Ice Hockey Coaching Blog

Off ice training program for hockey players - Part #1

Off Ice Training Program For Speed, Power, and Agility - Part #1

The exercises and training program outlined below are designed to help hockey players increase their speed, agility, and power. It is appropriate for Midget, High School, Junior, College, and Pro level players. Please do not use this training program on Bantam (U14) age level or lower. It is a twelve week program divided into 4 sections of 3 weeks with 3 workout days per week. This first part...
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Full Ice 1-3-1 Ice Hockey System

Full Ice 1-3-1 System

Do you ever question why hockey is played with 3 forwards and 2 defenseman? Is that the optimal line-up for every team? Other sports seem to have more variations in their formations so maybe the typical 3 forwards and 2 defense is not the optimal formation for all teams. For example, soccer uses all sorts of formations depending on the strength of your team, the strength of the other team, or a...
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Improve Your Game With 6 Puck Protection Drills

What would happen if you were given an extra 1 to 5 seconds to make a play every single time you touched the puck? Your game would INSTANTLY transform. You would be able to create more passing and shooting options while giving your teammates extra time to become outlets. Many younger players and coaches ONLY focus on advanced stickhandling drills instead of basic puck protection...
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Young hockey players playing against each other.

11 Warm Up Activities & Drills for Youth Hockey Practice

The first 10 - 15 minutes of practice is crucial for setting the tempo and getting players warmed up and engaged. The activities below are great for starting youth practices because they keep players moving, work on fundamentals, create competition, and increase the excitement level of players as you begin practice. If you run a variety of these activities on a regular basis you will a lot of...
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Hockey player backchecking

Hockey Backchecking: Situations and Responsibilities for Each Player

Players are always taught to backcheck hard, in fact, more often then not players that don't backcheck hard are quickly escorted to the end of the bench for a while (depending on the coach). Backchecking hard is only half of the equation.  Teaching players to backcheck effectively is just as important. Not all situations are the same and therefore players should be taught to recognize and...
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Players on the bench at a bantam hockey tryout

Two Day Hockey Tryout Plan for Bantams

This article is written in response to a question asked by one of our members.  They asked if we had recommendations for a selection of drills that would be good for a Bantam tryout.  The tryout is two days long and they would like to evaluate skills early in the tryout and move into game play as the tryout progressed.  Rather than just reply to one member we thought it might be...
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3 Mile Mixer pre-season dryland hockey workout

3 Mile Mixer Pre-Season Dryland Training Workout

The three mile mixer is a workout specifically for hockey players.  It is great for hockey players looking to increase their leg strength, stamina, aerobic, and anaerobic capability. This workout consists of 12 skating specific exercises done in intervals with a quarter mile jog between each exercise.  Below you will find a link and an embedded video for each exercise. There is also a...
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The Fartlek -  A Hockey Dryland & Off-Ice Training Workout

The Fartlek - A Hockey Dryland & Off-Ice Training Workout

Fartlek is Swedish for "Speed Play." This dryland training off-ice workout, specifically for hockey players, if committed to once a week throughout the summer (12 weeks) will translate to an increase in speed, more explosiveness, and more endurance.  This program should be combined with other off-ice leg programs so that players are doing leg exercises at least three times per week....
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Heiden Circuit Leg Exercises for Hockey Players

Heiden Circuit - Dryland Training for Hockey Players

The Heiden Circuit is based off of a series of leg workouts that Eric Heiden used during his prime as one of the most accomplished Olympic Speed Skaters ever. Hockey players have also found a lot of success with these workouts and many of the pro, junior, and college players are using them today.  These leg exercises are very specific to the athletic movements of the skating stride....
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1-3-1 Power Play Options

1-3-1 Power Play - 5 Options

The 1-3-1 power play formation has become the go to power play system for most high level teams.  Just about every NHL team is using it so there must be a reason.  Power play systems like the overload, umbrella, set pick plays, etc... can be effective until the other team knows how to play against them.  The 1-3-1 formation allows teams a myriad of options and allows teams to...
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Boyle short handed goal

Cut to the Middle on Off-Hand

This video demonstrates a progression of drills that all lead up to this effective offensive skill.  It is a goal scoring skill that combines inside edges and a quick shot release.  The Off-Hand Pull and Push is an effective skill for zone entry as well as changing the angle of the shot.   Here are a series of drills that break down this skill element by element.  It starts...
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Online Tools for Youth Hockey Coaches

