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10 Principles of Effective Practices

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 11/21/14, 4:00PM EST


When designing your practice, incorporate the following principles of effective practices.

  1. Keep Everyone Active 
    Maximize the activity of your players. The athletes should be active rather than passive viewers or listeners (e.g., use them as examples for demonstrations of drills, etc.). 
  2. Give Clear, Concise Instructions 
    Learning improves when expectations are understood by the players. Demonstrations, films and pictures help improve the accuracy of the instruction. 
  3. Create Progressions 
    Learning is enhanced if it progresses from material that is: known to unknown – simple to complex – concrete to abstract. Progress from non-competitive skill practice to simulation of game conditions. 
  4. Use Whole - Part - Whole 
    Complex tasks are most easily learned using the Whole - Part - Whole method. Present the total skill before breaking it down and teaching the parts. Use visual presentations (e.g., charts, pictures or ice examples) often. 
  5. Give Positive Feedback 
    Emphasize and reward the skills and activities the players are performing correctly. Give feedback both on an individual and team basis. 
  6. Chart Progress 
    Learning is enhanced when players are informed of their progress. Drills and exercises should be designed to allow a measurable means by which the coach or athletes may assess progress 
    (e.g., record times, number of passes). 
  7. Allow for Individual Differences 
    Allow for variations in learning rates and in the different ways athletes learn. Plan for and yet be flexible to meet the needs of the situation and the individuals within the situation. 
  8. Provide Variety 
    Maintain interest by varying activities. Boredom decreases motivation and learning. Interest can be maintained by use of short time spans for instruction. 
  9. Stimulate Enjoyment
    Practices should be fun. Interest and motivation are stimulated by use of novel equipment, exercises, and drills. 
  10. Plan Maximum Use of Resources 
    Maximize the use of limited resources to insure the maximum participation by all athletes. That is, use the entire ice surface. 

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