Soccer coaches have been using small area games, which they call ‘small sided games’ in practice for decades. Keep moving our game forward using cross ice small area games every day! Increase puck touches, simulate game situations and celebrate the chaos of a real game.
Using ‘Hockey Drills 2: Small Area Games’ to plan practice will force players out of their comfort zone and reduce decision making time. It will increase the speed of execution. Full ice drills have merit in 25% of a practice. However the rest of practice should be spent in small zone skill stations like in The Complete Season, our first eBook and App, and teaching through small area competition.
Implementing Cross Ice Small Area Games
We have compiled 26 small area games designed for all levels from Novice to Pro! We find that kids 8+ can grasp the concepts of these small area games very quickly. Players younger than 8 should, and now finally MUST play cross ice and in small areas. However certain rules and conditions we add in these games might be a little bit over their heads, especially in the beginning. Be patient, add conditional passes and small rules as they develop their skating and puck skills.
Pro players and coaches in the NHL and around the world are promoting small area games through Hockey Canada and USA Hockey initiatives, and we hope that you will buy in as well. Your players will thank you for it, and you will see incredible results. I often find that kids with average skills can play ABOVE their level if they have grown up playing lots of small area games in practice. They make plays and have instincts that catch me off guard and surprise me daily in practice!
What is so awesome about playing cross ice using small area games?
When and how should I implement small area games?
We love to end every practice with 1-2 variations of small area games. However we even run small area games clinics for teams, where we play 6 x 10 minute games. The kids have so much get, get so much puck contact, and battle. They can’t believe when 60 minutes are up and practice is over! Consider using this approach 1 x month or 2-3 times throughout the season with your team in your season plan to switch things up. We also run cross ice tournaments in practice where the actual cross ice games used in the mini tournamentCheck out our 26 Small Area Games...