Ice Hockey Coaching Blog

Thursday, December 5th, 2019
The New IceHockeySystems.com Website
The team at IHS is proud to announce the unveiling of the updated IceHockeySystems.com website! If you have any questions or feedback for us, please contact us directly. The goal of the new site is to make it easier for coaches all over the globe to access, organize, create and share hockey content with their team. Below is a brief rundown of the recent updates: Mobile Improvements: The...
Thursday, November 7th, 2019
6 Small Area Hockey Games That Practice Decision Making
The talent of hockey players continues to rise. Players are quicker, faster and more skilled than ever before. However, one major training component that coaches often overlook is adding in activities that force players to practice their decision making. Below we give you 6 small area games where the "game" is the main teacher. The games are excellent for all...
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
6 Tips For Hockey Coaches to Maximize Practice
Not every practice is going to run smoothly and be perfect. But if you aim to make practice the best part of your players week and the best part of your week, great things will unfold throughout the season. Let’s face it, the cost of ice time is extremely expensive and it's on the rise. As a result, it is critical for organizations and coaches to work to make the most out of their time on the...
Thursday, December 12th, 2019
4 Drills To Practice Changing Your Shot Angle
As each season passes by, the science of goaltending continues to improve and evolve. This evolution has made it harder for players to simply fire a puck and hit the back of the net. Goaltender angles and movements are scientifically measured to reduce open areas of the net. The butterfly is commonplace and goalies of all age levels are able to track pucks with t-pushes and shuffles...
Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
Thank You Great Hockey Coaches
A great coach can positively impact a life, forever.  Being a great coach takes a lot of work, preparation, and patience. The Team at Ice Hockey Systems would like to thank all of the coaches out there who work hard to help their players improve on and off of the ice. Coaching can be challenging, but with the right mindset and dedication, it can be an extremely rewarding...
Friday, November 29th, 2019
36 Unique Hockey Skills That Can Be Practiced With A Simple Setup
Read below to view 36 fundamental skills that can be practiced with 5 cones on a small section of ice. Each skill works on a variety of edgework and puckhandling skills that can be applied in game situations. In the two videos below, Coach Ben Eaves demonstrates a wide variety of fundamental skills that were practiced in the beginning of his professional practices in...
Thursday, September 19th, 2019
Small Area Hockey Games And Benefits
Coaches, are you using small area games in your practices?  It is no secret that small area games are massively beneficial and coaches all over the globe are implementing them into their practices for a variety of reasons. They can help U6 beginner players learn the game of hockey and even help NHL pros keep their competitive edge during the Stanley Cup Finals....
Wednesday, August 7th, 2019
Off-Ice Stickhandling Tips and Exercises
Coaches! There is an infinite amount of ways to help your players improve their on-ice hockey game by working hard and having fun off of the ice. In this article, we are going to dive into 4 concepts and 8 tips to share with your players on how they can improve their on-ice puck control by developing an off-ice stickhandling routine. All of the exercises listed below can be done...
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
Off ice training program for hockey players - 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...
Thursday, March 7th, 2019
Full Ice 1-3-1 Ice Hockey 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...
Saturday, October 12th, 2019
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...
Sunday, August 25th, 2019
Young hockey players playing against each other.
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 to practice. If you run a variety of these activities on a regular basis you...
Thursday, November 9th, 2017
Hockey player backchecking
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...
Saturday, August 24th, 2019
Players on the bench at a bantam hockey tryout
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 (ages 14 and under).   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...
Thursday, August 22nd, 2019
3 Mile Mixer pre-season dryland hockey 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...
Thursday, August 8th, 2019
The Fartlek -  A Hockey Dryland & Off-Ice Training Workout
Increase Speed, Explosiveness and Endurance with the Fartlek Workout! Fartlek is Swedish for "Speed Play." It is an interval workout that mixes moderate and hard efforts with a recovery period. The variable intensity of the Fartlek Workout trains the aerobic and anaerobic systems which will help increase speed, power and endurance. This dryland workout is excellent for all hockey...
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
Heiden Circuit Leg Exercises 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....
Thursday, October 31st, 2019
1-3-1 Power Play Overview and Options
The 1-3-1 power play formation has become the go to power play system for most high level teams.  Almost every NHL team is using the 1-3-1, so there must be a reason. The reason? The 1-3-1 has the ability to spread players out inside the zone, keep a player in front of the net at all times, and place shooters in key positions.  Power play systems like the overload, umbrella...
Wednesday, May 10th, 2017
Boyle short handed goal
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...
Wednesday, May 10th, 2017
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...
Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
Youth hockey player carrying puck in small area game
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...
Friday, September 9th, 2016
Free Hockey Coaching Resources
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...
Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019
Angry parent at youth hockey tryouts
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...
Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
Sheary's Overtime Game Winning Goal in Stanley Cup
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...
Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
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...
Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
Denis Savard Shows his Blackhawk Stanley Cup Ring from 2015
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...
Thursday, July 18th, 2019
4 Week Off-Ice Summer Hockey Workout Program
If players commit to this 4-Week Summer Training Program, they will see an increase in their strength, power, and speed. The program below consists of great hockey specific exercises and no weights or gym membership is required!  There are 4 workouts scheduled for 4 different days of the week, along with Thursday being a dedicated off-ice stickhandling & recovery...
Thursday, August 22nd, 2019
5 Tryout Hockey Drills for Young Hockey Players
Below we dive into 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 higher level tryout and that the drills in this post should be used to evaluate specific skills, compete level and...
Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
Skates and Gloves
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...
Friday, December 15th, 2017
yale hockey arena
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...
Saturday, October 20th, 2018
Russian Hockey Player with Puck
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...
Friday, December 15th, 2017
hockey coach with kids
“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... “...
Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
Hockey Coach
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...
Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
denis savard
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...
Monday, September 18th, 2017
Youth 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...
Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
Offensive Zone Entry
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...
Monday, January 23rd, 2017
Buffalo State Goal Celebration
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...
Saturday, August 17th, 2019
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...
Thursday, October 24th, 2019
Hockey Player Doing a Racing Drill
There is an old school 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...
Thursday, November 9th, 2017
Transition and speed hockey drills
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...
Friday, December 15th, 2017
Ice Hockey Power Play Diagram
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...
Thursday, January 3rd, 2019
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...
Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
Summer Hockey
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...