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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

1 on 1 Battles - Backchecking & Beat your Man

Drill:
This drill runs 2 separate drills on each half of the rink.
Left side is a 1 on 1 battle (defense strong)
  1. Defense starts at the Blue line and Offense starts about 5 steps inside the blueline
  2. On whistle, O is using speed and body position to beat the D
  3. D skates backwards and tries to contain making sure to push outside and turn forward at the correct time.
Focus:
  1. D must focus on Good body position
  2. Forcing the O to the wall
  3. Making a good transition at the correct time
  4. O should focus on using speed to beat the D
  5. O should also control the speed of the play
Right side is a 1 on 1 battle (offense strong)
  1. Offense starts at the Blue line and Defense starts about 5 steps inside the blueline
  2. On whistle, O is using speed and body position to beat the D
  3. D must backcheck and try to chase down the forward with the puck.
Focus:
  1. O should focus on speed with the puck so as not to get caught from behind
  2. D needs to backcheck hard and get to the stick side of the O so he can 'pop' the stick and gain control of the play
Notes:
Goalies typically will get more work on the O strong side.

Related Drills:
Half-rink Backcheck
Breakaway to 2 on 1 drill

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Last Minute Puck Races


Drill:
  1. Lineup pucks down the middle of the rink between the blue lines
  2. Make 2 lines of players in each corner
  3. On whistle, players race for the puck
  4. First player tries to score on a breakaway
  5. Second player backchecks
Focus:
  1. Speed to a loose puck
  2. Speed carrying the puck on a breakaway
  3. Speed on the back-check to breakup the play
Notes:
Remind your players that this drills is designed to make them think about chasing a puck in the last minute of play and they have the chance to end the game, stop a goal, etc. 

I always run this the last 5 minutes of practice when they are tired.  I remind them there is no time to be tired and out of breath at the end of the game.

Related Drills:
The Admiral II (Russian Suicides)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What evaluators look for during try-outs

I've been asked a lot over the years what I look for in a player during evaluations.  After watching my son during various AA & AAA Ice try-outs, I've been thinking more about this topic and wanted to share a bit of what I look for and some other information that I've found or has been shared with me.

I also stumbled across this article not long ago and I think it gives a nice look into what Scouts look for.  My friend Graham Acres (gacres99) also shared his thoughts with me.
  1. Whatever it is you believe you do best, do that every shift.
  2. Listen to what the coaches ask you to do and do that
  3. Bring energy and never stop working every shift. Regardless of talent, coaches are attracted to kids who consistently work hard. 
All good advice and greatly appreciated.  So what is it that I look for when I run my evaluations?  I can teach you to shoot, pass and skate.  It's those intangibles that will earn you a spot on my team.
  1. Aggressive play - Be willing to battle for pucks. If you are on the forecheck, get on the puck.  Don't sit back and wait for them to come to you.
  2. Backchecking -  If you won't backcheck, it's the fastest way to get off my list.  I need you to skate harder than you've ever skated when you are backchecking.  It makes a HUGE difference.
  3. Don't give up - I don't care if you just messed up, mistakes happen.  It's what you do after that mistake that I look at. Did you slam your stick? Throw you head back?  Yell?  Get back in the play and make up for the mistake you made.  No one will remember the mistake if you made if you hustle back and make a difference in the play.
  4. Come out to Earn your spot - Don't think because you've been playing for xx number of years, you deserve a spot on the team.  No on deserves a spot, you earn it. Everyone there is fighting for your spot, go out and get it. 
  5. Communicate - Talk to the coaches. Talk to the other players.  Talk when you are on the rink and involved in the play.  Call for pucks, direct the play.  Be vocal.
  6. Don't be selfish - Yes it's a tryout to earn a spot on a team, but that doesn't mean showing off your ability to skate through every player every time with your head down.  Be a play maker.   Make passes. Make good decisions.
A few tips for trying out:
  1.  Relax and have fun.  I know it's easier said than done but remember, you can play the game so just go out and do your thing.  
  2. If a coach gives you some advice, make sure you go out and do that.  They are hinting to you of what they want to see you do.  At least try to do it. It shows you are coachable.
  3. If a coach asks you to play a position like Defense, please, under no circumstances respond 'I'm a forward' or 'My Dad says I'm a forward'.  Just go out and do it.  Coaches want a team player.


Try to remember these tips as you go through your try-outs.  Good luck.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pass and Crash

Drill:
1. Player 1 starts backward skating to blue line with puck
2. Stops at cone and passes to next player in line
3. Player 1 crashes the net looking for a pass from behind the net
4. Player 2 starts their backward skating once they receive the pass

Focus:
1. Skating backward while carrying the puck
2. Good hard passes to the corner
3. Crashing the net looking for a pass, deflection or tip

Notes:
Replace the coach with a player to make the passes from behind the net
Switch to other side to get used to working this from both sides

Friday, January 30, 2015

Skate and Tip

Drill:
1. Players start at blue line and skate toward puck
2. Once they get to the puck and the take a slap slot (SS)
3. Next they skate to the front of the net looking and get position
4. Look for a deflection or rebound of shot from the Coach (C)

Focus:
1. Taking a slap shot while skating up to a puck
2. Getting position and working on deflection and rebounds
3. Goalie works on lateral movement
4. Goalie works on getting clear view of puck from player standing in front

