PRACTICE 19 (Skills Competitions)

As you move late into your season, it's a great time to increase the fun aspects of practicing. Let the players be competitive with each other. This practice in particular will include competitions in passing, shooting, ground balls and face-offs. Convey the importance of a season finish to a season.

First 5 Minutes (Review)

Bring all of the players and coaches together. Ask the players how they feel about the progress made toward their goals. Explain the plan for this practice. Address any questions the players may have. Then it is time for the warm up.

Next 5 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.

Next 20 Minutes (Stick Skills)

Work drills as previously performed:

Stationary Passing: After the players have gone through a few minutes of warming up with their sticks, have a competition to see which group can complete the most passes in a row without dropping the ball.

Line Drills

Box Drill

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 15 Minutes (Shooting Drills)

Review the fundamentals of shooting that were learned in previous practices. Have the players perform the following drills:

Catch and Shoot

Criss-Cross Cut and Shoot

After the two drills are completed, have all the players compete in a long distance shot competition. Start the players at different intervals (getting farther away from the goal) and as players miss the open net they are eliminated from the competition.

Next 15 Minutes (Ground Balls)

Single Line

One v. One (trailer): Have a single-elimination tournament to see who is the best individual ground ball player.

Two v. Two: Again have a competition to see which pairing is the best at picking up ground balls and making a pass to a teammate.

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

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

Next 10 Minutes (Face-off Competition)

This drill is a lot of fun. By including your assistant coaches, have several face-offs going on at once and turn it into a competition.

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.