's Best of 2020

IHS Best Hockey Drills and Games of 2020

The team at IHS would like to thank all of our members and hockey coaches around the world for your support in 2020.

Let's be honest, 2020 was tough for everyone, even the world of hockey. Rinks and leagues across the world were shut down overnight. Seasons canceled or cut short. Parents and fans unable to watch in person. The uncertainty, unexpected challenges, and adversity impacted everyone. Some more than others.

Even though 2020 looked very different than most years, the end of the year is always a good time to reflect on what went well and didn't (as a coach and in life). Even just taking 5 minutes to write out a list of 5 highlights and 5 lowlights from 2020 will be beneficial. It will help you start the new year by appreciating the silver linings of 2020 along with acknowledging the tough times and areas to improve upon. This list can help you set goals for the New Year. 

Below, we took the time to reflect on IHS's 20 Silver Linings of 2020: They include 5 IHS Software Updates, 10 Drills, Games & Content Highlights and 5 Contributor Highlights. Thank you all for your support and feedback this year. Cheers to a Happy & Healthy 2021!

Top 5 Software Updates of 2020:

1) IHS Launches New Free Digital Drawing Tool

On September 17th IHS launched our FREE digital drawing tool. Our goal was to make it simple and accessible to anyone that wanted to use it (member or non-member). We have been overwhelmed by the response to it. If you have been following along, you have seen new improvements rolled out every month. We plan to continue to improve this software and if you have any suggestions on it please let us know!

This tool allows coaches to easily draw and download drills, face-off plays, systems and more. The drawing tool can be used on any device and you do not need a membership to start drawing.

If you are an IHS Member, you do get extra benefits: you can save and organize an unlimited amount of drawings in your IHS account. IHS Members can also add videos to their drawings, go back and edit them, add them to practice plans and share them with their team. Try our drawing tool today!

2) IHS Members Can Upload Videos From Any Device or Web

The world has A LOT of great hockey content. Dozens of websites, hundreds of books, thousands of images, and a daily flood of new content on YouTube, Instagram and other social media channels. Plus, you have your own ideas, saved drills, PDFs and recommendations from your organization. What do you do with all of it?

Next time you find a great piece of content, don't just continue scrolling and forget about it. We have a better idea: save, organize and share it! You can add the following content types to your IHS account:

  • IHS Drawings
  • Videos From YouTube, Vimeo & Instagram
  • Your Own Video Files (from any device)
  • Photos & PDFs

Learn more about uploading content to your account.

3) IHS Members Can Add Age Levels & Categories to Drills

With coaches adding many drawings and videos to their account, we wanted to make sure that coaches could easily organize their content for easy reference.

In the video above we show how coaches can easily add an age group or a category to a specific drill so it can be looked up quickly in the future. From there, you can edit the drill, add it to a practice plan and/or share it with your team.

4) IHS Members Can Publicly Share Practice Plan URLs

Many coaches are already sharing drills & practice plans with their teams privately through Team Access, but we wanted coaches to have the ability to create a shareable URL that could be shared quickly with anyone.

Watch the video above to see how you create a shareable URL for your practice plan. This link can be shared via email, text messaging, social media or other team apps. Watch the video above to see how easy it is to create a shareable URL. It is as easy as a click of a button! Learn more about this URL sharing feature. You can share practice plans and drills like this!

5) Updated Downloadable PDF Options for Drills and Practice Plans

One of our most requested features in 2020 was improving our downloading and printing capabilities. Many members wrote in and offered great suggestions on formats that would be beneficial to them. Thank you for all of your suggestions!

As a result of your feedback, we knew we needed to provide a few options for practice plans and drills. As you can see in the images above, each coach can select 3 different drill printing formats and 3 different practice plan printing formats. You can also customize the text that is included in your PDFs. Just click on the "Print / Download" button next to any drill or practice plan to see this feature in action!

Top 10 Content Highlights From 2020:

6) Most Viewed Blog Post - 12 Fun Hockey Drills & Games to Shake Up Practice

Our most popular blog post of 2020 was 12 Fun Hockey Drills & Games to Shake Up Practice (& Bring Out Smiles). With the state of the 2020 hockey world, this came as no surprise. Coaches and teams that were lucky to have ice time in 2020 had more practice time than ever before and less games or tournaments.

Because of this, coaches wanted to make sure that their practices were fun, engaging and filled with surprises. The blog post above gives coaches just that. We jam-packed an article with ways to creatively engage your team. We discuss soccer balls, small area games, relay races, skills competitions, mini-tournaments and so much more. We would encourage coaches to use that article even when the pandemic is over. If players love coming to practice, great things will happen! Click on the image above to view 12 Fun Hockey Drills & Games!

7) Most Watched Skill Development Video - Finnish Skills Series

Our most popular skill video for the second year in a row is the Finnish Skill Series by Ben Eaves.

In the video above, Coach Eaves shows a variety of skills that can be practiced with a simple setup. Running through a few of these skills at the start of every practice helps players dial in their muscle memory and learn new stickhandling and edgework maneuvers. As time goes on it is important that players strive to perform these skills at speed and with their heads up!

These skills can be done alone, with a small group, or a full team. To learn more about the Finnish Skill Series, view 36 Skils That Can Be Practiced With A Simple Setup.

8) Most Popular Skill Breakdown - Winger Breakout Habits

In 2020, we launched a new section on our site called Skill Breakdowns. The section breaks down high-end skills by showing videos of the skill being performed in a game along with drills to practice the skill.

One of the best ways a coach can help a player develop is to tell them why they are learning a specific skill or doing a particular drill. You can expedite a player's understanding of any skill by showing them a video clip and discuss why the skill was used. We currently have 14 skill breakdowns and our most popular breakdown of 2020 was Winger Breakdown Habits from Topher Scott.

