OMHA Novice / Squirt Hockey Drills

by Jeremy Rupke on February 10, 2010

Hockey Drills for Novice / Squirt players

These drills are great for any coach who is coaching novice hockey players. These drills focus on team tactics, individual tactics and technical tactics as outlined in the Skills Guide. The drills also focus on passing, skating, agility, and stopping.

This is a good warm up drill for novice players

Drill Time Drill Description
5 minutes Back Alley Warm Up Drill
  • Hockey players take off one after another
  • Backwards between blue line
  • Two foot jump over each line
  • Groin stretch between blue lines
  • Touch Toes, trunk twists, leg kicks
Hockey Drill Diagram
Novice warm up drill

The hockey drill below is a really good fun hockey drill for novice players. I still remember playing this game when I was at hockey practice and it was a lot of fun, and also taught the players puck control if you have the puck, and defense if you do not.

Drill Time Drill Description
5 Minutes Diminishing Pucks – Fun Novice hockey drill
  • Players skate around the neutral ice zone, each with a puck
  • As players are stickhandling, they try to knock the puck off each others sticks. If a puck goes outside the blue lines into one of the end zones it is out of play
  • Players that lose their puck have to try and knock pucks off of the sticks of remaining players
  • Keep going until the last puck is knocked out of the zone
Hockey Drill Diagram
Fun novice stickhandling drill - Diminishing pucks

This is a great skating drill because there are four different stations that will focus on many different areas of skating. This novice drill focuses on crossovers, skating, puck control quick starts and quick stops.

Drill Time Drill Description
20 Minutes Novice Skating Evaluation
Four stations, five minutes at each station

  • Station One
    • Player performs cross overs around circle
    • Second player goes, once first player passes
  • Station Two
    • Player weaves through pylons and goes back in line
    • Next player goes when first one gets to second pylon
    • Second time through use a puck
    • Third time through do 360’s around each pylon
  • Station Three
    • Player skates forward to pylon, performs a two foot stop, then proceeds forward to next pylon, etc
  • Station Four
    • Player skates forward to blue line, backwards to pylon, forward to blue line again
Hockey Drill Diagram
Novice skating evaluation drill

This is a great puck control drill for novice hockey players. By breaking the drills into 3 stations every player can participate, and you will also keep the players attention by changing up what they are doing.

Drill Time Drill Description
15 minutes Puck Control Circuit
Three stations, five minutes at each station.

  • Station One
    • Players weave through pylons with puck
    • Pass to coach
    • Receive pass form coach
    • Take shot on net
    • Skate to pylon, pivot, skate backwards to next pylon
    • Pivot, skate forwards back to end of line
  • Station Two
    • Players perform stationary stickhandling moves (figure 8’s, side stickhandling, through legs)
  • Station Three
    • Player does crossovers around circle with puck
    • Next player goes after first player goes by
    • Player then proceeds to next circle, does crossovers around circle, and then proceeds to take a shot on net.
Hockey Drill Diagram
Novice puck control drill

This is another fun hockey drill. This drill teaches lateral movement, speed, and evasive maneuvers!

Drill Time Drill Description
5 Minutes British Bulldog Hockey Drill
  • Players line up on goal line
  • One player at center yells British Bulldog
  • Players then try to skate to other end without being tagged. If a player gets tagged then that player has to help the person in the middle catch the rest of the skaters
  • Play until last skater gets caught
Hockey Drill Diagram
British Bulldog, fun novice hockey drill

Pond hockey is a great drill to use instead of a full game. By breaking the ice in half more players can participate.

Drill Time Drill Description
10 Minutes Novice Pond Hockey Drill
  • Split the rink in half and play 2 games of 3 on 3
  • On whistle players playing switch with players in nuetral zone
  • Use 1 puck, or 2 pucks, tennis balls, soccer balls etc
Hockey Drill Diagram
Novice pond hockey drill
Drill Time Drill Description
5 Minutes Chaos
  • Players skate all over the ice stickhandling
  • On whistle, all players move to one half of the ice.
  • On next whistle, all players move inside blueline
  • On next whistle, all players move inside goal line
Hockey Drill Diagram
Novice chaos drill
Drill Time Drill Description
5 Minutes Indy 500
  • Divide players into two groups, half on each side of the red line. Move nets up to hash marks
  • Players partner up, front player bends down into sitting position, second player pushes from behind
  • Players start on whistle, doing one full lap of ice (allowed to bump other teams in corners)
  • Once players get around the ice, and back to finish line, next group goes
Hockey Drill Diagram
Novice hockey drill Indy 500

This is a good novice shooting drill. The drills is broken into three stations to allow players to work on a new shooting skill at each station.

