PRACTICE 2 (Shooting)

Ride the momentum of the first practice and continue to get acquainted with the players. At this practice, we'll introduce shooting fundamentals to the players.

First 10 Minutes (Introduction)

Bring all of the players and coaches together. Begin the practice by reiterating what was conveyed at the end of the first practice, including the goals and lessons learned. You can start explaining the fundamentals to the game, including the number of players on the field, different positions, offsides, etc.

Explain the layout of this practice. Address any questions the players may have.

Next 10 Minutes (Warm-up)

The warm-up will be a consistent beginning to each practice session. 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.

Then lead the players through a quick stationary stretch. Here's a new example:

Sit, with legs extended out flat on the ground in a V position. Reach and touch the right hand to the outside of the left foot. Mimic the other side. Hold for a 10 count on each side. This stretches the outside of the upper back.

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 begins. Also, it is a great opportunity for the goalies to get some one-on-one instruction to will help them develop as players.

Next 30 Minutes (Stick Skills)

Bring all of the players into a huddle again. Repetition is the key for young athletes. Reinforce the fundamentals of catching and throwing, and the importance of this skill set to playing the game. Then perform the following drills:

Standing-Still Passing Drill: Assign each player a partner and give each a number, 1 or 2. Line up all of the 1s on the midfield line. Line up all of the 2s about 10 feet away, parallel to the midfield line, and make sure the partners are lined up across from one another. Spread the pairings out as much as possible across the width of the field and let them start passing to one another. Have the coaches walk up and down the line working with the players and critiquing their form. Have extra balls available for the players. The key to this drill is to have the players get a lot of repetitions.

Line Drills: Break the players up into an even number of lines (it would be ideal to have about six players in each line). One line should be on the midfield line and the other line should be on one of the restraining lines (repeat this across the width of the field for each grouping of two lines). Line drills provide the opportunity for players to practice stick skills while in motion. After the lines are set up, demonstrate with the coaches how the drill will work. Begin with right-handed passing on the move. Remember to have players call for the ball and present a target.

One player will begin the drill by running toward the other line with the ball. The first player in the other line will begin running toward the player with the ball and receive a pass from that player. Then the player at the front of the opposite line will run toward the player with the ball and receive a pass. This continues to repeat as players get repetitions passing and catching.

After the players get a lot of reps throwing right-handed, have them switch to left-handed. Then have the players catch with their right hand, switch hands and throw left-handed. Lastly, have the players catch with their left hands, switch hands, and throw with their right hand. Continue to have the coaches demonstrate each time you introduce a new wrinkle.

Three-Man, Two-Balls Drill: Divide the players into groups of three and provide each group with two balls. One player stands on the mid line, one player stands on the restraining line and the third player stands in the middle of the other two players. The balls are with the players on the outside lines. The player in the middle will receive a pass from the player at the mid line and then throw a pass back to that player. Then the player in the middle will receive a pass from the player on the restraining line. This will repeat, back and forth, for a number of reps. The player in the middle should be on the move continuously. Feel free to shorten or lengthen the distance between the players if necessary. At one-minute intervals, switch the players and get a different player from each group to be the middle man.

Next 5 Minutes (Water Break)

Bring in the players and congratulate them on a job well done. Note that catching and passing takes practice and lots of repetition. Then get 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 20 Minutes (Shooting Drills)

After the break, it is time to demonstrate the fundamentals of shooting. Again with the group together as a whole, work with the coaches to explain the following: handling the stick, stepping with the opposite foot, generating power with entire body and not just arms, following through, shooting overhand and staying out of the crease. Shooting takes a lot of practice, so it will not come easily to all players. However, it's important as a coach to explain the fundamentals of shooting so when the players are practicing (both on their own and during practice), they are learning to do it in the right way. Have the coaches demonstrate shooting to catch the attention of the players. Make sure to demonstrate the fundamentals (i.e. keep it overhand!)

Separate the players into two groups and take each group to one end of the field. Then take time to go through the following drills:

Catch and Shoot: Players are in two equal lines – one on the right of the net and one on the left about 10 yards above the goal line. Two coaches are the feeders and are located on the goal line on both sides of the net with all of the balls. One player at a time cuts toward the coach, receives a pass and shoots the ball into the net. Then that player goes to the back of the line. The drill is repeated with the other players in line.

Criss-Cross and Shoot: Again two lines of shooters and two coaches feeding balls. This time the players cut diagonally and receive a pass from the feeder on the opposite side of the net. The drill is completed with the player shooting. The drill is repeated with the other players in line.

Ending Practice

After the players get some water, end practice with a team huddle. Review what was learned and congratulate the players for their hard work. Reinforce the goals identified at the beginning of practice. Also, establish the next practice time with the players and parents, and follow up with an email.