PRACTICE 8 (Even-Man Drills)

This practice will introduce a new drill for stick skills and how to play a two-on-two, both offensively and defensively.

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 and 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 30 Minutes (Stick Skills)

Perform the following drills:

Line Drills: As performed in previous practices and include the breakout pass.

Box Drill: As performed in previous practices. If possible, do the drill with two balls instead of just one to challenge the players and get more of them involved at one time.

Diamond Drill: This drill is similar in some regards to the Box Drill. Start by setting up four lines of players in the shape of a diamond within one of the restraining boxes. One player will start with a ball and pass it to the line to the left. This continues to repeat and the ball will move around the diamond clockwise. Have the players work to catch the ball with their outside hand (right hand when the ball is moving clockwise), roll to the outside, switch hands and pass with their left hands. After the players get some reps, switch the direction that the ball moves. The same concept remains; however, now the players will catch the ball with the left hand (the outside hand) and will roll and pass with their right hands.

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 the previous practices. Have the players perform the following drills:

Shooting on the Run: Perform as it was in previous practices.

Inside Shooting Drill: Bring the players together as a group and explain the difference between outside shooting and inside shooting. Particularly explain the importance of inside shooting and finishing the ball. The keys to inside shooting include: accuracy more than power; quickness of the release; stick protection; and fake to move the goalie. Have the coaches demonstrate.

To work on this type of shooting, have the players get into two lines that are about five yards above the goal line on both sides of the net (similar to Catch and Shoot, but closer to the cage). Have them catch the ball and first focus on getting a quick release and accuracy with their shot. The players should be shooting from about a yard or two outside the crease. Next work on having the players make one fake and then shoot. Explain the importance of making a fake to move the goalie.

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

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

Next 20 Minutes (Even-Man Drills)

1 v 1: Perform as in previous practices.

2 v 2: Bring the players together and talk about the some of the keys of playing 2-on-2. Be sure to explain that an offensive player cannot interfere with a defender or set a moving pick. Demonstrate and encourage the players to work together on offense by moving the ball, cutting, and setting picks. Also explain the defensive aspects of the 2-on-2, including communication, covering a man off ball, covering the man with the ball and sliding if a player gets beat defensively.

Drill the same as the 1 v. 1, except now include four players in the drill.

Ending Practice

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