Ice Hockey is a sport that can be played by individuals from the ages of three and up. From the kids to those playing hockey for many, many years, there are always new skills to learn and improve on and new strategies to try out.
Kids are always looking for ways to have fun, and hockey is no exception. But, with the right drills, kids can learn how to skate faster, shoot harder, and score more goals. In this article, I have shared 6 fun hockey drills for kids that will help sharpen their game sense while developing key hockey fundamentals.
What is a Hockey Drill?
A Hockey Drill is a structured activity that has been designed to teach and build hockey skills. A hockey coach or trainer will direct the hockey players through movements, hockey practices, or scenarios to teach them how to execute plays correctly. They usually include repetitive motions to learn and retain the skill they are learning much easier.
Hockey drills are used to teach both offensive and defensive skills and help ice hockey players understand the fundamentals of hockey and develop physically. Hockey drills are one of the best ways for kids to learn how to play hockey, even at a young age.
Hockey drills can be used individually or in small two groups. In addition, they can be adapted into enjoyable games that still allow all players have some amount of playing time while learning new skills.
How do you make hockey practice fun?
The rule of thumb is that kids will only learn and improve their hockey skills if they are having fun. It is the same as in any sport, or even studying for school. Kids who love what they are doing generally have much better results than when they don’t enjoy it at all.
To make drills fun game and enjoyable, there are a few things you can do:
Change Up the Pattern – One way to keep kids engaged in drills is to occasionally change the pattern so that players aren’t just getting bored with them. This will also help teach players how to adapt quickly under pressure on the ice. For example, change up your drills by adding some twists and turns into them. This will not only make them more challenging for hockey players, but it will also increase their skating skills.
Change the Parameters – One of the best ways to make your drills fun is to change up the parameters every so often. Usually, you will want to add more pressure or build up speed in your drills. For example, you can start by having players skate with both sticks on a line rather than just one and then slowly work towards taking off both goalie skates and eventually even removing their gloves during these drills.
Laughter – We mentioned that hockey is an amazing sport because it allows players from ages three all the way up to 90 years old! This means that characters come along with each player, and some might have fascinating personalities. A great way to keep your players focused is to make them laugh. If you can get them laughing, their minds will be off of whatever they may have going on in their heads, and they’ll be able to focus better.
Look for a Smile – This one goes along with the last tip. You should always look for a smile out of your players when they are doing drills, especially if you aren’t sure if something is fun or not. Even though hockey isn’t usually compared to having fun at a party, it is common knowledge that kids enjoy parties more than anything else!
Here are some fun and free hockey drills for kids to try out:
6 Fun Hockey Drills For Kids
A relay race is a game that requires two teams, with at least 3 players per team. One team is called the “runners,” and the other is called the “hiders.”
The hiders layout their legs in pairs so that they represent a ladder. The runners then take off their skates and go down a ladder one by one on each foot so that only one player can go down one side of the ladder at a time.
The relay race proceeds in this way, with runners taking off their skates and going down the hider’s legs. When they reach the bottom, they have to get back up the ladder using only one skate. Finally, the runner must attach their laces to the person’s waist at the top of the ladder. The third runner to finish wins.
If any runners make it up the ladder with their skates on or are not attached correctly, they have to go back down and start again.
This skating drill is one of the best because it teaches players how to skate backward, but it also helps them learn how to turn and stop.
Hockey goals are not used for this drill; and instead, cones or pylons are used. Set up these markers in a circle about 6 feet away from each other on the ice. The players must then line themselves up behind a cone or pylon before skating in circles around them.
The first player begins with two laps in one direction before stopping at that pylon/cone. Then, they cross over by turning around and going back the opposite way, trying to keep their knees bent at all times so that they do not fall off balance while skating backward. Then, they proceed to do the same thing at the next pylon/cone.
The player should have to turn around every time they reach a pylon to continue learning how to skate backward and in circles and how to stop on a dime.
Sharks and Minnows
The object of this game is to pick someone who will be the shark or a player that goes after other players. The minnows are all the other people in the rink.
To set up this drill, you should make three parallel lines on opposite sides of your hockey rink with cones or pylons.
The first line will be about seven steps away from it and is where each cast member must start outstanding at the beginning of the drill. The second line can be nine steps away, and then they proceed until there is one pylon/cone left for every step before returning to their original spot in line. This third cone/pylon marks off where everyone needs to end up when they reach the end of their turn.
The shark chooses from one of the lines to begin, and then they go after whoever is in their line at the time. When this first player has been tagged, they join the other player behind their line and become a minnow. This leaves the same amount of players on each end to give an even playing field.
Once again, you can set up your ice rink however you want to work best for your players and how many there are in each team. The point is not to try to tag anyone else but rather get back into your own line by any means necessary!
This may seem like a no-brainer, but adding some fun drills into your scrimmages will bring your team even closer together. You can incorporate relay races because it is similar to what you are practicing in the game.
It also helps young hockey players get better at passing, receiving, and skating forward as well. The Relay Race Fun Hockey Drill is particularly great for this kind of scrimmage since it gives you time to show your skills and perform them with teammates before proceeding on to something else.
This drill allows for a lot of hockey practices while also giving the players ample try-out opportunities during games or scrimmages to be put into more challenging situations.
Star Passing Drill
This is a great drill because it allows the players to start with the basics before moving on to something harder, like pass interception. You can use a tennis ball or soccer ball to pass around it and make it more challenging.
The point of this hockey drill is for hockey players in the center to attempt deflecting or intercepting passes from other hockey players that are skating around them in a circle. Each time a player successfully intercepts or deflects one of these passes, they get a star as an award to put on their forehead.
Shootouts are a great way to end the period, practice a new skill, or have fun!
This drill is for someone who has a lot of skills and can skate very well. The object is to shoot across the ice into any of the three goals set up in front of you. If you miss, there is already another puck ready to go so that you do not lose much time on your attempt at making it to one of the nets.
Teach them how to hold the stick properly and get used to picking up loose pucks before attempting this kind of shootout drill, so they feel more comfortable while playing.
I hope the above-given fun hockey drills will make your hockey practices more fun and interesting. Remember that any skills practice is a good idea, whether it’s running around with pucks and sticks or practicing your power skating to improve your speed.
Using drills like these will also help you teach your players how to play ice hockey safely while they’re having fun! So which is your favorite fun hockey drill? Do let me know in the comments below.