Ice Time Utilization in Practice

Last week I posted the M2 Hockey Beginner Station Training Manual for free download.  One of the primary concepts behind running stations is to ensure you have a large number of kids moving, as opposed to standing around in line.

Whenever you plan a practice, you need to keep in mind a few things about the group you’re working with.

  1. Age – if you’re working with younger skaters, you need to realize their attention span is a lot shorter.  If you make young skaters stand around, they’re much more likely mess around in line and start shooting pucks.  Once they start goofing around, their focus will be lacking as their turn comes to run the actual drill.  Keep drills for younger skaters short and simple.  The less time you spend explaining a drill, the less time they’ll be standing around.  Develop skills, not the ability to run complicated drills.
  2. Tempo – when running a drill, analyze how many skaters can be moving at one time without causing a problem.  If you’re running a circle skating drill, instead of having skaters go one at a time, have them go in groups of three or four.  If they’re beginners, you may be able to increase the number of skaters, as the tempo will be much slower.
  3. Groupings – by keeping your players in groups based on talent, you’ll be able to cater teaching points specifically to the group instead of having to touch on items too basic or too advanced for individuals in the group.  Keeping them in similar-talent groups also allows the drills to be executed consistently – ie: no players lagging behind, more likely to complete passes, etc.
  4. Work-to-rest ratio – Older players can stay focused a bit longer, but you still need to have a good work-to-rest ratio.  If you are running drills to focus on short-bursts and high-intensity, be sure to give enough rest so the skaters are able to execute at top speed.  Overspeed drills should have a minimum work-to-rest ratio of at least 1:5 (ex: 10 seconds on, 50 seconds rest)

Keep ’em moving!!

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