Mite / Initiation Hockey Drills OMHA

Initiation / Mite Level Hockey Drills

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The following drills were designed by the OMHA for initiation level hockey players. These are great drills for beginner hockey players, or young hockey players. These drills were created to help coaches build their players hockey skills, and also have diversity in practices. Hockey players sometimes learn more if they are having fun (especially at young ages) because they will try harder, and want to learn more in order to improve. The following drills are from the OMHA drill book which can be found on the website at Hometownhockey. These youth hockey drills focus on technical skills and individual tactics as these are the skills that should be worked on the most at the initiation level.

This drill is designed to be a fun drill and is a good drill from young hockey players. Fun drills are usually good drills to start with as the players will enjoy them and it will help the players warm up.

Time Description
5 Minute Drill Chaos – Free Time
  • Players skate all over the ice, stick handling the pucks
  • Coaches interact with the players passing the pucks back and forth
  • Encourage kids to hand the pucks, forehand, backhand, kick the pucks with their skates, no shooting against the boards
Drill Diagram
Initiation Hockey Drill Chaos - Free time

The point of this drill is for the players to practice many of the fundamental hockey skills in 10 minute sessions. This is a good drill to have because players can move quickly from one station to the other and little time is wasted explaining and setting up new drills.

Time Description
50 Minutes 5 Station Skills Circuit – 10 Minutes at each station
  1. Skating
    • Forward stride and bend, stop at blueline
    • Forward jump stride, stop at blueline
    • Forward crossovers
    • Backward c-cuts
    • backward striding
    • backward crossovers
  2. Puck Control
    • Stationary puck control
    • Figure eights
    • Toe drag
    • Partner puck control
  3. Pond Hockey
    • 3 on 3 cross ice
  4. Passing
    • Stationary forehand passing / rec
    • Stationary backhand passing / rec
    • Telescope passing / rec
  5. Balance and Agility
    • Stationary balance 1 leg
    • Stationary deep knee bends
    • Inside / outside edges
    • Gliding on one foot
Drill Diagram
Initiation Hockey Drill Circuit

This is a great drill for players to practice their skating and stick handling abilities. By providing the players with different equipment it allows them to develop different motor skills and also adds a fun element to the drill which will keep them focused.

Time Description
5 Minutes Free Skate
  • As each skates steps onto the ice they are given either a puck, tennis ball, or street hockey ball
  • Skate in any direction on the ice
  • On the whistle the player must exchange their item with another piece of equipment
  • No shooting allowed, only puck control
Drill Diagram
Hockey fun Drill - Initiation free skate

This is a great drill for players to practice their balance and agility. Stations are kept at 5 minute intervals in order to keep the players attention and work on many different skills in a 20 minute time frame.

Time Description
20 Minutes Balance and Agility
Four stations, five minutes at each station. Change stations on a determined signal.

  • Station 1
    (one of the end zones)

    • Players do crossovers around circle 1 (two and a half times) and then around circle 2 (two times)
    • Send 2-3 players at a time
    • Repeat 2-3 times
    • Do same as 1, but with pucks
  • Station 2
    (Between blue line and red line)

    • Players run over agility boards. Execute a glide turn at pylons 1 and skate to pylon 2. Stop using tow foot front stop facing boards. Skate backwards from pylon 2 to pylon 3 and stop. Do lateral crossovers back to original position, repeat.
  • Station 3
    (Between blue line and red line)

    • Group one skates backwards to pylon and pivots backwards to forward, then accelerates out of turn, skating forward and execute two foot stop at boards, then go to end of group two line
    • Group two skates forward to pylon and pivots forward and backwards. Skating backwards to sideboards and stopping. Go to end of group one line
  • Station 4 (one of the end zones)
    • Player controls puck while weaving through pylons
    • Player performs glide turn at last pylon, skating forward for ten metres before stopping. Face boards when you stop
    • Skate backwards to opposite side of rink while controlling the puck
Drill Diagram
Hockey Initiation Level balance and agility drill

This is a good drill to use to help develop puck control among initiation level players. This drill adds some friendly competition and also puck control in the feet.