9) Most Popular Off-Ice Workout - 4 Week Off-Ice Program for Youth Hockey Players

With so many rinks closed throughout the year, it is no surprise that the 4 Week Off-Ice Workout Program For Youth Hockey Players was referenced throughout the year. The workout is filled with bodyweight exercises, off-ice stickhandling tips and a printable calendar, it is easy for coaches to learn (or modify) and for kids to follow. View the 4 Week Workout Program here.

Pro Tip: if you do not have access to a rink, all players should work to develop an off-ice stickhandling routine. Make it crazy fun by blasting music or podcasts. Practice stickhandling and keeping your head up just 10-15 minutes a day. One of the best skills any player can learn is the ability to stickhandle with their head up. Click to view tips on how to create an off-ice stickhandling routine

10) Most Popular Small Area Game - Picket Fences 2v2 or 3v3 Game

Picket Fences is a great small area hockey game that can be setup as a 1v1, 2v2, or 3v3. The offensive team gets 2 points for scoring a goal and the defensive team gets 1 point by skating the puck between the tires. The great thing about this game is that it gives the defensive team a "goal" of skating the puck between the tires instead of just defending their own net and chipping the puck out. This slight change in the game encourages both forwards and defencemen to work hard and score points for their team!  View details of Picket Fences here.

Runner Up: The Gates of Buffalo was the most popular small area game last year and a close second between Picket Fences. Take a look at Gates of Buffalo Small Area Game if you have not already. 

Also to note, we added 45+ new small area games to our drill database in 2020. View more small area games.

11) Most Viewed Hockey Drill - Continuous One Touch Shooting Drill

The Continuous One Touch Shooting Drill was our most viewed drill of 2020. It is a good half-ice hockey drill that works on one-touch passing, transitions, quick shots, and following shots to the net. Click to view drill details.

12) Most Popular Members Only Small Area Game - The Greatest Drill In The World

A fun 3v3 small area game that adds 2 coaches (or players) to the outside of the playing surface. The team with the puck can use the extra coaches or players that are on the outside of the playing area as outlets, so the team with the puck is on a 5 on 3. The players and coaches loved this drill so much that it was renamed to "The Greatest Drill In The World."

13) Most Popular Members Only Battle Drill - Three Gates 1 vs 1 vs 1

This game allows players to work on battling in tight areas, awareness, angling and puck protection. To play, a coach will chip a puck into the zone. One player from each team (a total of three players) will go battle for the puck. The players are trying to carry the puck through one of the "gates" that are set up in the zone. Every time a player carries it through a "gate" they get one point for their team. The players cannot carry it through the same gate two times in a row. Players that are watching should cheer for their team. 

14) Most Viewed Drill Category - Half-Ice Hockey Drills

Many teams share practice time, so it is valuable to break up the ice into half-ice sections or stations so coaches can work on a variety of skills, drills and small area games at once. View 200+ half-ice hockey drills.

15) Most Viewed Social Post - Paint Scoring Drill From NewEdge Hockey

The Paint Scoring Drill is a drill that is setup to help players dial in reaction time around the net. They focus on shooting 3 pucks using wrist / snap shots, backhands, and one-timers. View the post on Facebook (with over 200k views) and tag a coach if you like it. You can also view Paint Scoring Drill on IHS if you would like to save it or add it to your practice plan. 

16) Most Viewed IHS Practice Plan - U12 Practice Plan # 1 

A practice plan with a warm-up, breakout practice, overspeed races and a scoring game to finish. View the U12 Practice Plan or click here to view additional IHS Practice Plans.

Top Collaboration Highlights From 2020:

A thank you to Ben Eaves, Denis Savard, Topher Scott, Dwayne BlaisNewEdge Hockey, Next Generation HKY, Hockey Coach Vision,, Mountain High Hockey and The Goalie Guild for helping us improve our coaching content. The team at IHS is thankful for your collaborations and we know the hockey world is thankful as well. 

17) Culture Corner With Topher Scott

The Culture Corner video series is powered by The Hockey Think Tank and Topher Scott. These videos provide organizations, coaches and players valuable lessons on how to develop and maintain a successful culture on and off the ice. The videos include lessons on the following topics:

  • Accountability
  • Competitiveness and Work Ethic
  • Connection
  • Goal Setting
  • Identity
  • Locker Room
  • Ownership
  • The Present Moment
  • Resiliency
  • Team Building

Start watching The Culture Corner videos.

18) Dwayne Blais Improve Your Skating Skill Videos

Proper skating technique is crucial for player development and is often improperly taught or overlooked, especially at the younger age levels.

Many coaches struggle with teaching proper techniques and how to identify and fix skating issues their players may be facing. Dwayne Blais and the team at NSDA tackled this issue head on and developed the most comprehensive skating videos we have seen. In a new partnership with IHS, NSDA has kindly shared 20 skating videos that break down and deconstruct the proper skating techniques for hockey players. View The Skating Videos Here.

19) Added New Drills & Games From Contributors

In 2020, the contributors below added new content that works on a variety of skills to the IHS website. Click on the links below to see what was added.

20) Thank You IHS Members & Supporters

Thank YOU for supporting us. For everyone that took the time to email us, comment on a social post, direct message us or fill out a questionnaire, we truly thank you. Your feedback (both positive and negative) helps us learn, grow and improve IHS.

We would love to hear from you in 2021! If you have any other suggestions for us, please contact us here. Let us know what you want to see in the new year. What software updates, content, collaborations or ideas do you think we should add to our site? We have LOTS of exciting features and content planned but we would love to hear what else is important to you. Let us know so we can work to make it happen. 

Time to turn the page on 2020. Cheers to a Happy & Healthy New Year! Hope to see you all back on the ice soon! 

- The IHS Team 

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