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These 3 Ideas Will Make Your Practices More Competitive

By Michael Dundas, Manager, Hockey Development, 02/24/22, 2:00PM EST


How coaches can keep practices fresh at the end of the season

Photo Credit: Julie Whelan Photography

At this point in the season finding ways to keep practices fresh for players can be a challenge. Teams have had months of games and practices and need to keep everyone engaged as they focus on powering through the rest of the season.

Whether your team is has started league playoffs or wrapping up the regular season, the upcoming weeks can produce many highlights for your team. Here are some ideas to keep your practices fresh and your players excited to come to the rink every day:

1. Switch it Up!

Players will get bored of doing the same drills over and over again. Add in some small area games and watch the natural competitive edge come out in a reduced space. Players will be more engaged while also learning team play, skills and tactics. You can also use odd-man battle drills like 2v1 or 2v2 to promote creativity and practice in-game scenarios. No matter the size of the playing area, you’ll find your players will want to come out on top.

2. Find Ways to Add Competition

There are many ways a coach can add a layer of competition to their practices. Special team scenarios and forwards versus defencemen create competitive situations, but adding a wrinkle like extra points for a certain number of passes makes the drills more challenging. New situations provide new perspectives and strategies.

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3. Teach the Purpose

When players have an understanding of the reasoning behind each drill they will have a better understanding on how it will benefit them in a competitive situation. Players need to be motivated and by defining how your practices relate to game situations will empower your athletes to give maximum effort in all training situations instead of just going through the motions.

Looking for more drills? The Hockey Canada Network gives coaches and players the tools to succeed with drills, skill videos, practice plans and articles on your tablet or phone. There are over 300 videos to help players develop their skills, covering hockey fundamentals for all ages. Each of the over 1,400 drills on the Network includes a diagram, demonstration video, key teaching points and a Team Canada game clip showing the skill in a game situation that can be added to a custom Training Plan. The Hockey Canada Network also has over 3,200 articles to support team staff and its players.

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Michael Dundas is the Manager, Hockey Development at the OMHA and has over 10 years of instructional and coaching experience working with athletes from U7 to U18.

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