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Video Coach

A Twist on an NHL-Proven Practice Drill

By Ian Taylor, OMHA Executive Director, 10/06/19, 1:30PM EDT


Video Coach | Presented by Hockey Intelligym

Practice is a great time to try unique twists on standard drills that get your players thinking outside the box. Working in a small area forces players to use their teammates to create scoring opportunities and use elusive skills to boost their puck handling ability.

This is a practice drill that is proven at the NHL level. It keeps both players and goalies constantly engaged and uses their creativity and conditioning in ways not found in a typical practice to improve their performance.

3v3 – Levels Game | Drill Description

  • Set-up two nets – one in its regular position on the goal line and the second net ‘stacked; in the middle of the ice, half-way between the goal line and blue line. Both nets are facing the same direction.
  • Game is played 3v3 – teams can score on either net
  • In addition, one coach (or additional player) is positioned on the each side of the boards. They act as support or ‘safety valve’, one for each team.
  • Players cannot take the puck from the ‘safety’ players.
  • This game reinforces concepts such as creating offense from behind the net, hunting the dot, give and go, attacking off the wall & the Royal Road, puck protection & deception.

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The first clip is from the 2019 Buffalo Sabres Development Camp. In this version, coaches act in the role of support players on the side-wall.

The second clip is from the Sabres again - this was from practice as they wrapped up pre-season prior to starting the 2019-20 season. In this progression, they have eliminated the side-support players making this a straight 3v3.

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In our third example, the Edmonton Oilers ran this game in practice the week before the season started. They have used players instead of coaches in the side-support players. This keeps more players engaged and challenges the side-players to read, react and make quality passes.

Try this next practice – players will love it and they have no idea how many skills they are working on, never mind the conditioning effect.

Video Coach is a series of articles which reviews a video clip from game action and then breaks down the sequence into frames identifying key skills, individual and team tactics, strategy and hockey IQ. Video is a great teaching tool that can be used by both players and coaches.

The Hockey IntelliGym is a breakthrough cognitive training technology that hones hockey sense and has been scientifically proven to improve player safety. IntelliGym has been used by thousands of players - from OHL teams to USA Hockey to OMHA Minor Midget champions - to improve individual players' points total, heighten spatial awareness, and foster better anticipation of the play. Research from the University of Delaware suggests training with IntelliGym is a great way to reduce concussions and other on ice injuries. The software, which can be used on any computer, can be purchased here.

"What I'm noticing with IntelliGym is that it compliments my use of area games or situational pressure drills in practice. My players are recognizing and executing their options faster than they have in the past. This improvement has translated to games. They are moving to open areas to support their teammate with the puck."

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Ian Taylor is the Executive Director of the OMHA and former Director of Hockey Development. A proud hockey dad of two, Ian has over 25 years of instructional and coaching experience.

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