PRACTICE 12 (Stick Skill Development)

Stick skills and ground balls will be reinforced today. Also, you will be able build upon the observations identified during the first scrimmage of the season.

First 5 Minutes (Review)

Bring all of the players and coaches together. Begin the practice by reiterating what was conveyed at the end of the last practice. Assess the progress made toward the goals for your season. Explain the plan for this practice. Address any questions the players may have.

Next 10 Minutes (Warm-up)

Divide the players into several lines on the midfield line facing one of the restraining lines. Go through repetitions of the following between the mid line and the restraining line: 50 percent run with high knees, butt kicks (lifting the legs up high in the back), side shuffle, running backwards; then 75 percent run; and 100 percent run.

During the warm-up, pull the goalies aside and have them work with one or two of the coaches. It is important for the goalies to be properly warmed up and comfortable taking shots before the real action of practice. Also, it is a great opportunity for the goalies to get some one-on-one instruction to help them develop as players.

Next 20 Minutes (Stick Skills)

Two Man Inside-Outside: As performed in previous practices.

Three-Man, Two Balls Drill: As performed previously. Then line the players up in three lines on the goal line (similar to how the players line up for the Three-Man Weave Drill). You will have the players perform the Three-Man, Two-Balls Drill on the run. The players in the outside lines will have the balls and the player in the middle will not have a ball. The player in the middle line will receive a pass from the left line and then pass it back to the player in the left line while running toward midfield. Then the player in the middle line will receive a pass from the right line and return the ball to the player in the right line. Continue this to the midfield line. Repeat and then have the players switch lines.

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back to the field. You can consider having this break during Stick Skills.

Next 10 Minutes (Ground Balls)

Repeat drills that were introduced during the first practice. They are as follows:

Single Line

One v. One (trailer)

One v. One (side-by-side)

Two v. One

Face-off Ground Ball Drill

Next 10 Minutes (Odd-Man and Even-Man Drills)

Numbers Drill: Perform this drill as done previously, but focus more on having larger numbers of players in the drill to simulate situations more likely to happen in a game.

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back to the field.

Next 15 Minutes (Scrimmage)

Review action from prior scrimmages and/or games. Talk to the players about skills that were done well and others that will help the players develop and understand the team game.

Divide the players into two teams at each position. Let the players play in a controlled scrimmage setting. There will be a lot of different circumstances to teach as the scrimmage progresses, but it will be a lot of fun for both the players and coach. Keep score and keep the players engaged. Right before the end of practice, blow the whistle and tell all the players to enter the game. Let them enjoy the game for one minute as it was originally played – it is a fun twist for the young players.

Then have then sprint from one goal to the other and back. See the smiles on their face? OK, listen to them complain, too. Everybody will be leave with a smile.

Ending Practice

In your team huddle, review what was learned and congratulate the players for their hard work. Also, establish the next practice time (or game time) with the players and parents, and follow up with an email.