Online Tools for Youth Hockey Coaches

The availability of free online resources for hockey coaches has become somewhat overwhelming in the past few years.  The amount of knowledge and effort for which anyone can post drill diagrams or publish videos has become so easy that the internet is flooded with more content than any coach could dream of using.  Ice Hockey Systems alone has over 500 animated hockey drills and...
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Youth hockey player carrying puck in small area game

WHOLE-PART-WHOLE Practice Philosophy

The Whole-Part-Whole practice philosophy is a practice structure that is different from the more traditional progressive practice structure. It may not be applicable to all age and skill levels and it is up to the coach or director to decide if it is appropriate for their team.  The logic behind the Whole-Part-Whole method is based off of how kids learn when it is completely up to them. It...
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Free Hockey Coaching Resources

5 Resources Every Hockey Coach and Director Should Utilize

Ice Hockey Systems has put together a list of free and paid resources that will help advance hockey coaches, players and directors for the upcoming season. Leverage these resources to improve your coaching, your players will thank you for it. 1. Free Hockey Resources Page This page is the perfect tool for any coach that is on the go and needs instant access to drills, systems, practice...
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Angry parent at youth hockey tryouts

Youth Hockey Tryouts: Selecting A Team By Committee

Tryouts are a stressful times for players, coaches, and directors More often than not there is a lot of grey area when it comes the the last few players selected for a team.  Every year directors and coaches have to face the angry parents whose son or daughter did not make their desired team and are accused of selecting the team before tryouts,  picking kids whose parents have more...
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Sheary's Overtime Game Winning Goal in Stanley Cup

The Face-Off Play that Won Game 2

It doesn’t get much better than scoring an overtime winner in the Stanley Cup finals.  That’s exactly what Conor Sheary did last night.  The goal was scored off a set face-off play that was executed perfectly.  There are a lot of moving pieces and timing is critical, but below is a breakdown of exactly how the Penguins executed the play and took a 2-0 series lead. Crosby (Center...
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Interview with Denis Savard

Interview with Denis Savard

Listen on Soundcloud 1. (0:25) What’s your earliest memory playing hockey? 2. (1:22) Why do you think hockey is the greatest game in the world? 3. (2:36) What's your first memory in the NHL, being drafted by the Blackhawks? 4. (4:00) What's your most memorable goal in your NHL career? 5. (4:40) How’d you pull off the spin-o-rama and what was the process behind it? 6. (6:17) What...
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Denis Savard Shows his Blackhawk Stanley Cup Ring from 2015

IHS Blueprint Webinar with Denis Savard

We had a great time today sitting down with Hall of Famer Denis Savard. In the webinar Denis not only shows off the latest Stanley Cup ring, he also discusses keys to breakouts and power play breakouts.  In addition to discussing the systems he also offers up some great drills to compliment these systems. Chris Howard (Ice Hockey Systems President) gives a quick overview of IHS and some...
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4 Week Summer Off Ice Summer Hockey Workout Program

4 week Summer Off-Ice Program for Youth Hockey Players

The summer is almost here and the kids will have more time to do nothing... if they want.  Young players who want to get ahead may want to consider committing to a good off-ice program that will help them leap frog their competition.  The program below consists of a lot of great hockey specific exercises and no weights are required.  There are four workouts scheduled for four...
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5 Tryout Hockey Drills for Young Hockey Players

5 Drills Your Hockey Tryout Should Include

Now that we have gone over how to set the tone for hockey tryouts and how to structure your hockey tryout  we want to give you 5 drills that are great for evaluating your players at tryouts. This segment will focus on 5 hockey drills that will allow you to look for crucial elements in both the skill and compete level of each player. Remember that a scrimmage is an absolute must for any...
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Skates and Gloves

Invent The Game

If you’re looking for a great summer read try Ken Dryden’s book The Game, which is part autobiography, part hockey manifesto. I find the book interesting because Dryden’s hockey journey was like few others. In the middle of a hall of fame career he takes a year off to finish his law degree when the Canadians refuse to offer him a solid contract. Another unique fact regarding Dryden involves him...
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yale hockey arena

Creating Time and Space

With ten active players on the ice, a regulation ice sheet of 200’ x 85’ and with just four or five shifts per period that last less than a minute, where do players find extra time and space when playing? In this blog I will discuss skills and tactics players use to gain strategic advantage by managing or developing time and finding and creating space. Extra time and space on the ice...
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Russian Hockey Player with Puck