Time Description
15 Minutes Puck Control Stations
Three stations, 5 minutes each, change stations on a determined signal

  • Station 1: Tight Turn Competition
    • Arrange players into two groups
    • Arrange pylons as shown, and have players race for a spotted puck and finnish with a shot on goal (add a second puck for second player if needed)
  • Station 2: Control puck with feet
    • Players cross the ice using feet to control the puck
    • Options are keeping the puck in feet at all times, or kicking puck slightly ahead (1 metre) alternate skates
  • Station 3: Chaos
    • Have each player skate randomly with a puck throughout the zone
    • Coaches add pressure to check and encourage to keep head up
Drill Diagram
Puck control stations hockey drill
Time Description
5 Minutes Fun Time
Players skate to the blue line and…

  1. Coast on both skates, jump the red line and blue line. Take off on two feet and land on two feet.
  2. Coast on both skates. Jump the red line, turn 180 degrees in air and land backwards. At the blue line jump and turn 180 degrees and land going forwards. Always take off on two feet and land on two feet
  3. Coast on only one skate. Jump red and blue line on one skate. Do not put other skate down
  4. Repeat last point with other leg

Do these 2 or 3 times each

Drill Diagram
Fun hockey drill for initiation level hockey players

This is a good alternative to a scrimmage. By breaking the players into three groups in three sections on the ice, more players will be involved in the practice at one time.

Time Description
5 Minutes Pond Hockey Drill
  • Use a puck
  • Use three areas and play cross ice
  • Use pylons as goals (instead of nets)
  • To score puck pust hit pylon
  • No goalies
Drill Diagram
Pond hockey drill in Initiation

This is a fun skating drill that is also good to use as an opening drill to warm players up.

Time Description
10 Minutes Free skate
Players skate clockwise around the ice. At blue line they perform four warm-up exercises

  • Touch toes
  • Squat low
  • Pull knee to chest
  • Touch one knee to ice

Between the blue lines: Skates stay on ice at all times, spread legs wide and then bring them in together.

Drill Diagram
Initiation Level free skate hockey drill
Time Description
20 Minutes Balance and Agility
  1. Cross ice touching knee on ice after each stride. I.e drive with left skate, touch left knee to ice and get up. Drive with right skate, touch right knee to ice and get up, repeat across ice. Do three times
  2. Cross ice doing forward alternate leg crossovers
  3. Players skate forward and perform a task at each section of ice.
    1. Jump over agility board
    2. Dive under obstacle (set on two high pylons)
    3. Jump over agility board set on pylons
    4. Dive under obstacle set on two pylons. Player gets up and turns 360 degrees around pylon, skates forwards (six metres) pivots forward to backwards and skates backwards to boards. Lateral crossovers back to original postion. Repeat
  4. Same set up as 3. Players can carry puck with them. Must slide puck under obstacles on pylons, skate around and puck it up. Perform an open ice carry on the return to position.

Repeat using route-2 as players should do on forehand and backhand

Drill Diagram
Initiation level balance and agility hockey drill

This is a good passing and skating drill. Half the players line up and practice passing and the other half practice skating with the puck. If desired the entire team can practice passing, and then the entire team can practice handling the puck

Time Description
10 Minutes Stationary Passing / Receiving and Stopping with puck
Review and demonstrate key points

  1. Players partner off approximately six metres apart
    • Practice forehand pass and receive
    • practice backhand pass and receive
    • Alternate with players spaced ten metres apart
  2. Players practice stickhandling across the ice stop and repeat.

Repeat 6-7 times

Drill Diagram
passing drill for Initiation hockey

More Initiation Hockey Drills – Small area games

Check out this PDF that includes a lot of small area games that are great for younger hockey players.

hockey-drill-bookFor more drills I recommend the Weiss tech hockey playbook and hockey Drillbook, you can buy them separately, or together as a bundle Learn more about the playbook and drillbook here. If you don’t know Jeremy Weiss you should definitely follow his blog as he is a very smart coach, and he is always sharing new drills for all age levels.

