It would be an understatement to say that ice hockey is a tough game. Consequently, conditioning drills have to be impeccable, and they should be more or less covering all the aspects of game play. Putting across some drills, which will aid amateurs and youngsters in sharpening their skills.
Drills for Beginners
Power Take Off
This is a drill which will help and condition players to get powerful starts on their skates. It involves a player pulling the other towards the red line. Player 2 then holds player 1 by his jersey, followed by player 1 taking 5 or 6 strides, or until he is at the red line with a gliding stop. Each player should be pulled before he switches places and pulls.
What's a Circle in Russian?
Okay, did you see red? Never mind, the name of the drill is 'Russian circles'. Here, the players are supposed to skate in a single file, around the 5 face-off circles with a puck.
Ever observed the movement of fish in a tank? The way they do rounds from one end of the tank to the other, seems to have inspired this drill. So what the players do here is, they begin at one end of the rink. A player then skates full speed to the blue line, pivots, and skates to the other red line. What he does next is skates behind the net, skates backward up to the second blue line, pivots, and finally skates full speed to the starting position. This drill is great for building endurance and tuning pivot positioning.
Figure it Eight
Here, first the coach will have to place 4 cones on the back face-off dots. Now, players have to skate in a pattern resembling the number 8 around the goal, outside the cones. After passing the goal, they have to sprint, pass the cones, and skate to the other end.
To do this, first the players need to be divided into 2 teams. Then, they have to be stationed at opposite corners of the rink. The coach then has to a set a cone on the blue line. One player from each team skates to the cone, does a hard stop, pivots, and skates back to the original position. Drills like these do wonders for improving skating speed and the technique of players.
Drills for Forwards
Round the Dot Shot
This one is meant for helping the forwards keep their feet moving all the time, catch the pass, and get off the shot in a stride. Here, run two or three at once out of a single corner, and then change corners. Initially, have all the players shoot with their forehand. This will lead the players to adjust in case they receive the puck on their off hand. Likewise, let the players then shoot with their backhand, and adjust if they get the ball on the other side.
Cycle Down Low
This drill will make the players well acquainted with cycling down low in the offensive zone. As the drill is for forwards, they should be in high slots, to be in a good position in case there is a turnover. It goes like this. Once the coach blows the whistle, the next player receiving the puck has to pass it to the player in the high slot. Meanwhile, the other 2 players crash the net for a rebound. The quicker and faster this is done, the more difficult it is going to be for the defense of the opposing team.
Be it any sport, practice, and more practice is the key.