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. Finding a list of hockey drills that have a good mixture of work and fun is crucial, and having a an overall plan for your summer sessions will help the players get the most out of their summer sessions.
Take inventory of your players
When you have a good idea of the skill levels involved it will help you organize the practices. This may lead to split ice sessions so that players are practicing with other players who are at a similar skill level. In addition to the age levels, try to get a good idea of the individual players strengths and weaknesses. The summer is a great time to tackle the weaknesses so knowing what many of the players need to work on will be a great benefit. Rather than having a pre-determined structure, allow some flexibility so that your players will get the most out of your hockey practices.
Use appropriate hockey drills
The hockey drills you choose to use at practice should be appropriate for the skill level and should give each player ample time to develop these core fundamentals. I think most people agree that skating is the most important fundamental for young hockey players. Make sure to plan for enough time every session to work on skating and make sure it is consistent throughout your summer sessions. Here are a list of helpful skating drills.
Organize practice for work and fun
The last thing you want to do is make summer sessions boring. If kids know they are going to be working on power skating with no pucks for the majority of the time their interest level will be low. It is a balance between work and fun. One way is to start and end the session with a game or drill you know they will love. If you do it at the start if the practice the players will do everything they can not to be late because they don’t want to miss the fun. Another fun hockey drill or game at the end of practice will leave them wanting to come back for more.