Whether you are looking to improve the overall balance or offensive abilities of your team, there are plenty of skating drills for hockey players that you can utilize. Of course, it is best if you can determine exactly what areas your team needs to improve upon. Then, you can choose drills which will strengthen the team as a whole. The important thing to remember is that you need to practice these drills on a regular basis before each game. This will allow your players to truly improve their skills and develop new abilities. Whenever possible, you should try to make the drills enjoyable for your players as well.
In the sport of hockey, developing solid puck control is essential to the team's success. To strengthen your team’s puck control, you can set up a relay drill that will test this ability. To begin, you can split the players into two separate teams. Then, you will have each player skate as fast as they can across the ice without losing control of the puck. When one player makes it across the ice, he will pass the puck off to his teammate. To keep the players motivated, you can make the losing team engage in exercises. The great thing about this drill is that it creates a sense of competitiveness.
Next, you should work on improving the cornering and turning of your players. To do this, you can set up cones or other obstacles on the ice. You should place the obstacles so that you create a zigzag pattern. This will force the players to turn on a moment’s notice. To take this drill to the next level, you should make the players reverse their direction whenever you blow the whistle. This will ensure that the players are ready to turn around in a split second.
Next, you need to set up drill so your players become efficient at skating backwards. To do this, you can have them skate backwards around the circles at your ice arena. Then, you can make them do crossovers whenever you blow the whistle. If your players are having trouble skating backwards, remember to tell them to stay low and keep their knees bent at all times. As a warm-up, you can also have your players skate backwards around the full length of the arena.
Of course, it is also important that your players master forward skating as well. You should make sure that they are completing full extensions with each one of their strides. Also, your players should be thrusting their ankles near the end of each specific stride. In other words, you want to keep the side to side movement to an absolute minimum.
Finally, your players should be mastering the art of the crossover as well. To do a crossover, you'll need to keep your knees bent while pushing outward with your inside skate. Then, you lift the outside leg over the inside leg to perform a tight circle. When running crossover drills, you should make the players perform a crossover in one direction then a crossover in the opposite direction.