USA Hockey Magazine

November 2013

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Small Area Games PRESENTED BY Developing Hockey Skills In A Fun & Competitive Environment BY TY HENNES "R epetitio mater studiorum est". Repetition is the mother of learning. Hockey players of every age learn by doing. By implementing high activity, station-based practices and incorporating small area games into your practice routine you will create an environment for your players to dramatically develop their hockey skills. Small area games provide the opportunity to work on a specific game concept that is structured in a tighter space, which will allow the game situation to occur at a higher frequency than it would during a full-ice game. From mini-Mites to the NHL, small area games provide increased repetitions of a specific skill or game concept within a fun and competitive environment. Here are a few games that will help players develop their overall hockey skills and game concepts: "LORD OF THE RINGS" Age Level: For players of all ages Purpose: Focuses on stickhandling, puck possession, body positioning, creativity and keeping your head up while controlling the ring in a tight space. Game: Use one face-off circle as the competition area. Place six to eight ringettes in the circle. Each player turns his stick over, finds a ring and begins to move within the confines of the circle. As the players begin to understand the increased agility, creativity and speed with the ring on their stick the coach eliminates one ring from the circle. Now, an additional skill required in the game is "puck retrieval". Lifting sticks and using body contact to regain a ring becomes paramount. Progressively, remove additional rings until there is one ring left in the circle. The player who can maintain the last ring the longest becomes the "Lord of the Rings." 40 NOVEMBER. 2013 ON-SIDES BREAKOUT VS. FORECHECK GAME Age Level: Squirts and Up Purpose: This game works as an easy introduction to offsides while progressing into a small area game that teaches the concepts of breaking out and forechecking. Game: Split the players into two teams in one zone. By drawing a line down the middle of the zone you have created the offsides line. Play a cross-ice 3 v. 3 game with players having to stay onsides before attacking the offensive zone to score. If the players go offsides a whistle is blown and the other team gains possession of the puck. Progression: As players begin to understand offsides, add a defenseman for each team behind each net who provide the starting point of the team's breakout. During any change of possession the team must pass the puck back to their defenseman and regroup to their defensive zone and work on breaking out the puck while staying on-sides. The opposing team is allowed to send one forechecker to pressure the defenseman. PROTECT THE HOUSE Age Level: Squirts and Older Purpose: The most valuable territory on the ice is the area around the nets. This game provides an increased repetition of scoring chances while allowing the opposing team to focus on defending their goal. Game: Split the group into two teams. Place the nets back to back facing cross ice. Two players from each team enter the middle of the cross-ice game. Two additional players from each team are stationed along the boards facing the attacking net. The players in the zone play 2 v. 2. They must pass to their outlet player before an offensive attack can occur. This allows the offensive team to attack the slot. The defending team must work to get back to defend their net. Rotate players through he drill. Players learn by doing. They need to be placed in an environment where they perform quality, high repetitions of any given hockey skill or game concept. Station-based practices and small area games provide a competitive and fun environment for all players to reach their potential. USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM The ADM is all about getting kids moving and having fun. The best way to do that is with stationed-based practices that stress a lot of activity. Coaches don't need to get too technical. Create a practice that features a variety of fun games and you'll be amazed how quickly kids will not only develop basic skills but also a passion for the game. ILLUSTRATIONS BY FlexxCoach

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