U8 Skating Stations - Skill & Games
U8 Skating Stations - Skill & Games
This practice utilizes four stations for the bulk of the session to develop skating fundamentals for balance, posture, edge control and change of direction.
Key Coaching Points:
- Heads Up, Eyes Up - Remind players to constantly be looking around the ice, aware of where opposing players are and where there is open space
- Knee Bend - Encourage a deep knee bend in order for players to feel more comfortable on their edges, working on tight turns and quick change of direction
- FUN - These drills all encourage a multitude of skill development, but all focus around fun, teamwork, and competition
- Warm Up (10-min) - Halfway Around the World - Head On
- Stations x 4 (8-10min/station)
- Freeze Tag (10-min)
Half Way Around The World - Head On
The Half Way Around The World (Head On) Drill is set up to encourage players to KEEP THEIR HEAD UP as they navigate moving obstacles (the oncoming team).
Coaches, it is important to make sure that your players perform this drill with their head up, or else there will be some head-on collisions. Below we discuss variations that can be utilized to make this activity easier or harder (depending on the age & skill level of your players). This drill is NOT A RACE, but an activity to encourage players to keep their head up so they can develop their on-ice awareness.
- Spilt the team up in half with pucks in the corners.
- Place one net above the blue line and the other one above the crease (so there is more room behind the net).
- On the whistle, both corners skate "Half Way Around The World" and go head-on around the nets 2 times.
- Coaches could only have 5 skaters go at a time from each corner, or have the whole team go (the more skaters, the harder the drill is).
- After players get a few reps going Half Way Round The World, coaches can progress to Half Way Around The World - with Figure 8's, so that the players have to be even more aware as they cross into the center of the ice.
- HEAD-UP: Players NEED to keep their heads up or else they can run the risk of a big collision.
- NOT A RACE: Players should know this is NOT A RACE - it is an exercise to build awareness and practice stickhandling with their head up!
- Can modify the skating space (larger spaces make it easier, smaller spaces make it harder).
- Can modify the number of players (less players make it easier, more players make it more complex).
- Can add additional obstacles players need to skate around (coaches, static players, cones, etc).
- Can modify the speed and pace that players are skating at (really skilled players should be able to go at higher speeds speed).
- Can require players to skate in a Figure 8 pattern (see diagram below) so they cross the opposing team an extra time and need to be more aware.
U8 Station Practice
4 Stations - roughly 8-10min per station
- Obstacle Course Tag
- Sharks & Minnows
- Tennis Ball Hockey
- Tight Turns & Stops with Puck
Partner Tag Obstacle Course
Set up 2 small "obstacle courses" using divider pads and nets/mini nets. Players partner up for games of tags, but they are limited to a small area and use of the objectives to avoid being tagged.
One of the greatest traditions in all of youth sports could be the traditional game of Freeze Tag. The reason this game is great for the Mite / Novice age level is because is requires players to use awareness, edges, stop & starts, and agility. Designate new players for each round or have the coaches be all time "IT".
This game can be played on quarter ice stations, third ice stations, and sixth ice stations. It depends on the number of players. For 10 - 15 players the quarter ice and third ice station sizes work well. Less thean that then the sixth ice station size works well.
This game can be expanded to be played in one full zone.