once the shark steals a ball from a player, that player also becomes a shark. Have the players go back and forth across the rink until there is only one minnow left.
Relay races are a great way to boost agility and work on balance. Using cones, create two identical obstacle courses with sharp turns where players must change direction quickly. Then, divide your players into two teams and have them compete against each other. Keep in mind that you can alter your relay race however you want. For example, ditch the stick and ball and make your relay race an excellent warmup. Or have players only run with their stick to practice running with the stick low to the ground. Of course, if you want something more difficult, add a ball in there.
Relay Cone Drill
Passing and receiving are two fundamental skills every hockey player needs to master, but let’s be honest—these drills tend to get a tad boring. So to make it more fun, you can create a relay race where players pass as they race. Divide your players into two teams and set up about 10 cones in a straight line in front of each team. The distance between your cones depends on how skilled your players are, but to start, keep them about 10 feet apart. Two players are going to pass the ball back and forth through the cones as they make their way up the line. When they reach the last cone, the next set of two players can go, and the fastest team wins.
1v1 to Endlines
This drill helps players learn to control the ball. Divide your players into two teams, with one team on one side of the rink and the other on the opposite end. Then, have one player from each team come into the middle to scrimmage one on one. The goal is to maintain possession of the ball and cross the other team’s line. After the first round is over, two new players enter the middle to scrimmage. Keep in mind that there’s no shooting—the goal is to focus on attacking and defending.