Monday, February 6, 2012

Drills to do during "Free Time"

Every coach or parent who runs a practice gives their kids 3-5 minutes before and, sometimes, at the end of practice "Free Time" where the athlete can warm up and get ready for the drills and instruction that will commence.  When used effectively over the course of an entire season these 3-5 minutes can become personal skill sessions where players acquire and develop tools that they normally don't work on in a practice.  3-5 minutes twice a week over the course of a season could add up to 60+ minutes of focus.  Try these drills-

1.  Elevated/ Saucer partner passing-  Grab a teammate and spread 10 feet apart.  Practice forehand and backhand stationary, at first, saucer passing.  Rotate the puck heal to toe off the blade of the stick and aim to get a flat puck to drop on your partners stick.  As you get better, try this moving forward and backward.

2.  Footwork Drills.  Try the Half & Half Drill detailed in this video...

3.  Stationary Overspeed Stickhandling- Use other pucks to maneuver around, and puck yourself to develop rapid timing and stickhandling skills that are faster than you think you can stickhandle.  Remember to practice all around your body, and out of your comfort zone.

4.  One-timers-  Grab a partner and a section of boards and work on passing back and forth setting up for one-timer shots.  Use good form and mechanics and aim for a place on the boards to target your shot towards.

5.  Net chances-  Place a row of 5-7 pucks on an arch at the top of the crease and work on "roofing" them in one continuous motion. Remember to have good foot placement.

6.  Powerskating maneuvers-  Try some of these for 2 minutes at the beginning of a practice, and by the end of a season your edge control, balance and power will be dramatically improved.

7.  Edge control + Stickhandling drills- Try the flat stick puck control drill.-

These are just a few ideas, but the important thing is to not WASTE this valuable ice time.  It's time you won't get back, and can dramatically improve your skill set.