U12 - PeeWee 3 Station Practice Plan #1

Practice Date: 
Saturday, July 25, 2020

Practice Length: 60 minutes

Drills: 
Finnish 5 Puck Progression
Length of Time: 
10 minutes
Station Number: 
Warm Up
3 on 2 Corner Passer Cross Ice Game
Length of Time: 
15 minutes
Station Number: 
1
Chase the Rabbit Series - With Pucks
Length of Time: 
15 minutes
Station Number: 
2
Swedish 2 vs 1 (Cross Ice)
Length of Time: 
15 minutes
Station Number: 
3
Three Zones

In this video, Ben Eaves explains a hockey activity and progression that is excellent for every age and skill level. The activity can be done with 3, 4 or 5 players at a time. The video above shows two groups going through the progression. Group # 1 consists of 4, U18 players and Group # 2 is made up of 5, U10 & U12 players.

The major concept of the Finnish 5 Puck is to practice dynamic decision making which will help players learn to play with their head up instead of staring at the puck while they work to memorize a drill. The initial activities are set up to warm up your hands and edges. From there, the activities become more complex as more decisions need to be made within the group. Each Activity encourages players to keep their head up, move to open space, and pass the puck by interacting with their teammates through verbal & non-verbal communication.

If you commit to working on activities like this instead of memorization drills for a portion of each practice, you will marvel at how your team begins to work together. It will look extremely messy at first, but players will get better with each repetition. Moving to open space, and moving the puck will eventually become second nature to the team.

SETUP & ACTIVITY VARIABLES

  • Players: great for 3, 4 or 5 players at a time.
  • Time: You can rotate through groups of players in 45 - 60 second shifts. 5 players can be participating in the activity, while another 5 rest. Blow the whistle and the next 5 jump in.
  • Space: can be set up to be within a zone, or half of a zone (station) or a smaller area. The smaller the space, the more challenging it will be for the players as they are forced to make quicker decisions.
  • Added Challenge: add obstacles within the space to challenge the players further. Tires, cones, sticks, etc placed in the space make it harder to pass and skate around. As time goes on the added obstacles will help improve their reaction & decision making.

Activity # 1: Forward Skating

The goal of this activity is to get players warmed up and comfortable with skating forward to open space with the puck. They should be keeping their head up so they do not run into anyone or any obstacles that are out in the playing area. Players can work on their edges, control turns, mohawk turns, dekes, changing pace and whatever their creative minds (and coaches) can think of!

Activity # 2: Backward Skating

The goal of this second activity is to get players comfortable with skating backwards with the puck to open space. Since players are skating backward, it is crucial that all players keep their head up and look over their shoulders at all times.

Activity # 3: Forehand Only Puck Control

In this activity, players can only stickhandle with their forehand. This encourages players to move their body around the puck. This will help with puck protection along with changing passing and shooting angles. Continue to encourage players to keep head up and move to open space!

Activity # 4: Pass 1 Puck

Now that everyone is warmed up, this is where the fun begins. Encourage players to use verbal and non-verbal communication to pass 1 puck around between the group of players in the activity. Do not let players stand still and pass back and forth. Call out for constant movement and to skate to open space. When players receive the puck, they should take a stride or two, have their head up, and make a pass to an open teammate.

Activity # 5: Pass 2 Pucks

Here we go! With two pucks it is even more critical to keep your head up and communicate. It is important for all players to have an idea of where both pucks are so they can be ready to receive a pass and be ready to make a pass without passing to someone who already has a puck.

Activity # 6: Pass 3 Pucks

With three pucks it is important to read your teammates and anticipate what they are going to do with the puck. If you don't pay attention, you end up receiving a pass you are not ready for, or you pass to someone who isn't looking.  Communicate verbally, pay close attention and read body language! 

Activity # 7: Pass 4 Pucks

This could be the hardest of all of the activities. It is important to stress patience with the puck in this round. If players do not pay attention they end up all passing to the one open player at once.  Keep your head up, be patient and pass when your teammate is ready to receive your pass. Do not rush. If you are the only player without a puck, make it clear with verbal communication who you want the puck from.

Activity # 8: Pass 5 Pucks

With 5 pucks (or 4 pucks with 4 people) it is important to communicate with eye contact and verbal queues. Do not attempt rink-wide or long passes at first. Short and subtle drop passes and slides work excellent in this activity.

Activity # 9: 4 vs 1

Now that everyone has been challenged with passing multiple pucks, it should be extremely easy to pass one puck and keep it away from a defender. Use all of the lessons learned above (moving to space, verbal and non-verbal communication) to make sure that the defender does not have a chance to touch the puck.

Activity # 10: 3 vs 2

3 on 2 will be an increasing challenge to play keep away, but with patience, puck protection and communication, the defenders should still not be able to get the puck.  

