Official HockeyShare Blog

10 Early Season Team Building Ideas

Getting a team to gel together can be a big task if you’ve got a lot of new players on your team.  Below is a list of ten ideas to improve your team’s chemistry early in the season.

  1. Early Season Tournament/Road Trip – ideally, pick a tournament where you’re out of your home town and parents/players must stay in a hotel.  This lets players get to know each other away from the rink setting, and gives parents time to socialize in the evenings.   If you’re in a hotel and have time between games, try planning a team “pot-luck” lunch/dinner where players are required to attend as opposed to everyone heading their own direction for meals.
  2. Ropes Courses – a ropes course will force players to work together as a team to achieve a common goal – just like in the season.  It will also force some players to address their fears (especially if you’re doing a high ropes course) and get support from their teammates.
  3. Team Building Activities – choose a day and location away from the rink and plan group challenges (mental as well as physical).  Activities that force players to communicate and interact are excellent in establishing trust among teammates.  For some ideas on activities, check out our blog post on Team Building Resources.
  4. Team Cook Out – this can be done at the rink, or if a parent is kind enough to open their home, at a family’s house.  Ideally there would be an activity the players can do (pool, ping pong, swimming, etc.) which will focus them to one area.  Avoid allowing video games to be the central focus, as the amount of communication and group interaction is severely lessened.
  5. Change Locker Room Seats – players love to get into a routine and sit next to their buddies in the locker room.  This can be okay as the season progresses, but if you’ve got a team with a lot of new skaters, forcing players to sit in different locations will cause them to talk with and get to know people outside their small clique.
  6. Paint Balling – not every team will have access to this, but teams that do will find that their players will enjoy the competition and have a great time being together away from the rink.  You could also plan for a team cookout after the paint balling event!
  7. Team Workout – you see this in the NHL quite a bit – players and coaches will do team runs, bike rides, canoeing, etc.  Although it may not be quite as much fun as some of the other activities listed above, you’ll be getting the group together and also helping their overall conditioning.
  8. Mix Lines / D Partners – early in the season, forcing players to play with skaters other than the one or two players they’re used to will not only get players to work together and communicate, but will prepare older players for future tryout camps where they’ll be playing with skaters they’ve never played with before.
  9. Team Video – have some fun with this one – especially early in the season. Instead of doing game tape review or something expected, have some fun and watch an entertaining video or movie.  Maybe even get some pizzas for the players (without telling them).  For older groups, The Tournament is a great choice.  For younger groups, Miracle may be a better idea.
  10. Personal Information – before or after a practice, hold a team gathering in the locker room and have players get up and introduce themselves one-by-one.  It is also helpful to have 3 or 4 questions they need to answer while it is their turn.  Simple questions like the following tend to work well: favorite hockey team, one thing we didn’t know about you, home town, etc.
Do you have another idea to add to the list?  Leave a comment below to contribute! Good luck this season!


 

Heel to Heel – Broken Down

Nov
22
Posted by Kevin - Filed under: Hockey Tips
Tags: ,

Last week we got lots of great comments on the Heel to Heel transition video.  Several people wrote in asking if we could do a slow motion / still frame breakdown of the technique.  In this post, I’ve taken several still shots and included a slow motion video of a heel to heel transition – as well as included key points for various stages of the transition.

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Zone Entry – Board Passes

Nov
12
Posted by Kevin - Filed under: Hockey Tips
Tags: , ,

Getting the puck into the zone can be the difference between creating a scoring opportunity and giving one up.  Using a simple board pass play can be one of the most efficient means of entering the offensive zone.  In this post, we’ll take a look at two different examples of a board pass as well as a video example from an NHL game.

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Forward Stride – In Depth [Video]

We’re back with a video this week breaking down another essential skating aspect of the game.  This week’s video focuses on the forward stride.  Becoming an efficient skater with proper technique is essential to being the fastest skater you can become.

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Crossovers – In Depth [Video]

The hockey crossover is an essential part of any hockey player’s skating arsenal. In this video, we break down the crossover into easy teaching points and give ideas on how to coach your players into using better technique.

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Creative Ways to Divide the Ice

Sep
28
Posted by Kevin - Filed under: Hockey Tips
Tags: , ,

There’s no doubt, one of the easiest ways to keep our game affordable is to increase the number of skaters on the ice at any given time.  The major governing bodies are pushing to get more kids on the ice simultaneously to make the most out of costly ice time.  Below I’ve included some different ways of splitting up the ice I have found to be effective over the years.  In my opinion, the key to deciding how to split your ice depends on the goals of your practice session and how many skaters you have on the ice.

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Lateral Movement & Creativity

Sep
23
Posted by Kevin - Filed under: Hockey Tips
Tags: , , ,

Minnesota Hockey posted a video with Ludek Bukac about creativity and lateral movement.  Many of you may recognize the name from the Variable Goal Training DVD Bukac has put out.  The concept is to use extra nets on the ice to force skaters to move laterally and be creative in small areas.  If you aren’t familiar with this type of training, the video below is definitely worth a look.


 

Over-Speed Training

Jun
20
Posted by Kevin - Filed under: Hockey Tips
Tags: , , ,

Over-speed training is a buzz term often associated having “quick feet” during a drill.  Simply put, over-speed training involves the execution of a skill at a higher tempo than the player is comfortable with.  Most players go on the ice and “practice” their skills at a pace they’re comfortable with – this “comfort zone” is one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to developing as an athlete and player.  By staying within the player’s comfort zone, there is a much slower progression of skills.  Over-speed training is a critical component of proper training, but must be used appropriately.  Properly phased over-speed training should look something like the following:

1) Learn the basics of the skill you’re performing:  become proficient (technically) in the skill you’re working on.  This is the part where you spend hours honing your craft.  Don’t overlook this phase, because poor techniques at the beginning will lead to poor techniques long-term.  Develop good habits, and practice the fundamentals.

2) Perform the skill at a pace outside your comfort zone:  increase the tempo of your performance without a puck.  Begin executing the drills at a pace where you’re outside your comfort zone.  Falling in this phase is OK – players must understand falling is part of their progression in this phase.  By spending a lot of time training at the increased tempo, players will eventually learn to control the bodies and skates to they’re able to execute the skill naturally at a higher pace.

3) Perform the skill with a puck at your new level:  adding the puck adds in additional challenges.  As players begin to become comfortable performing the techniques, adding the puck will force them to adjust other aspects of their skill to adapt to the new pace.  Emphasize to players it is OK to lose the puck or fall in this phase.

By consistently forcing players outside their comfort zone, their speed and level of play will continue to climb.  I would recommend making over-speed training part of every practice – you will be amazed at how much it will help your players improve!


 

User Email: Tight Turns

May
17
Posted by Kevin - Filed under: Hockey Tips
Tags: , ,

I recently received the following email:

Hi Kevin

Love the site, a great resource for new coaches like myself!

I would like your advice on teaching tight turns to under 10’s?

Many Thanks
Lee

Click to continue…


 

Gap Control Basics

May
3
Posted by Kevin - Filed under: Hockey Tips
Tags: ,

Gap control is one of the most important skills/concepts for defensemen to learn. Simply stated, a defenseman’s gap is the distance between the puck carrying forward and the defender.  Making a play at the right time, and knowing how and when to make the commitment can be the difference between a defender making a great play or getting beat.  The basics to setting a proper gap can be broken down into three main points:

  1. Required skating skills
  2. Ability to react to the rush
  3. Rule of thumb

Click to continue…


 

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