Sports are back, and (mostly) in full-swing.
With different levels of caution taken to the approach and various layers of safety in place, athletes from little league to college are gearing up to resume activities around the world.
And as practices resume and kids are excited to be reunited with their teammates and find themselves back on the courts, fields and rinks they missed so much, they’ll also welcome in the return of perhaps their least missed activity – drills.
As I’ve pointed out and preached on Twitter and elsewhere on my site, running an efficient practice that pushes the team to improve and the players to hone in their raw skills is key to putting a successful team on ice. Here are a few drills to start.
While defense might not be the flashiest part of the game for most younger aged kids, it’s a hugely important part regardless of fanfare. And what is a huge part of playing an efficient, dependable game of defense? Communication. A drill like the Race to 2 v 2 can help your players improve their communication and decision making in a fast paced drill setting.
Looking for something that might keep them a bit more entertained and let them have a bit more fun? Running a game of tag – exactly what it sounds like – on the ice with the team can work wonders in improving on-ice agility and speed, as well as work for a warm up or cooldown.
If your team is a bit older or more experienced, and would like to take its training to the next level, try some more advanced drills. Find the lane is a shooting drill (something most players will enjoy, goalies being the exception) that will help keep your team focused on not just taking shots – but taking conscious shots.
To start find the lane, place two nets face to face together with a small gap between. Congratulations – you’ve just created the lane – now it’s time for your players to find it. Line up a series of pucks on the blue line and let your players take measured – but aggressive – shots hoping to squeeze the puck between the pipes (and thus, ‘finding the lane’).
Now what about if you don’t have a full rink at your disposal, or will be doing some off-ice practicing? Fortunately, plenty of off-ice drills exist to help players with their coordination, focus, and stick skills.
Practice a baseball-esque soft toss that involves deflecting pucks into the net behind the player, or mix in some soccer-related drills like the soccer toe tap found here.