As a kid I spent a lot of time in my barn shooting pucks. Sometimes I would get tired of shooting at the same four targets (or I would break the targets) so I would always try to think of ways to make target practice a bit more fun. One of my better inventions was a goalie that I made using a sheet of plywood and a jigsaw (being a farm kid I was using power tools around the same time I learned basic math). Eventually I destroyed the goalie, first he lost his goalie stick, then his glove side hand, then his head, but it was a lot of fun shooting on it and creating it.
In this article and video I aim to spark your creative side and help make shooting more fun. In the video I give you a few ideas that just came to me while I was at the dollar store. Below the video I will give you even more things you can use as targets that are FREE.
More ways to add some razzle to your shooting practice
Here are a few more things you can shoot pucks at, all you need is some decent string
old tires (great to use as a five-hole)
dryer (if you’re Sidney Crosby)
One more idea is to play music, music can put you in the zone and also keep you shooting for longer.
If you plan on taking a lot of shots I recommend the Ez-Goal with the backstop it gives you a few feet of extra room around the net, that way you don’t have to search for pucks as much. I use it on my net and it has saved me a lot of time and I am not worried about missing when I shoot top corner or bard down.
Leave your ideas for shooting practice in the comments section below
Many hockey players and parents have questioned whether hockey games or practices help a player develop more? Take a look at the stats below and you will know which is better.
One of the biggest issues surrounding the development of hockey players is the number of practices they have compared to the number of games they play. An ideal, realistic ratio is 2 practices for every 1 game played for ages 7 – 13. While some associations have no problem in meeting the recommended ratio, others have great difficulty in finding enough ice time meet this practice to game ratio. Are games really necessary, or all they are cracked up to be? Not when you look at the stats below, especially if you are trying to develop skills.
Howtohockey note: Keep in mind that children can practice hockey almost anywhere. You do not have to wait until a planned practice to practice your hockey skills. Encourage children to practice at home and with friends. Look for outdoor rinks in the winter and places to practice shooting and stick handling in the summer.
A PRACTICE BY THE NUMBERS
The following facts and figures relate to a 60-minute practice session:
1 efficient practice will give a player more skill development than 11 games collectively.
Each player should have a puck on his or her stick for 8 – 12 minutes.
Each player should have a minimum of 30 shots on goal.
Players will miss the net over 30% of the time in a minor hockey practice.
Coaches should try to run 4 – 5 different drills / games / activities each practice. More is not better; execution of what you do is development.
No more than 5 minutes should be spent in front of a teaching board each practice.
If you have 10 players on the ice, strive to keep 4 – 5 players moving at all times.
If you have 15 players on the ice, strive to keep 9 – 10 players moving at all times.
If you have 20 players on the ice, strive to keep 14 – 15 players moving at all times.
A HOCKEY GAME BY THE NUMBERS :
The following statistics were recorded during a 60-minute Peewee level hockey game:
Players will have the puck on their stick for an average of 8 seconds per game.
Players will take an average of 1 – 2 shots per game.
99% of the feedback coaches give players is when they have the puck. Ironically players only have the puck on their stick for 0.2% of the game.
1 efficient practice will give a player more skill development than 11 games collectively.
If you look at these stats, how can we expect kids to develop when they are playing more games than practicing? Studies show that the better kids are at something, the more they will enjoy it, and the longer they will play. Many kids quit hockey because they get to the level where they can’t compete due to lack of skill – therefore it is no longer fun. At the ages of 5 – 6 or 5 – 7, the practice to game ratio should be even higher (6: 1) and realistically there is no need for formal games.
Big thanks to the OMHA for allowing us to publish some of their hockey tips and hockey drills
Hockey Skill Development can be a straightforward task once you have taken the time to develop a good hockey practice or seasonal plan. A practice / seasonal plan is made up of a number of important components that should be given strong consideration each time you develop a plan. Information republished with permission from Home Town Hockey
Practice plan format to record your plan:
Meets all your needs for information
Archive your plans for easy reference at a later date.
