Develop Hockey Skills With Half-Rink Drills

Improve your skills with less ice by learning a handful of the best half-rink hockey drills.

Hockey Drill

Whether in position or not, a good hockey athlete never wastes an opportunity to make a play during a game. Mastering the skills needed for hockey takes time and patience. However, it may not require a full rink. Half-rink hockey drills are a great way to concentrate on refining hockey skills.

These drills are ideal when practice space is limited. Coaches can be more time-efficient by running several half-ice drills at the same time. Here is a sample practice run using half-ice drills to help athletes master this greatest of all sports.

Half-Ice Hockey Practice Run


Make sure to warm up before introducing pucks.

Skid Stops

Start practice with Skid Stops. For adequate spacing, divide your team into four groups. Make sure skaters keep their sticks in front of them, not flying from side to side. Players skate from:

• Goal line to blue line
• Blue line to red line
• Red line to blue line
• Back to originating goal line

Perform the Skid Stop Drill on the reverse side to develop the skill on both edges of the blade.

Coaches, remember that goalies are not expected to keep up with forwards and defensemen—for two reasons: their blades are flat and usually kept very dull.

Half-Ice Drills

Each of these exercises will raise individual players' skill level. Follow the basic on-ice principle of heads up all the time and stickhandling with a peripheral vision puck view.

1. One-on-Zero

Divide the team into two groups. The first team that slides over the blue line after the last goal is scored wins the relay.

• On whistle, first player in each line goes in for a shot on net. 
Player keeps shooting until a goal is scored.
• After a one-on-zero goal is scored, the scoring player skates outside the blue line, picks up another 
puck and goes in with second player in line for a two-on-zero.
• Continue three-on-zero, four-on-zero. etc., until all players in line have gone.
• Each player must touch puck before shot on net follows.

2. Three-on-One (hones defensive skills of the lone defenseman)

• Set up three players on one defender. Nobody can cross the centerline.
• When the defender gets the puck back, he or she passes across the line to the forwards on the other side.

3. Three-on-Two

• Set up three players on two defenders. Nobody can cross the centerline.
• When a defender gets the puck back, he or she passes across the line to the forwards on the other side.

4. Goal Line Skate-Outs

• Under a two-second limit, each player receives a pass from the point and takes a shot on goal.
• Variation of this with a defenseman to impede a clear shot.

5. Shoot-Out

Everyone gets a shot to score on the goalie. Allow at least 20 seconds between shots. Next skater must leave the faceoff circle with the puck.

• At whistle, the shooter comes down on the goalie from center ice and tries for shot.
• If the goalie makes the save, player is eliminated. If player scores, he or she moves on to next round.
• Continue until there's a winning shooter.
• Allow adequate time between elimination runs for goalie to rest.

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