Start Practice with 6 Progressive Over-Speed Hockey Drills

Overspeed hockey drills are ones that force players to move their feet faster than what they are comfortable with.  When you are looking for a high tempo practice then starting the practice with a series of overspeed drills can be a good idea. Depending on the type of practice you envision you most likely have a bank of drills that you call upon.  I typically like to gear the...
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hockey coach with kids

Providing Feedback - Ice Hockey Coach's Toolbox

“Yup, he’s lost the room! ...they just aren’t listening to him anymore...”. As students of the game we have all heard these phrases describing a situation where a coach and his struggling team are failing to communicate. Often these coaches, who once held their player’s attention and focus with every word, no longer appear to understand one another. Performance is lost and as Mr. Trump says... “...
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Hockey Coach

How to Structure your Hockey Tryout

Having a well structured tryout will give you the best chance to put together a team that you are confident in. You never want to leave tryouts with a sense of doubt and you never want good players to leave tryouts thinking they didn’t get a fair shot. This segment will provide advice on the best ways to structure an efficient hockey tryout so you are able to get a good evaluation and...
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denis savard

Setting the Tone for Tryouts

Within the coming weeks and months hockey tryouts will be taking place all over the world. It’s an exciting time for any coach and their program, but as I experienced first-hand it can also bring stress, frustration and second guessing. The way you run your tryout can set the tone for the rest of the season. A well run tryout can set your program on the path to success, but a poorly run tryout...
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Youth Hockey Tryout

How to Run a Successful Hockey Tryout

“364 more days until next year’s tryouts – I gotta toughen up.”  That famous line from Happy Gilmore rang through my head the day after my tryouts in 2007.  I did not bring my A-game, something wasn’t right, I didn’t have the intensity or energy that I needed, I disappointed them.  I didn’t fall all over the ice or complain about the net being regulation size, hell I didn’t even...
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Offensive Zone Entry

Establish Puck Possession in the Offensive Zone

The blue line is the most strategic area of the ice.  Gain the blue line with possession and you can generate scoring chances.  If you hold the blue line and force the other team to give up possession you will give up less scoring chances.  Here are a couple of ways to attack the blue line and maintain possession in the offensive zone. Strong side soft chips This play can be...
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Buffalo State Goal Celebration

Working on the Goal Scorer's Touch

The ability to get the puck off the stick and on net is a skill reserved for goal scorers.  So many young players want to take that extra stick handle, and in doing so spoil their scoring opportunity.  Examples of both were evident in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. Take Daugavins play in overtime of Game 1 in the Cup Finals for example.  Instead of releasing right away, one too many...
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Three very small area games

Three very small area games

The ADM model set forth by USA hockey and their endorsement for small area games has made this term much more popular among youth hockey coaches, especially here in the United States.  There are a wealth of games that are great fun and great for development and I think it is important to choose games that are relevant to your purpose.  The small area games listed below focus on tight...
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Hockey Player Doing a Racing Drill

Integrate races into hockey drills

There is a mentality that you have to line the players up and do skating drills for 20 - 30  minutes to get your team in shape.  However, have you ever lined up two players on the goal line, places a puck at center ice, and said "go"?  Just watch as the competitive nature of your players brings the intensity to a new level.  The hockey drills on this page are just a few...
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Transition and speed hockey drills

Several hockey drills for transitioning and attacking with speed

Planning for a small private session is tough sometimes because there are so many thing to work on and so many good hockey drills available.  An hour never seems like enough time. In these sessions it is helpful to pick out a particular skill and choose only drills that compliment this skill.  The hockey drills outlined below are geared for an hour long session and focus on...
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Ice Hockey Power Play Diagram

Hockey Drills for a Power Play Practice

A hockey practice that focues on the power play is not to be confused with a practice where you play power play versus penalty kill for the entire practice.  There are lots of drills that focus on skill sets that can be used while leading up to a power play scrimmage.  Some of the key points of emphasis on the power play are puck possession, timing, shot selection, moving away from the...
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hockey drills for private sessions

3 great hockey drills for private sessions

It can be tricky to come up with unique, usefull, and fun hockey drills to use in a summer session where you only have a couple of players.  These are hockey drills you can pass along to players to do at stick and puck as well.  Two people are required for each one of these hockey drills because of they all incorporate lots of passing.  The diagrams for each hockey drill are at the...
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Summer Hockey

A plan for summer sessions

Planning hockey practices for summer sessions are much different than planning for a mid-season practice.  During the season it is typical to focus on more team concepts, especially at the higher levels.  During the summer the goal should be to improve the skill set of the individuals while giving them a taste of fun and excitement that will have them yearning for hockey season to start...
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