I hope these drills will help you come up with some effective practices for your players. I am working on putting a post together for Novice level hockey drills and Novice level Practice plan. If you would like to get more posts like this sent right to your inbox then feel free to subscribe to this blog by entering your email address in the box to the left.

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Hi my name is Jeremy Rupke. My goal is to break every hockey skill down into easy to understand articles and videos. I explain everything step-by-step to help others improve. I'm active on Instagram, Facebook and more, you can follow through the links above.
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  1. Reply Hockeycoach February 8, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Hi just a question about initiation level games. Would it be best to have all the strong players on one line or mix it up so it’s more advanced with the beginner players?

  2. Reply Herb January 3, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Ron,
    I’m a Coach for Tyke level kids. I have combined practices with another tyke team and there is 25 kids on the Ice at a ime. 5 Station drills are my typical practice plans. One thing I am seeing, my kids do not have a compatitive / compete for the puck hockey sence because we are not practicing this. Do you have any “compete for the puck” drills?
    Thanks for your help

    • Reply drill February 3, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      Put a net in the corner facing the boards. Send puck into corner and have two players compete for the puck to score on net. Coach keeps puck in the corner or takes it if not fighting for puck enough. Keep drill to about 30 seconds send in next pair use 6-8 players. Change player amounts 3 / 4 once they understand.

  3. Reply grayson July 4, 2014 at 5:53 am

    what drills can I do at home by my self at my backyard rink?

  4. Reply cruj October 20, 2013 at 7:33 am


  5. Reply B Anthony October 19, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Drills were concise and of great help. They were also in line with the expected level of ability. Thanks

  6. Reply MisterMighty November 6, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Nice resource – has a few decent initiation level drills.

    New Coaches: I think the most critical part of coaching initiation is making sure you have a dead simple progression.

    The more you break down a skill to the individual movements required, the faster the kids will learn.

    You CANNOT move too quickly, otherwise you leave 3/4 of the team behind. Simple, simple, simple progressions are key.

  7. Reply jason September 2, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Hello, I an coaching tyke hockey and if you had any more half ice drills I could use that would be great. By the way the kids relly enjoyed these drills.



  8. Reply monir ghahremani August 17, 2012 at 3:27 am

    I got some text on your site using the TEA on my site. Thanks
    monir ghahremani -iran

  9. Reply Robin Hein December 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Hi there, I am currently coaching the little guys and am having troubles keeping them busy. We only have 10 players, and would like some suggestions and drills to keep them busy as I am the only coach on the ice with the 10 of them.

  10. Reply nick bonnar November 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    i’m coaching 4-5-6yrs olds and just looking for drills to help these young kids to develop. any drills would be a help, as many as possible. thanks.

  11. Reply Nasser Zanidean October 19, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    I too am coaching an initiation team with 22 kids and only 7 have played hockey before. So I guess what I am looking for is some skating drills and other drills for begineers that would be easy to instruct and for the kids to pick up on and learn.

  12. Reply Wade September 21, 2011 at 9:04 am


    I would greatly appreciate if you could send me some drills on the initiation/tyke level.



  13. Reply Ron Dragan May 5, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I am the on ice coordinator for the Mini Mite program in the Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association. I am looking for additional age related hockey drills (cross ice) that I can add to my arsenal of drills that I already have. would be willing to share my collection from over 20 years of coaching. Feel free to contact me at your convenience.

    • Reply braden October 19, 2016 at 11:12 am

      this was from a long time ago I see but if you get this id love some ideas or anything you can send. starting coaching this year with my 4 year old and the rest of the initiation team

    • Reply Char September 28, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      Hi Ron
      I’m coaching my son this year and would really like some ideas. The age group is 5 to 6yr olds with varied levels of skating ability.

    • Reply Travis Shaw September 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Ron,

      I like Kurtis who funny enough I happen to know have also been asked to help coach the initiation team in my town. Any suggestions or help would be fantastic!

      Travis Shaw
      Devon, AB

    • Reply Kurtis Keller September 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm

      Hi Ron,
      I’ve been asked to coach an initiation team this year and am really looking for some drills to do with the kids. I have been out of the game for quite a few years so i’m pretty rusty. Any help would be great!
      Wainwright, Alberta

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