Drill Time Drill Description
15 Minutes Shooting Circuit -Novice Shooting Drill
Five minutes at each station

  • Station One
    • 1 passes to 2
    • 2 passes to 3
    • 1 skates around 2 and then between 2 and 3, receives pass back from 3
    • 1 takes shot on net
    • Make sure players are both skaters and passers
  • Station Two
    • Players line up along side boards
    • Practice wrist shots, and backhand shots
  • Station Three
    • 2 passes to 1, who then skates out around pylon, and takes shot on net.
    • Next player in line behind 1 passes to 2, who then skates out around pylon for shot on net.
Hockey Drill Diagram
Novice shooting hockey drill

This is a good novice hockey passing drill. There are four stations, with 5 minutes at each station. Don’t be afraid to change up the drills and add or take things away, that is what keeps practice fun and exciting.

Drill Time Drill Description
20 Minutes Passing Circuit – Novice Passing Drill
Players spend 5 minutes at each station

  • Station One
    • 1 passes to 2, then begins to skate
    • 2 passes to 3, 3 passes to 4
    • 1 skates towards blue line, turns and skates between 2 and 3 to get a pass from 4
    • 1 then takes a shot net
    • Make sure all players get to be skaters and passers
  • Station Two
    • Three players for four pylons
    • As one player passes the puck, the player without the puck must move to the open pylon so that the puck is always with the middle person.
  • Station Three
    • Pig in the middle
    • Two players pass the puck to each other, while a 3rd player tries to stop the pass
    • If the player in the middle stops the pass, then he / she switches with the player who gave up the puck

Coaches should work with goalies while players are doing the passing drills

Hockey Drill Diagram
Novice Hockey Passing Drill
Drill Time Drill Description
5 Minutes Shootout
  • 2 lines facing each end of the ice
  • Line on left has players down on one knee
  • Line on right is player with puck
  • On Coach’s signal, player with puck skates towards net for shot, player on one knee has to play the back checker, and try and catch the puck carrier
  • Switch lines after each attempt
Hockey Drill Diagram
Fun novice hockey drill - shootout

This drill is good for building players balance and agility. Players learn well by dropping to one knee, diving and rolling, and jumping, they also have a lot of fun too! I remember always being the fastest on my belly and back up again back when I played novice!

Drill Time Drill Description
5 Minutes Novice Balance and Agility Drill
Players are divided into two groups and follow the patch as indicated in the diagram

  • Perform the following exercises
    • Drop to knees at blue line
    • Dive and roll at red line
    • Jump at each line
    • Backwards between blue lines
    • Glide on one foot between blue lines
    • Shoot the duck between blue lines

Key execution points: Change direction after three minutes

Hockey Drill Diagram
Novice hockey balance and agility drill
Drill Time Drill Description
15 Minutes Novice Skills Station Drill
  1. Players Weave Through Pylons
    • First time through using one foot, inside edge only
    • Second time though using one foot, outside edge only
    • Third time through using both feet, leading with front foot
    • Fourth time through use pucks
  2. Push and Glide
    • Players line up along boards, and perform t-pushes across ice, change leg on the way back. Try to do 3-4 pushes
    • Players then do the same going backwards, using C-cuts of backwards cross over start to begin, and finishing with c-cuts to far boards
    • Repeat four times
  3. Crossovers
    • Players begin in one corner and work on crossovers forwards and backwards.
    • Concentrate on full crossover (outside foot) and cross-under (push through of inside skate for power

Key Execution Points: Switch stations after 5 minutes

Hockey Drill Diagram
Skills station drill for novice hockey

This is another fun hockey drill for novice players. For this drill players will develop speed, acceleration, tight turns and winning the race for the puck!

Drill Time Drill Description
5 Minutes Mill Drill – Fun Novice Hockey Drill
  • Divide players into four teams, one at each blue line as shown
  • Place all of the pucks in the center circle, on whistle the first player from each team begins by doing a 360 around the pylon, then gets a puck, and takes the puck back to the end circle nearest the team.
  • Once the puck is in the circle, the next player from that team can go
  • Once all the pucks are gone, each team counts how many are in their circle, the team with the most pucks wins
  • Can do more than once, change things up by making players skate backwards to the circle once they get the puck.

Key Execution Points: Teams cheer for their players, lots of pucks in the middle.

Hockey Drill Diagram
fun Novice hockey drill, mill drill
Drill Time Drill Description
5 Minutes Moe Mania
  • Players line up as shown. Spray paint lines half way between all cones so that players have a mark when to make their pivot.
  • Player skates forward toward first cone and at spray paint line pivot to backwards. Continue this the entire way through the set-up.
  • Players should always pivot so that they never lose eye contact with the cone in front of them.
  • Ensurte that players lead with their stick to maintain good balance on the pivot
  • Start with no pucks and add in pucks once players are ready
Hockey Drill Diagram
novice hockey drill moe mania
Drill Time Drill Description
5 Minutes 3 Station Passing Drill
  • Montreal Drill
    • 1 passes to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 4, 4 back to 1 in the slot (rotate)
  • Pass with Accuracy
    • Move laterally giving and receiving passes on the outside of the cones
  • Pig in the Middle
    • One checker between 3 players with players continously passing the puck until the checker intercepts. Checker then trades places and becomes a passer.

