Hockey: Better Ways to Organize Your Hockey and Skating Classes

Hockey: Better Ways to Organize Your Hockey and Skating Classes

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

Skating and hockey lessons are often presented in a rigid, systematic way that creates boredom for the kids, especially over a period of 50 minutes.

However, I've discovered that skating instruction can be fun for the young hockey player. As part of our curriculum for skating and hockey instruction at Selwyn House School, I've assembled a fun curriculum to develop skating skills and build each boy's confidence prior to playing serious team hockey.

In this article we'll discuss some of the methods we use to keep things fun for a large class when ice time and space are limited.

Organizing a Sample Class Period
    Here's a representative lesson plan from our school or community program (7 to 9 year olds):
5' -     Warm-up using “A” format (around the ice).
10 -    Balance & edge instruction using “B” format (up and down the ice).
20' -    Manipulative games using five stations:  quick turns, pivots, puck control, parallel stops, small ice games.
8' -    Low organized game.
7' -      1/2 ice game (4 nets).
Total time = 50 minutes

In this article, I'll discuss how to incorporate balance and edge drills and manipulative games into your practice sessions.

Learning Balance and Edges
    Our physical education teachers use two methods to teach our first skill stage called “learning balance and edges.”

    Format A
    Format A
  1. Format “A”
    In the first method (Format “A”) your entire class/team skates around a series of eight cones placed on the eight buttons of the circles and blue lines. They perform their edge and balance activities between the blue lines as the teacher gives the necessary verbal instructions from the center circle.
  2. Format “B”
    The second method (Format “B”) is organized by dividing your class into groups of three students.  Each group of three lines up at one end of the ice.

    The students again perform their task between the blue lines, however, the group works up and down the ice. When each player returns to his line, the next student continues with the exercise.

    This method is very effective because fewer students are in full view of the teacher for a longer period of time. In addition, I've discovered that students work a little harder with a peer by their side. The rest/work ratio is 1 in 3, therefore benefiting your team/class fitness level.
Format B
Format B

Balance & Edge Exercises
    Here's a list of exercises that will develop balance and edge skills and give your group more confidence on their skates.  Increased speed can be a simple but effective progression. Perform with or without hockey sticks.
•    Jump over blue lines (1 foot, 2 feet).
•    Run on skates, blue line to blue line.
•    Touch blue line, red line, blue line (with both gloves).
•    Slide on bum at red line (up quickly).
•    Squat down from red line to blue line (ask them to drive a car).
•    Dive at red line (up quickly).
•    Do the moonwalk (backwards) blue line to blue line.
•    Slide on knees at red line (stand up quickly).
•    Walk over blade of stick (inside foot first).
•    360° turns at blue lines.
•    Two foot stops at blue lines (in pairs—have partners face each other when they stop).
•    Backward pivots at blue line (touch red line on way by with the glove).
•    180° (1/2) turns at blue-lines with quick pivots.

Organization of Manipulative & Confrontational Games for Simultaneous Execution on Your Ice Surface
Organization of Manipulative & Confrontational Games for Simultaneous Execution on Your Ice Surface

Manipulative & Confrontational Games
You can maximize your class time by using manipulative exercises—drills which develop specific skills and maintain interest by stimulating the competitive nature of your players.

These drills make efficient use of the ice by using the five face-off circles as teaching zones for different skills.  Ideally each zone should have a different parent, coach or older student to supervise. Be sure these assistants are prepared before class begins.

Drills you could use include quick turns, stops, dives or pivots, 2 on 2, and 3 on 3 (see diagram).
[Ed: If you can't get assistants for your class, options include using teaching students to be group leaders for the demonstration of the drills, posting explanatory drill cards at each area or running the same drills simultaneously at each area so you can demonstrate them from the centre circle].   

Contributor: Steve Mitchell is a physical education teacher, coach and athletic director at Selwyn House School in Westmount, Quebec.  He developed the school's four hockey programs and the curriculum to develop skating at the elementary levels (skating & hockey is offered at all levels, grades 1-11).
A former university player at Bishop's University and McGill in the 70's, he has his Level IV Coaching certification and many years experience with hockey schools, including his own summer hockey school in Montreal's south shore community of Greenfield Park.

To download the pdf version of this
article, click here: Download Now

© 2010, Physical Education,

Bookmark and Share

Printer-Friendly Format