Creative Ways to Divide the Ice

There’s no doubt, one of the easiest ways to keep our game affordable is to increase the number of skaters on the ice at any given time. The major governing bodies are pushing to get more kids on the ice simultaneously to make the most out of costly ice time. Below I’ve included some different ways of splitting up the ice I have found to be effective over the years. In my opinion, the key to deciding how to split your ice depends on the goals of your practice session and how many skaters you have on the ice.

Connecting & Communicating with Players

In order for a coach to be effective, he/she must be able to communicate effectively with his/her players. Coaches need to know who they’re coaching – not just names and faces, but also personalities, goals, and desires. When a coach begins to understand the “why’s” of his/her players, then the lines of clear and effective communication can begin.

Over-speed Training & Drills

Over-speed training simply means pushing yourself beyond a speed where you are “comfortable.” Going through the motions at a comfortable pace won’t help you progress as a skater. Many of the coaches I talk to seem a bit overwhelmed by the subject of over-speed training, thinking it is a grandiose topic that’s over their heads. While there are great depths you can take the topic, you can begin to incorporate over-speed training into your practices with just a good grasp on the fundamentals of skating.

Bad Habits to Eliminate

“How you do anything is how you do everything.” -source unknown

This is a great quote, and one relevant to everyone in the hockey coaching field. With so much happening on the ice, it’s often easy to overlook small bad habits that creep in to teams. Eliminating these habits will not only make you a stronger team, but also help form players with better character.

Simple Penalty Kill Forecheck

Killing off a penalty can be one of the most critical turning points of a game. Your team finally ices the puck, and you get a fresh set of legs on the ice to go pressure the opposing team while they’re setting up their breakout….now what? If you’re dealing with older players, it is important your players know their responsibilities and the lanes they’re defending.