Added Competitive Challenge:

  • Group Challenge: After the group gets comfortable with the exercises, you can add a natural element of competition between the groups by counting the number of successful passes made in the passing activities. Or you can count the number of successful passes made in a row. Either of these can be a fun way to get each group to work harder by having them compete with each other and focus on getting open and making a good pass.
  • With a Goalie: when you are playing 4 on 1 or 3 on 2, if the team makes 5 passes in a row you can allow them to shoot on a goalie.

Coaching Points: 

  • Encourage players to always move to open space on the ice. Do not allow them to stand still and pass the puck back and forth.
  • Encourage verbal communication (calling teammate by name, saying you are open, etc).
  • Encourage non-verbal communication (good eye contact, showing a passing target, tapping a stick, etc).
  • Allow players to make mistakes. It will take time to get comfortable with these activities. But as time goes on you will see them picking their head up to make a decision, which is the goal of this progression.

If you are interested in more hockey activities which require more decision making, reading, and reacting then please check out this article which discusses 11 Activities for Youth Hockey Practice.

Related Content

Length of Time: 
10 minutes
Station Number: 
Warm Up

3 on 2 Corner Passer is a great variation of 3 on 3 cross ice. The set up is exactly like normal cross-ice 3 on 3. Place a net at each side, the coach in the middle on the blue line with pucks, and each team lined up along the blue line on each side of the coach.

The coach will dump a puck into the zone and three players from each team will compete for the loose puck. One player from each team must go to the corner below the goal line on their team's offensive side of the ice so the game turns into a 2 on 2. Teams must use their corner passer when they gain possession of the puck and get it back before they can score. The players can use their corner passer at any time.

Coaching Points

  • Stay on defensive side of puck when on defense.
  • Look to transition quickly off a turnover.
  • Move quickly without the puck.
  • Encourage corner passers to move the puck quickly and think about where they can pass the puck before they get it.
Length of Time: 
15 minutes
Station Number: 
1

This activity works on puck control while skating forwards and backwards, awareness, agility, and creativity. There are 4 progressions and each progression is slightly more difficult. The fourth progression should be reserved for advanced players.

Setup

This is a great station activity for 1/3 stations, 1/4 ice stations, and 1/6 ice stations. Depending on how difficult you wish to make it you can place objects like borders, cones, and tires scattered throughout the station. Pair up the players with partners of similar ability.

How to Play

In each round one player is designated as the "Rabbit" and is chased / followed by their partner. Each round should last 30 - 45 seconds followed by a short rest. The next round players will swap positions.

Variation #1 - The "rabbit" has the puck and tries to stay away from the chaser with deceptive moves, quick stop and starts, changes of directions, tight control turns, and any other creative moves they can execute. The chaser does not try to steal the puck, just maintain a close distance.

Variation #2 - Both players will have a puck. The same rules apply. The player chasing the rabbit tries to maintain a close distance and execute all of the moves made by the "Rabbit".

Variation #3 - The "Rabbit" skates backwards without a puck. The chaser has a puck and tries to maintain a close distance to the "Rabbit" while they skate backwards.

Variation #4 - Both the "Rabbit" and the chaser skate backwards with pucks. Requires both players to have awareness while maintaining puck control going backwards.

Length of Time: 
15 minutes
Station Number: 
2

This is a phenomenal drill in several ways. First, the concept of this drill can be used in many different areas of the ice. Secondly, it forces players to think 2 on 1's in tight spaces. Third, it includes a competitive aspect by rewarding the players who are successful.

To set up the drill create a square area with the players in two lines well outside the boxed area. The coach will also be outside the box without the pucks. Two offensive players and one defensive player go into to the playing area. Players should take turns playing offense and defense. The coach starts the drill by passing a puck to one of the offensive players. The players will play 2 vs 1 inside the playing area. The goal of the offensive players is to make 3 (or another number specified by the coach) consecutive passes. If they succeed then the player with the puck chooses a net to shoot at while the other offensive player looks for a pass from the coach and takes a shot on the other net. If the defensive player knocks the puck out of the playing area two times then they get a pass from the coach and take a shot on one of the goalies.

Coaching Points

  • Offensive players have to move without the puck.
  • Offensive players need to protect the puck until they can make a play and then expose the puck to make a pass.
  • Defensive players are most successful with active sticks and stop and starts. There really are no short cuts!
  • Have offensive players thinking "Pass & Move".
  • Give & gos are very successful in this game.

Progressions

  • Create a smaller "playing area" to make it tougher on the offense.
  • Vary the number of passes required for the offensive players.
  • Eventually, make the game 2 vs 2 or 3 vs 2.
Length of Time: 
15 minutes
Station Number: 
3