Importance of skating
At any age and at any level, coaches and players should understand the importance of skating in hockey. Skating can make a difference between a good player and a great player so it is important that all players practice this skill. Personally I have never been a strong skater, I understand the importance of it but just never had that skill set.
This is a challenge sometimes when coaching the older kids and needing to demo the drill. I try to always make sure I have one strong skater on my staff to help in this area, I also have in the past used professional teachers at practice to do the skating drills, this can also work for stick handling, checking etc.
Below you will find some drills that I have used in the past that have worked well for me, please comment and share your ideas.
Drill for IP hockey players
With this age group it is always good to set up stations, make sure you have enough coaches on the ice, this way you can work in smaller groups and really focus on getting the players to do the drills right.
Follow the leader drill
In this drill have your players do as you do. You will need to be enthusiastic, and have some fun with it, tell them they can’t do the next one jokingly. You can have them jump on one skate, do crossovers, glide on one skate, stops and starts. Just make it fun.
Another great way to work on skating with IP players, is to have them line up on the goal line in 5 groups, you can then have them go 5 at a time and stop at the blue and red lines facing the same way and then the opposite way on the way back, this will get them to work on stopping both ways. I have found that players that cannot stop one way really don’t try, it is important as a coach to get them to work on that, it is practice time after all! You can then move into jumping over the blue lines, Superman in between (make sure they are getting lots of speed before the superman). One leg between the blue lines is always fun, again switching the feet at some point.
Power Circle skating drill
One of my favorite bantam – midget hockey drill for skating is power circles. In this drill you line your players up in groups of 3 at one end of the ice, place 3 pylons at the blue, red and other blue line in each of the players lines. On the whistle first player skates hard to first pylon and does a tight turn around it (turning to the left the first time and the right the next time they do the drill) exploding out of the turn and moving fast to the next pylon. After the player finishes the first pylon, the next player in line can go.
Players should keep there knees low and really use power in and out of the circles working on tight turns. This drill can be done backwards for defencemen and can be done with and without pucks.
There are lots of skating drills out there, and there are lots of ways to teach them. The most important thing is that everyone is having fun and expanding there skill sets at the same time, lets face it every player wants to get better and the only way you can do that is with practice.