Teams Coaches Parents Practice Plan Practice hockey

Practice Plans for a first time Hockey Coach

Being a first-time hockey coach can be an exciting and daunting experience. As you step onto the ice with your team, it's important to understand the significance of a well-rounded practice plan that goes beyond just drills.

A successful practice plan starts with clearly defined goals. Whether it's improving power plays, defensive maneuvers, or individual skills like puck handling, setting both short-term and long-term goals will give your practice purpose and direction. Assessing your players' skills and needs is another crucial step. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses as individuals and as a team will help you tailor your practices to their specific needs. A comprehensive warm-up routine is essential to prepare your players physically and mentally for the intensity of the practice ahead.

Every practice should be different to keep your athletes engaged, but there is nothing wrong with structure so let's take a look at the basics:

1. Define the Goals

  • Short-term Goals: What do you want to achieve in this specific practice? Could be improving power plays, defensive maneuvers, or even just puck-handling skills.
  • Long-term Goals: How does this practice fit into your season's plan? Are you prepping for a big tournament or focusing on overall team development?

2. Assess Player Skills and Needs

  • Individual Assessment: Each player's strengths and weaknesses. Who's the speed demon? Who needs a bit more help with their slapshot?
  • Team Assessment: How's the team performing as a unit? Are they communicating well on the ice, or do they look like they're playing a game of solo pond hockey?

3. Warm-Up Routine

  • Physical Warm-Up: Basic exercises to get the blood pumping. Think jogging, stretching, or some dynamic moves.
  • On-Ice Warm-Up: Simple skating drills to get comfortable on the ice.

4. Skill Development

  • Drills: Break it down based on your goals. Could be shooting drills, defensive positioning, or passing exercises.
  • Technique Correction: Keep an eye out for sloppy form. This is where you fine-tune and polish those skills.

5. Team Tactics

  • Strategic Play: Focus on plays that you're planning to use in games. Power plays, penalty kills, breakouts, etc.
  • Game Situation Drills: Mimic real-game situations to give your team a feel for the real deal.

6. Conditioning

  • Endurance Training: Ensure your team doesn't run out of steam. Include sprints, long skates, or circuit training.
  • Strength Training: Off-ice activities could be included here for overall strength.

7. Cool Down and Review

  • Stretching: Essential to prevent injuries and cool down the muscles.
  • Feedback Session: A quick huddle to discuss what went well and what needs improvement.

8. Plan for the Next Practice

  • Reflect on what worked and what didn't. Adjust your next practice plan accordingly.

9. Documentation

  • Keep a record of your plans and player progress. This is vital for long-term development and achieving those season-long goals.

Review of the Sections:

  1. Defining Goals: The foundation. Without this, you're just skating around aimlessly.
  2. Player Assessment: Know your team, play to their strengths and work on their weaknesses.
  3. Warm-Up: Essential to get the juices flowing and prevent injuries.
  4. Skill Development: The meat of the practice. This is where the magic happens.
  5. Team Tactics: Turn individual skills into unstoppable team play.
  6. Conditioning: Build those hockey tanks that can go full throttle all game.
  7. Cool Down and Review: Wind down and reflect. Growth happens here.
  8. Next Practice Planning: Always be one step ahead.
  9. Documentation: Your playbook for success. Don't underestimate it.

Now, take this blueprint and craft a practice plan that makes your team the envy of the league. Remember, a great practice plan is more than just a to-do list on ice; it's about building a team that works together like a well-oiled machine, ready to take on any challenge with a stick in one hand and victory in the other.

Use this guide as your playbook, tweak it to suit your team's unique flavor, and watch as they transform from mere players into ice gladiators. Keep it fun, keep it challenging, and for the love of the game, keep it hockey. Now go out there and coach the hell out of them!

Tyler Childs
Ty is the founder of Tournkey. His background is in travel and events. Over the last 25 years, Ty has had the opportunity to see the world through events. Tournkey is the amalgamation of that journey and the path towards more productive events.