My last few posts really focused on skating. Obviously skating is a key part of the game. If the kids do not have the fundamentals down, they will struggle in the game. They need to feel comfortable on their skates.
Every practice should begin with some warm-up skating: (5 minutes)
- Have them skate (clockwise) along the boards the entire way around the rink
- Make sure to stop them and have them skate the other way (counter clockwise) so they get used to turning both ways.
- As they hit a line, have them transition to backward to the next line and then transition forward.
- Skate hard to each line (blue, center, blue, far goal line) and make a hard stop
- After a complete stop, make a quick start and onto the next line
- Focus on good starts and stops
- Review with them good techniques for each start and stop.
- This is a fast paced, quick direction change game. The better they are at stopping quickly and getting their feet moving again, the more they will dominate the game.
- It's OK to fall as you are learning. Just make sure you get up quickly and back in the play.
- As they are working on stopping, give them a particular side to look at on every stop. That way they get used to stopping in both directions. If you don't, they will always stop in the same direction and this will put them out of the play at times.
With any drill make it fun.