Discover more from Riley’s Substack
3 Tips for Personal Skill Development During Team Hockey Practice
Everyone gets the same amount of time each day. From my experience in coaching elite players, they find ways to make better use of their time by focusing on small details instead of just doing the required work prescribed by the coach. I understand that team practices are essential for improving as a hockey player. However, it's equally crucial to make the most of these sessions to enhance your individual skills. Here are three tips to help you get more out of team practice:
Master the Fundamentals:
Puck Handling: Dedicate time during practice to work on your puck-handling skills. Whether it's practicing stickhandling, receiving passes, or working on quick dekes, this is the foundation of your offensive game. Focus on controlling the puck effortlessly and under pressure. Make sure you are one of the first on the ice so you can handle the puck during free time, or when you are at the back of the line during a drill, try and get a few puck touches in while you are waiting.
Skating Technique: Skating is the backbone of hockey. Pay attention to your stride, balance, and agility during team drills. Work on adding a crossover in either direction when the coach shows a drill where you skate all the way down the ice and shoot. Challenge yourself to add a skating skill to your route.
Visualization: Before each practice, take a few minutes to mentally prepare. Visualize yourself making perfect passes, taking accurate shots, and excelling in defensive plays. This mental rehearsal can boost your confidence and help you execute these skills more effectively during practice.
Seek Feedback and Self-Assess:
Ask for Input: Don't be afraid to approach your coach or teammates for feedback. Approach your coach before or after practice about areas where you can improve. Constructive criticism is invaluable for personal growth and be ready to hear something you may not enjoy hearing, but most of the time your coach will steer you in the right direction.
Self-Reflection: Take some time after practice to assess your performance objectively. What did you do well? What needs improvement? Identify specific areas and create a plan to work on them during your individual training sessions. You can take this information and set a goal to improve on this in your next team practice
By focusing on adding some of the fundamentals to team drills, creating game-like objectives for yourself, and actively seeking feedback, you'll be well on your way to making more efficient use of your practice time. For Hockey parents, these are conversations and little challenges you can give your young Hockey player to help guide them on their way.
Thanks for reading Riley’s Substack! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.