So your are a volunteer coach for an Initiation hockey team, Congratulations and good for your for taking the time out of your day to teach these kids our beautiful sport!
Initiation hockey drills are some of the most rewarding and at the same time frustrating drills your will run as a coach. It is an amazing feeling to see the kids develop and finally understand and do the hockey drills correctly, but it can be frustrating to get to that point, hang in there it will be worth it in the end.
Station drills basically mean your will be doing 4 or 5 drills at different stations on the ice for 10 minutes each. You can set them up anyway your like. If your have the coaches for 5 stations I typically split the two end zones into two making 4 stations and leave the neutral zone as one station doing something that requires more room. Below are 5 of my favorite station drills.
Recommendation : Stations are a great way to ensure all players are getting the most out of the practice, rank your players based on skill with the number of stations your have, if your have 5 stations rank your players 1 to 5 and separate all the 1’s at one station 2’s at another and so on, doing this will help everyone is practicing at the right level, your can adjust your station a little based on the level of players your have.
Setup this initiation hockey drill using just four cones in a large square or rectangle (your can use face off dots if your are doing it in the neutral zone). Players start skating forward and at the first cone transition to backwards, keeping an emphasis on not completely stopping but transitioning from forwards to backwards. At the next cone the transition is from backwards to forwards, and coming out of that transition with some speed. The third cone will be the same as the first, finishing the drill at the last cone and getting back in line. Switch starting cones at some point. For the more skilled players your can at pucks in and ensure they are stick handling and controlling the puck during this hockey drill.
Tight Turns Skating
This drill is fine to do in any area, just set it up in the space that is available to your. Line the players up in two or three lines, place 3 pylons in a straight light in front of the player spaced out accordingly. Have the players skate fast to the first pylon and make a tight turn. It is important to teach them to get low on their turns and have their sticks on the ice facing the way they are moving around the pylon. Have them do this turning both ways. For the higher skilled players your can add backwards skating and forwards skating with a puck.
Small area game
This is a fun drill for any age group really, but with the initiation aged players it works well in a small station. Simply have two nets across from each other and let the players play a game. If your are going to use this drill it is really important that your divided the players out by skill level, this will ensure that all players of all calibers will have an opportunity to touch the puck. For the lower level players, tell them your want to see them carry the puck not just shoot it away, for the better players they can start to learn how to keep their heads up and make some passes to their teammates.
Board Pass and shot on net
This drill can be done in any of the end zone stations, it does not work in the neutral zone. Line the players up behind the goal line with a puck. Have them skate with the puck and pass to themselves using the boards, when they get to the top of the face off circle they follow it around stick handle the puck and go in for a shot on net (goalie is not mandatory for this)
The kids love doing this initiation hockey drill, and it’s a great way to end a practice where your have about 5 minutes left. Line the players up on the goal line in pairs. The player in the front is going to pull the player in the back while they are on their knees using both players sticks to pull. It’s a race, and the players switch once they make it to the other side.
These are a few of my favorite initiation hockey drills, I hope your find them helpful.