Key Execution Points:Change stations after 5 minutes, Players need to think

Hockey Drill Diagram – Novice Hockey Passing Drill
Novice passing drill for hockey
Drill Time Drill Description
10 Minutes One Man Drive
Introduce the one man drive but focus on principles that will be important for net drive and triangulation

  • Start with the player on the left boards. Player accelerates and receives a pass from the coach in stride. Once the pass has been received the player drives hard to the net, takes a shot from the circle and attacks for the rebound
  • As soon as this player has completed the drill the player from the centre takes a pass and drives straight down the mid-lane to the net, repeat with player off other boards. Continue sequence
  • Run out of both ends of the ice
  • Spray paint circles where shown to encourage players to drive to the net and attack for rebounds

Key Execution Points: Players must be ready to go, Keep drill going to keep players moving

Hockey Drill Diagram
One man drive novice hockey drill

I hope these drills will help you run a good practice, and help your players develop. If you are looking for more drills then punch your email address in the box in the left sidebar and you will get notified when I post something on the site! I am working on a lot more articles, and drills that you can share with your hockey team.

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.

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Jeremy Rupke

Coach
Hi my name is Jeremy. I LOVE hockey and I am passionate about improving and helping others improve. 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. If you want to learn more about me you can read my about page. Thanks for reading and sharing!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

mike hook October 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Hi Jeremy,
I am a first time coach this year, just wondering if you have a drill set up for ice positioning. Just noticed in our first two games that our players are really close together for the most part. Thanks

Reply

Shane Briggs August 29, 2013 at 7:50 am

Hello Jeremy, I am in my 30’s and just learning to skate and play mainly because I have always loved hockey, and my two boys 5 and 7 are both playing hockey. They love watching the videos and trying what they have learned on the ice.

This year my oldest boy is a second year novice player and they are switching to half ice game format until December and then they will switch to full ice. I see benefits to it in that the players may get more ice time, puck time and have to work harder on stick handling as opposed to getting the puck out to the faster players for breakaways. On the other hand, our team may not get a true understanding the offside rules until mid season. This could cause some serious problems if we end up in tournaments unless Alberta as a whole is adopting this format, which likely isn’t the case.

What are your thoughts on half ice games for Novice level players? Do think it will improve skills? Do you think they will be sacrificing on endurance by only playing half ice? At this point I am on the fence and will have to see it implemented to gain a true appreciation for it.

Reply

Jeremy Rupke August 30, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I think it’s a good idea because it gives the kids more chances to touch the puck. With the younger teams a lot of space on the ice is wasted. By going cross rink it evens the game for the slower players (so they are never too far out of the play) and keeps the players in game like situations that they will experience more as they get older. A full sized rink for younger players is like playing on a soccer field sized rink for adults.

Shane Briggs April 24, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Well our first experience with half ice was certainly interesting. As with anything, there are pros and cons. I did notice a huge confidence boost in my son’s game as it allowed him many opportunities to handle the puck and score. He has chosen to be a defensemen so for him the extra stick handling and passing came in really handy. Many of the other kids that maybe had never scored a goal in a hockey game yet managed to get puck time and score and came off the ice super happy and enjoying the game.

The downsides were minimal and I think as our league gains more experience they will improve on things. In the half ice games I found the games became really rough without having any refs there was really no consequence to the actions. I also found that even though there was more puck time I found there to be a lack of passing and it was more of an individual game. With some extra coaching and guidance specific to the half ice 3 vs. 3 game, those issues could easily be worked on.

We lucked out and had really great coaches and the team was full of great kids. In the end the kids had tons of fun, my son learned quite a bit and made some new friends and that is the most important thing.

Our youngest boy will now be starting Dynamite so we will have 3 more years of half ice games ahead of us, so we better embrace it keep it positive attitude about it.

Jason McGregor October 4, 2012 at 11:38 am

i would like as many novice drills as you have, i am a first time coach

Reply

zack March 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I am a coach for 5-7 year olds,we have entered a extended season tournament with are top twelve players in the region.(rather advanced for their age ). The regular season did not have offsides and icing,however they will be calling them in the tournament. I Only have three practices to teach these rules to the Kids. I was hoping you would have some drills or advice on teaching it to the kids.

Reply

Glen Roberts March 5, 2010 at 6:38 am

There are some very good new ideas here that I will implement into our novice practices, they seem to be a ball of fun and I think the kids will enjoy them. Very helpful.

Reply

Jeremy Rupke May 6, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Thanks for your response Shane. The great thing about small area games is you can incorporate rules to mix things up. One could be 3 pass rule.

Reply

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