U14 - Puck Protection
U14 - Puck Protection
This practice plans is a skill-based practiced focused on the technical and tactical application on Puck Protection skills in various 1v1, 2v1 and 2v2 situations. These drills can all be modified to add an element of a "next play" where in the moments after the puck protection, player and puck movement can be added to mimic another game-like situation.
"Cut the Hands" is a phrase used to describe a moment where the puck carrier skates towards/through the defender's triangle (hands and stick) in order to gain body position and space, while forcing the defender into a disadvantageous position.
*Main focus is players keeping head up and scanning the ice for open space, Coaches can add pressure in the NZ
**Could have players try to hit opposing players pucks away, work on puck protection, scanning ice, finding open space
X1/X2/X3 all leave with puck and must stay in between the blue lines controlling their puck keeping it away from other players
- 1st whistle, X1 skates towards their line passes to next player in line, receives pass back and drives in for shot
- 2nd whistle, X2 skates towards their line passes to next player in line, receives pass back and drives in for shot
- 3rd whistle, X3 skates towards their line passes to next player in line, receives pass back and drives in for shot
Two nets on goal line - 6 players skating in the middle, 3 players shoot on their respective sides. A great warm-up drill to ensure players' eyes are up and they're constantly scanning for open space and cues from other players.
Cutting Hands - Partner Pressure
This is a puck protection series that involves three variations. Please refer to the video and the diagram for the set up of the variations. The overall concept is to have players protecting the puck using their body and hand positions. A few of the focal points for players include:
- inside leg needs to trust and rely on the outside edge.
- inside leg should lead the player into the turn to help protect the puck.
- make sure hands are positioned so that the stick blade is closed as they make the tight turn so the puck does not roll of the end of the blade.
These are skill focused reps so be sure to have players gets plenty of feel-reps and offer feedback and corrections as needed.
Puck Protection - Surround Puck
This puck protection drill can be done in one of the circles. To set it up place two players on opposite sides of the circle facing each other. One player will be designated as the puck protector. Place the puck closer to the puck protector to give them a slight advantage. On the whistle both players battle for the puck. As you see in the video the puck protector should take care the defender's stick and use their body to surround the puck. The puck protector works to keep the puck in the circle. Allow the players to battle until the puck protector looses possession of the puck.
2 to 1 Puck Protection Drill
An excellent drill to work on puck protection. The setup is simple, two offensive players and one defensive player in the circle. The goal is for the offensive players to skate around and work on protecting the puck with moves, their body and stick. The goal for the defensive player is to knock the pucks out of the circle. The drill stops if the defenceman knocks out both pucks or if the coach blows the whistle. If the defenceman are knocking the pucks away too easily, you can have the defense flip their stick. The drill is good to switch forwards and defenceman and allow players to get reps at both sides.
Make at least 1 additional circle with tires
3 x 1 v 1's to 3 v 3
This drill from Coach Alyssa Gagliardi starts out with three 1 vs. 1's taking place at the same time and on the whistle, a 3 vs. 3 game begins. The drill can be full ice (as shown in the video), or modified to be half-ice.
- The drill starts out with three 1v1s happening at the same time in the neutral zone. Players are encouraged to practice different puck protection skills, with the main focus on being "cutting the hands" of the defender. Cut the hands is a puck protection move where you skate into a defender's extended stick position to protect the puck and limit their ability to take the puck, while also allowing you to see options on the ice.
- Players play out their respective 1v1s for 10-20 seconds. On the whistle, the coach throws a new puck in a different area of the ice, and players must assess the situation and play 3v3 full-ice. Play it out for 15-30 seconds.
- Starting Setup: This drill can be set up in any zone or limited space to establish different spatial awareness, transition patterns, and communication.
- Half-Ice: For half-ice practices, start the drill with 3 x 1v1's in a small area in one zone. Have one outlet player for each team located just outside of the blue line. On the whistle, the coach throws in a new puck and the 3 vs. 3 begins. Teams must first pass to their outlet player before they can play offense and try to score. When you are on offense you can use your outlet at anytime. View the half-ice diagram below.
Double Gates Activation Game
The Double Gates Activation Game from Coach Alyssa Gagliardi is a competitive small area game that starts out as a 1 on 1 and becomes a 2 on 1 after a player skates through one of the gates. This can also be modified to be a 2 on 2 that becomes a 3 on 2.
- Place a gate (gates can be made by tires, cones, etc) on each side of the net. This will create two gates and two options for the offensive player to skate though.
- Place one forward and one defender in one of the corners or circles.
- Place an additional player at the high slot or point.
- To start: a coach chips a puck in the corner to begin a 1 on 1 battle.
- The forward is trying to first skate through a gate. Once the forward skates through the gate, they are able to pass it to the open player at the point to begin a 2 on 1. The offensive team is trying to score a goal.
- The defender is trying to strip the puck during the 1 on 1 and/or the 2 on 1 and skate out of the zone.
- The coach can stop the play when there is a goal, the defender skates the puck out of the zone, the goalie freezes the puck or enough time has passed (15 - 30 seconds).
- Offensive player:
- Look over your shoulder to see where the pressure is coming from.
- Do not expose the puck until you are ready to make a play. Use the net and the boards to protect the puck!
- Keep head up to be aware of where the gates are and the extra player is.
- Defending player:
- Work on taking a good angle.
- Keep your stick on the ice to go after the puck and to block passing lanes.
- Can allow the forward to immediately try to score a goal, or you can require them to first go through the gate before they can score. Either way, if they go through the gate the other forward is activated.
- Can set up gates in different areas of the ice.
- Can add gates at the blueline that the defense needs to skate through instead of skating over the blueline.
- Can start the game in different areas of the zone.
- Can setup the game in smaller areas of the ice (example - 1/4 ice instead of 1/2 ice.)
- Can be modified to be a 2 on 2 that becomes a 3 on 2 (diagram displayed below)
Start it as 1v1, then progress to start the drill as 2v2.