Measurable outcomes for the plan:
Players of all ages need to know the goals of each practice
Record information about the execution of the plan
Elements of the plan:
Practices / drills should be more active than passive
A well balanced practice contains about 5 activities
Elements of a plan may include warm up, teaching components, technical skill execution, drills under game like conditions, fun elements, competitive activities, and a cool down
Assign the coach responsibilities to lead the drill:
Ensure that all support people understand the purpose of the drills so they can provide appropriate feedback to guide improvement
All coaches should be engaged in the delivery of each drill
Coaches may be required to provide stimuli to start or maintain drill focus
Take pride in illustrating good plans
Make it a habit to use international symbols
Descriptions to include:
Written descriptions should include details of the drill execution, key teaching points, and key execution points
Plans should note any extraordinary equipment required
The following is a guide to what types of skills should be taugt during a hockey practice. As you can see for the initiation stage you should focus mostly on technical skills such as shooting, skating, stopping and so on, however for Bantam and Midget all skills should be taught equally.
INITIATION 85% Technical skills • 15% Individual tactics
NOVICE 75% Technical skills • 15% Individual tactics • 10% • Team tactics
ATOM 50% Technical skills • 20% Individual tactics • 15% • Team tactics • 10 % Team play • 5% Strategy
PEEWEE 45% Technical skills • 20% Individual tactics • 15% • Team tactics • 10 % Team play • 5% Strategy
BANTAM 40% Technical skills • 15% Individual tactics • 20% • Team tactics • 15 % Team play • 10% Strategy
MIDGET 35% Technical skills • 20% Individual tactics • 20% • Team tactics • 15 % Team play • 10% Strategy
Originially printed in the OMHA Hockey Drill book. Published with permission from OMHA Hometown Hockey
KEEP THEM MOVING
Whether its practice, clinic, or camp, ice sessions should be designed to engage every participant consistently. Kids don’t attend practice to watch others play. Kids enjoy practices when they have fun and they experience an improvement in their overall skills.
EMPHASIZE THE FUNDAMENTALS
Build a foundation that will never crack by properly teaching the basics. Learning the fundamentals and perfecting the same basics at every level of play is essential to having any chance of success.
If one player does not execute the fundamentals of his position correctly, the most sophisticated drill or play in the world will not work. It is unfair and not fun to focus on running plays that will fail 9 out of 10 times. Kid’s practices that focus on Team Play over executing fundamentals are cheating every participant out of the chance to learn the game properly.
Do not attempt to replicate plays you see in NHL and Junior games! Every scheme that is attempted in a junior or NHL game is supported by years of training in the fundamentals of the game.
INCORPORATE A PROGRESSION OF SKILL DEVELOPMENT FOR EVERY PARTICIPANT
Regardless of a player’s skill level, it is your responsibility as a coach to teach every kid on your team. It is no secret that if kids experience improvement in their skills, no matter what their athletic ability may be, they will continue to participate and return to learn more. Teach the skills in the proper order so you can continue to improve and build on each training session.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT
Following are some general observations of youth sports as stated in the Long Term Athlete
Young athletes under-train, over-compete; Low training to competition ratios in early years
Training in early years focuses on outcomes (winning) rather than processes (optimal training)
Poor training between 6-16 years of age cannot be fully corrected (athletes will never reach genetic potential)
The best coaches are encouraged to work at elite level;
Basically it takes 10,000 hours or 10,000 repetitions (Permanent Muscle Memory) to master a skill. With the ages of 9 – 12 being the most important for skill acquisition it is during this time period that the skills included in the specialty clinics need to be repeated consistently. To that end, the skills were chosen so that a coaching staff can work on these specific skills until a reasonable level of mastery is achieved and then move onto more advanced skills. The focus of this session is to provide examples of how to introduce drill progressions focusing on skill development and the use of small-sided games to re-enforce and develop player’s skills. These drills force the player to think in a game-like situation, fun, competitive environment.