3 Puck 3 On 3

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The 3 Puck 3 on 3 Drill from Ryan Donald is an excellent drill that helps players and teams work on defensive zone concepts like down low coverage and point coverage. In this drill, there are 3 whistles and 3 pucks that help create 3 unique in-zone situations. The details of the drill is listed below.


  • The players are set up in one-half of a zone as shown. There will be 2 forwards and one defenceman on the offensive team (red in the diagram above) and 2 defencemen and 1 forward on the defense (blue in the diagram above).
  • A handful of pucks are in the corner close to the boards.
  • Whistle # 1: on the first whistle, a 2 on 2 starts out of the corners. The players battle for 8 - 10 seconds as the forwards try to score a goal.
  • Whistle # 2: on the second whistle, the forwards grab a new puck out of the corner and the defenceman at the point becomes active and so does the strong side winger that is covering the point. The defenseman at the point can move around but they must remain at the blueline. The players battle for another 8 - 10 seconds before the last whistle is blown.
  • Whistle # 3: on the third whistle, the forwards retrieve a new puck out of the corner and the drill becomes a full on 3 on 3 because the defenseman at the point can now go anywhere they want to on the ice. The play can continue an additional 10-15 seconds until the forwards score, the defense breaks the puck out or the coach blows a whistle.
  • Variations: You can allow the 3 on 3 to be played in the full zone, or you can wall off or cone off 1/3 of the zone (as pictured in the diagram) to force the players to only use one side of the ice.

Coaching Points:

  • Defense
    • Defensemen: keep sticks on the ice and work to keep forwards contained in the corners.
    • Strong Side Forward: keep stick on the ice to negate passes to the point. Scan the ice to see where the puck is and the point man is at all times. 
  • Forwards
    • Protect the puck and work to create time and space.
    • Use the boards to bank a pass if no direct pass is available. 

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