Notes:
Run the drill from one side and then the other so they get used to shooting and moving from both sides.
Also, you have player move out to point and take shot on goal (after they have tried deflection/rebound.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Using the Wall

Drill:
1. Player 1 skates toward Defender (Coach (C)) on the blue line
2. Player 2 in the middle skates toward the middle
3. Player 1 passes the puck off the wall and steps around the coach
4. After getting control of the puck, Player 1 looks for Player 2 heading down the middle

Focus:
1. Getting around defenders
2. Using the boards/glass to make a play
3. Getting control of the puck and looking for the player breaking down the middle

Notes:
You could add 2 trailing players. 1st would establish position in front of the net while 2nd would float top of the circles. This would give Player with the puck another option.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fueling your body

Nutrition is a huge pare of any athletes daily life.  Most players drink fluids during the game, but how many are worrying about pre-game and post-game foods and liquids to get their body ready and to help it heal?

Thanks to Peter Dale over at Farm Tough Company who shared out this tip card to help you and your players with the process.    Below are the tips from the card.

General Tips
Don’t eat fried foods (french fries, chips, chicken fingers, fried fish, etc.)
Don’t drink alcohol, soda, or other drinks filled with sugar
DO chew your food until it is a liquid; this will make digestion much easier
DO drink 1-2 glasses of water upon waking and ½ cup every 30 min during the day
DO eat something within 1 hour of waking that contains protein
DO eat good meals with lots of veggies/salad, flesh protein (fish, chicken, turkey best),
whole grains, good fats (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts & seeds); this will help your
body repair during the day and overnight
DO get to bed – your body needs sleep to recover; give it as much as possible

Pre-Game
Food Intake: Light snack 45-90 min before game. It’s ok to be a little hungry, bad to be full.
Good Snacks: 1-2 pieces of fruit, 1 cup almond/soy milk with 1 Tbsp protein powder,
applesauce with 1 Tbsp protein powder, ½ Farm Tough Energy Bar
Fluid Intake: Drink 2-4 oz of Farm Tough Energy Drink 15-20 minutes prior to game
Physical Preparation: Dynamic movement warm-up and foam roll

During Game
Take deep breaths on the bench between shifts; Repeat Farm Tough power thoughts:
I am...Strong, Fit, Powerful, Fast, Focused, Relaxed, Smart, Confident, Energized
- Drink water between every shift: 2-3 gulps
- Every 3rd shift drink 2-3 gulps of Farm Tough Energy Drink
If you are going into OT or in a close game, drink Farm Tough Energy Drink every shift

Post-Game
Fluid Intake: In locker room, drink ½-1 quart Farm Tough Energy Drink
Food Intake: Within 15-45 minutes after game, eat/drink one of the following:
- Smoothie with 1-2 cups fruit, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 scoop Farm Tough Super
Food and mix with your liquid of choice
- Mix 1 cup liquid (almond milk, juice or water), 1 scoop protein powder, 1 scoop
Farm Tough Super Food and have a banana or a piece of fruit
- Farm Tough Energy Bar or Original Farm Tough Protein Bar
- 1 packet instant oatmeal, ¼ cup soy/almond milk, 1 Tbsp protein powder
If you have at least 3 hrs before your next game, eat a light meal 1-2 hrs after game
Physical Recovery: Roll out – use a foam roller to help speed recovery

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Iron Cross

Drill:
  1. Players start at the bottom of the circle and skate to the top
  2. Then they skate backward to the side of the circle
  3. Next they do side-steps to the other side of the circle
  4. Then backwards to the bottom of the other circle
  5. Skate to other circle and repeat

Focus:
  1. Skating footwork and speed
  2. Focuses on movement in all directions which will only help them in their game

Notes:
This will improve their footwork and speed over time.
If you have the full rink, use all 5 circles.
You can also run the entire drill in one circle.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Skate 8 and Deflect

Drill:
1. Line 3 Defenseman up at the points (D location is based on skill level of players and how far they can shoot.
2. Forward passes puck to point man and skates around first circle and then stops in front of net looking for a deflection from the D shooting from the top of the circle he just skated around.
3. Forward now skates toward the corner, picks up a puck and passes it to the point man. He continues around the circle to the front of the net again looking for a deflection
4. Last he moves toward the middle of the net looking for a deflection from the last Defenseman.

Focus:
1. Puck movement to the Point man.
2. Getting to the front of the net and looking for deflections/rebounds.

Notes:
I found a variation of this drill on another site and will give credit if I can locate it again.

Related Drills:
Drop and go
Skate and tip

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Passing Forward/Backward Tandems

Drill:
1. Put players in 2 man teams
2. Player 1 skates forward while Player 2 is moving backward
3. Players are making passes back and forth as they skate up to the blue line
4. At Blue line, Player 1 skates backward toward Goal line and Player 2 skates forward
5. Players continue to pass back and forth

Focus:
1. Works on skating and passing
2. Keeping head up as you skate to see where to make pass or to receive pass

Notes:
Left side of diagram just shows skating as a team. Right side has passing incorporated into the drill. Depending on the skill level, you can decide where to start.

Related Drills: 
Passing Work Lateral Movement 
Passing Work - Forward/Backward Movement

 

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