Coaching tip of the Month

Coaching Tip of the Month

presented by Mike Kennedy, P3 Sports

If you have met me, you probably already know that there is ONE main thing coaches must adopt at their youth hockey practices – No standing around.  No long linueps.  Let PLAYING the game be the main teacher.

Tip 1 – Setting up a practice plan.

The first thing you need to do is consider how many players are coming to practice?  How many goalies?  Let’s take the example of 18 skaters, 1 goalie for a HALF ice practice.

Perfect, so we will likely need 3 or 4 stations to work from.  Let’s say there are 3 stations.  That means 6 players per station.

So if we do set up the stations to be:

a) Skill Station
b) game-like station
c)  compete station

The “Skill” Station, like learning to shoot, or puck handling, or working on your edges – this station should be focused on ZERO resting.  Finish the rep, go again.. and again…and again.  All 6 players should be doing these reps at the same time.

For a “Game-like” station, let’s try something with a goalie.

A 2 on 2 in the corner.  KTP:  Getting open for passes.  Shooting quickly.  Start by restricting the defense to have no sticks.  This allows the offense to create a little easier, to have some success while still having bodies defending in the way.  (It is also more fun for a goalie if the offense has some extra advantages).  So this game will have 4 / 6 players – PLAYING.  We ususually like the Offense, Defense, Out for these types of games. (Consider adding a 3rd F.  Take a D away.  Add a stick upside down.  And finally let the Defense have a normal stick.)

the “Compete” Station

This station can be done a thousand ways.  Racing for pucks around cones.  1 on 1 puck battles to make a pass to an open player in the slot.  Puck protection along the boards.  Bull in the ring – working on balance.  Usually this type of station involves 2 players competing.  2 players ready to go.  So there should be a maximum of 1 rep, 1 rest and you are up again!  So 2 groups should be going each time.  4 players working.  4 resting.

Coaching tip 2

If you put together a drill that has a lot (half of more) of the team going.  Try this:  get in line.


Many times I will time the amount of work for the players during the rep.  Player A skates towards a coach, gives a pass gets it back, turns towards net, pass to another coach, get it back and shoot.  Total time – 12 -15 seconds.  Time in line – 2+ minutes.  Total reps before switching sides – 2.

What happens here is the coach doesn’t realize that kids are only getting 2 reps.  The drill isn’t that bad, but there are too many kids.  This type of drill would be best served for 4 players MAX!  1 going, 1 going after the first pass, 1 ready to go and 1 is shooting the puck!

Keep the kids busy.  Time your routes.  See how long the rest is.  Give feedback on the course.  (Give a good target!)

Innaugural Coaching tip APRIL, P3 Sports, Mike Kennedy

Watch Ken Hitchcock talk about the importance of keeping the kids busy!

Good game drill, but too many players.  TIP:  have another station in the NZ, possibly puck handling around cones…

Good Drill