The word “hockey” typically brings to mind thoughts of stick-slashing, goal scoring and crushing checks in the winter. But what if we took away all that stuff? What if we focused more on speed skating skills and shooting instead?
That is exactly what you will be learning about in this article! You will learn how to play hockey as an amateur or novice player by focusing on your puck control, passing, and shooting skills.
There are many ways to improve your hockey game but none are easier than practicing, practicing, and then practicing some more. The best way to do this is through drills, exercises, and games. This article has several tips for improving your hockey skill set.
You can read these articles out loud and refer back to them later, or you can simply bookmark the page and come back to it at a later time. Either method will work just fine.
Work on your shot
Most people start working on their hockey game when they realize how poor their shooting is, or how many goals they’ve lost because of it. While improving your scoring touch is important, practicing your stick-on-stick shots can help you improve your overall game.
Many beginner players struggle with what are referred to as “shot types.” These include net-front targets like slapshots, backhands, toe drag, wrist pullers, and even goal-scoring hits. If you can’t hit one of these well, then chances are you won’t be able to score much either.
Practice taking good quality shots from different angles and distances until you get them right. Once you do, try changing up your styles and see if you can find one that works for you.
This is one of the most important things you can do as a hockey player. If you watch professional games, it seems like they are constantly switching up their defensive assignments. That is because defenders have different responsibilities in each zone of the ice.
As a young player, this may be difficult for you to understand. You want to go out there and play offense, so why should you worry about defense? Well, that’s just not how it works.
If you want to become a good hockey player, you need to know what your job is. You will get better if you learn who does what well, and work hard to emulate them. The best players make learning new techniques easy through repetition.
Defense is a great way to start practicing that. There are three major zones on the rink: off-ice, middle, and forecheck. Each defender has his or her own responsibility within those areas.
Your assignment in any given situation depends on where the attacker comes from, what kind of attack he/she is trying to accomplish, and whether they are playing forwards, midfielders, or goalies. All of these factors determine which side of the ice you are assigned to cover.
There are also different strategies depending on the situation, but overall, staying tight to your man is the best bet.
One of the biggest weaknesses that many hockey players have is their lack of patience. They try to play through mistakes instead of changing strategies or positions because they make the wrong choice with the puck too often.
If you are just starting out as a young player, spend time working on your patience. This will take some practice but eventually it can be improved upon enough so that you do not need to change strategies due to poor decision making with the puck.
For more experienced players, work on being patient with yourself. Sometimes you will make bad decisions and things will go wrong, but that does not mean you should give up. Keep trying until you find success!
Practice patience with yourself before you get the ball in the offensive zone or enter the neutral zone. You may need to wait for a breakaway, for example, or a good opportunity to shoot the puck.
When you do have the chance to make a smart play, take advantage of it. There will be times where nothing seems to be going right, but there will also be times when everything goes perfectly. Use those times to gather extra motivation and confidence.
Relate to your teammates
In hockey, there is an overabundance of individuals that play the game in very different ways. Some are more defensive-minded and use their agility to avoid contact while others love to stick handle and test the mettle of other players.
There’s no wrong way to play the sport, but you can always improve your game by relating to the people around you. The best player I have ever seen was Wayne Gretzky, and what made him special wasn’t just his incredible talent, it was how he interacted with everyone around him.
He played hard every shift and gave his all for the team. He wanted to win so much that he would do whatever it took to make sure his teammates won too. That mentality carried over into off season activities where he would take time out of his schedule to visit anyone who needed it.
His desire to help others inspired many to try hockey and now they are part of the elite league he once belonged to.
Focus on the little things
This is one of the most important tips in this article! If you are looking to improve your hockey game, then start by focusing on the small skills that make up the sport.
The puck will always stay in the game longer if it’s moving so practice keeping it moving and use exercises and games to work on your different skillets.
Practicing shooting with a goalie box or using goalkeepers as targets is an excellent way to do just that.
Working on passing and receiving drills can also be done with a goalkeeper or even a backboard to receive a pass.
And don’t forget about practicing stick control and agility moves such as toe-dragging, cutting, sliding and juggling the puck. All of these can be practiced at any level but require more advanced timing and precision than throwing the ball through the hoop.
Always try to improve your skills
This will happen naturally as you play hockey, so there is no need to make any changes unless you feel that your game has become stale or you are not improving at all. Just because someone else’s skill set seems perfect does not mean it is!
There are always new ways to improve your game whether it is practicing your stick handling, shooting, passing, or skating. Pick one area of the ice every day and work on it for an hour. You can do this before practice, after practice, or even while watching games if you have time.
You can also pick different positions within the position in order to learn something new. For example, if you watch most goaltenders handle the puck a lot more quickly than you, then trying to imitate their style could be helpful for you. Or perhaps they use their feet a certain way which makes them more stable when playing the puck, maybe you could mimic that.
Whatever your weaknesses are, spend some time on them until you feel comfortable again.
Find a coach that you click with
Finding a hockey player’s coach is one of the most important things you can do in the game. You will spend hours together, so it must be someone who you connect with and believe in.
Your goalie coach is an essential part of your team, as he or she will work closely with you throughout the season. They will teach you the skills of the position, help develop your mind-set and challenge you to improve every day.
A great goalie coach will push you, but they will also motivate you to achieve your goals. They will create a supportive environment where you feel comfortable to make mistakes and learn from them.
Good coaches don’t just talk about playing good hockey — they prove it through their actions and how they prepare themselves before each practice and game.
They are professionals, which means they show up prepared and focused, and they expect the same out of you. But at the same time, they’re very open to new ideas and strategies.
Keep an open mind
Becoming more aware of the game is one of the most important things you can do as a hockey player. There are many different styles of play that work for certain teams, players, and situations. Finding what works for you or your team is just a matter of looking and studying it.
There are several ways to learn about the sport beyond watching games and listening to podcasts. You can read online articles, follow sports media on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, surf through YouTube videos, and attend practices or games to get insights from professionals.
By having an open mind when watching games, attending practice, reading material, and interacting with coaches and other players, you will find solutions and new strategies to improve your game.
You may also encounter some tough conversations or debates about the best way to approach the game.