10 Best Hockey Drills for Your Next Tryout
From gather evaluators to finding volunteers for your hockey tryout, selecting the right hockey tryout drills often gets overlooked.
You might decide a few hours before a hockey tryout which drills to run at random. However, in order to be confident with each of your drafting decisions, running the right hockey drills is an essential component to a successful tryout.
Kind of like a recipe, if you skip one of the instructions, the end result won’t turn out as intended. Therefore, you want to pick a mix of hockey tryout drills to evaluate players on their skill, technique, and capacity, resulting in more accurate team placement decisions in the end.
This blog uncovers the 10 best hockey tryout drills that are easy to execute and score.
Hockey Goalie Drills
- The goalie will start standing in the center of the net
- Drop down to the butterfly position
- T-push to right side (while in the butterfly position)
- Stand up and skate over to the right side
- Drop down into the butterfly position
- T-push to the left side (while in the butterfly position)
- Repeat this drill for 10-15 reps, alternating between the left and right sides
- The goalie will start on left post
- T-push forward to the center of crease (in a diagonal line)
- T-push backwards to the right post (in a diagonal line)
- Repeat for 20-25 reps, alternating starting from the left and right posts
- *This T-push drill will be in the triangle formation
Hockey Shooting Drills
Around-the-Cone & Shoot
Set up: Place two cones about 2-inches behind the blue line and 6-feet apart
- Have 6-8 of your players stand in a single file line behind each cone.
- Player 1 skates in a clockwise circle around the cone and towards the goal
- As player 1 is skating the around the cone, player 2 passes the puck to player 1
- Player 1 receives the puck and shoots
- Player 1 goes to the back of the line (on the opposite side)
- Player 2 now skates around the cone, player 3 passes the puck to player 2
- Player 2 receives the puck and shoots
- Rotate through players, running through this drill for 6-8 minutes
Around-the-Cone & Shoot Drill
Set up: Three players will each stand in a single file line on one corner of the ice
- Each player will take turns skating the outlined route (pictured in the diagram below), and attempt to make a shot
- The players will rotate routes, until each player has skated the 3 routes
- After those 3 players have performed the drill, swap out with 3 new players (until everyone has had one turn)
Hockey Skating Drills
Setup: Have 3 players line up in a single file line on one corner of the ice
- On the coach’s whistle, player 1 will skate the outlined route (pictured in the diagram below) with speed starting at 75% and then increasing to 100%
- Have each player skate the outlined route 5 times
- After those 3 players have performed the drill, swap out with 3 new players (until everyone has had a turn)
- Tip: Set a time limit for each “route.” Document the times for each player and for each route. Then, when this drill is performed through the season, players can have a benchmark to refer to (and ideally beat!).
Set up: Place 3 pylons about 6-feet apart from each other. Set up two of these stations on the ice.
- Players will use
- Progression #1: Players will skate with both legs (inside edge)
- Progression #2: Players will skate with right leg only, transitioning from inside edge to outside edge
- Progression #3: Players will repeat progression #2 on the opposite foot
- After both players have done all 3 progressions, rotate to the next 2 players (until everyone has had a turn)
Figure 8 Drill
Defensive Hockey Drills
Set up: Set up two pylons on opposite ends of the ice, about 3-feet away from the boards. Have players line up in a single file line behind one pylon.
- Starting slightly behind one pylon and facing the boards, player 1 will push off with the toe of their left skate and start moving backwards
- Player 1 will shift their right skate to the outside edge
- After shifting the right skate, players will pick up their left foot and cross it over, ensuring its inside their right foot
- Players will glide for 2-3 seconds in this position
- They will then uncross their left foot, bringing it back to the outside
- Players will repeat this process across the entire length of the ice, ensuring they are alternating what foot they are picking up and crossing over each time.
- Run this drill for 6-8 minutes
Set up: Set up two pylons on opposite ends of the ice, about 3-feet away from the boards. 3 players will start on one end of the ice, about 12-feet apart from one another, facing the boards.
- Starting on their left foot, players will use the inside and outside edges of their skate to generate momentum and power while skating backwards
- While focusing on edgework, players will simultaneously work on stick handling: transferring the puck from the exterior to the interior of their sticks
- Once players reach the end of the ice, they will turn around and repeat this drill on their right foot
- The next three players will take position and execute this drill
- Rotate through players for 10-12 minutes
Hockey Passing Drills
Setup: Place four cones on the face-off dots in the middle of the ice
- Select 2 players to first run this drill (for 2 minutes straight)
- Players will move back and forth laterally between the cones, making both straight and diagonal passes to each other without stopping
- Note: Passes should be timed. I.e., Player 1 should time their pass so it arrives at the cone the same time player 2 does
Setup: Have 5 players stand equal distance apart around the red circle, with the coach standing in the middle of one circle and an assistant coach standing in the middle of another circle.
- The coach will start by passing the puck to any player in the circle
- The receiving player will have to properly cushion the puck, and then they will pass it across the circle to another player at random
- Run through this drill for 5-7 minutes
Pass Around-the-Clock Drill
Evaluating skills during hockey tryouts is a critical component to building a successful team. By focusing on drills that showcase players’ passing, skating, shooting, positioning, and game sense, it becomes easier to identify athletes who are adept on ice.
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• Game Sense
2. Select evaluators 1 week before and communicate with them (i.e., run through the drills and explain what they should look for at each station they are evaluating).
3. Focus on positive relationships. Aside from coaching hockey tryouts, take the time to get to know athletes and provide verbal tips for improvement when you can.