Wednesday Drill of the Week: D Agility

D Agility

Two defenseman skill drills this week. The first one is on the bottom with the shot, the second one is on the top.

First drill is a simple shooting agility drill. Place a barrier directly in front of a defenseman. Place a puck in front of the barrier. The D has to skate forward, pick up the puck and move to either side of the barrier before releasing a shot. Simple fake and pull to either side. This simulates walking a potential shot blocker and finding a lane to deliver the puck to the net.

The second drill is a D breakout agility course. This can be done a variety of ways in a variety of patterns. The one I diagrammed starts with a D at the top of the crease facing up ice. The straight black lines simulate barriers (or some other flat boundry) while the circles are tires. The D escapes from the net front to pick up a puck. He then waits before exiting the other side of the net tight to the cage. A pull fake at the first barrier brings him to the outside where he has to tight stickhandle between three tires (working on long pulls and wide evasive maneuvers). Then skating straight ahead to another barrier, he needs to pump and pull the puck to the outside before pivoting front to back, retreating behind a final barrier and firing an up ice pass hard to a target (can be a coach or a mini-net, etc). This drill can be changed or altered as you see fit – merely a suggestion for ways D can work on their skating and puck fakes while moving the puck up ice on the breaktout.

Both of these drills will work your D on their ability to be agile and maneuver around would-be defenders. Working on deception is something that needs to happen on a regular basis. A strong emphasis on deception creates a D corps that can move the puck and evade forwards with ease.

Wednesday Drill of the Week: Goalie Barrier Walk Out

Barrier Walk out

A goalie drill for this week. Players start in the corner. There is a small bumper or barrier that is placed halfway between the dots and the post with part of it overlapping the goal line. Players skate out of the corner straight at the barrier and then move left or right and attack the net. If they move up ice (away from the goal line) they should look to take a quick shot. If the move below the goal line the play is a tight stuff on the post. To add a degree of difficulty, the player can also wrap to the far side low or walk across the crease high.

This drill is to simulate players walking out of the corner and making tight plays to the net. Goalies may use a variety of post-integration techniques to play this situation. Personally, I would advocate for a tight lean with a great post seal. This allows the goalie to easily move off the line on a walk out or a wrap, while also sealing the short side in the event of a stuff. Critical to any post-integration technique is proper execution. Goalies must ensure they have a tight seal on the post with their body and pad.

Why I Love Mornings

Calm. Quiet.

Filled with potential.

A fresh start, a new opportunity.

A blank canvas ready to be painted by today’s art.

Mornings offer an opportunity for introspection, planning and thought. Before the hustle and the bustle of the day takes over, mornings are a chance for personal time and creative work. Carpe Diem.

Set the Tone

How do you start your day?
How do you start a project? A meeting? A practice? A game?
How do you start anything?

You need to set the tone. Set the tone for how you are going to approach things. Set the tone for yourself and for anyone else you are working or meeting with.

Do you start your day off by hitting snooze five times or do you get out of bed and get things rolling? Either way, you set the tone for your day.

Do you listen to talk radio or soft rock in the morning or do you choose some music that gets your blood flowing and mind going?

Do you attack challenges and get excited for meetings or do you think “ugh, another meeting/project I don’t want to do”?

Do you start practice with a bang? Three hard strides on the ice and then off and running or do you coast around and sauce pucks into the net?

These are all choices that set the tone. You’re always deciding between bringing energy and enthusiasm or lethargy. Set the tone for everything you do. Energy is contagious and it can radically alter you day.

The choice is yours. Set the tone.

Wednesday Drill of the Week: Jackson Conditioning

Jackson Conditioning

This week: A skill drill that includes a conditioning element. The drill starts with X1 and X2 sprinting to the far blueline and stopping, then sprinting the other way. Coach passes to X1, who drives and shoots far pad. X2 crashes for a rebound. After the rebound play, a coach passes the puck to X2 who has popped into soft spot for a catch and shoot. Coach then leaves a puck behind the net for X1 to pick up, cut back and then wrap to the far side. After the wrap, both X’s sprint back to lines.

This drill involves a number of skills and skating agility pieces and also adds some conditioning for your team. A fun way to get some skill and skating work in at the end of practice. Also good for the goalies, as they have an opportunity to play a far pad rebound, a catch and shoot in the slot and then a wraparound.

Wednesday Drill of the Week: Defensemen Shooting

Agility Traffic Shooting

Two defensemen shooting drills this week. The first drill is on top, the second drill is on the bottom. Both drills are not quite drawn to scale in order to better illustrate the diagrams.

The first drill is an agility skate. Place a pile of pucks at the dot, with three cones in the corresponding zig-zag pattern. The D skates the pattern always facing the net and with their eyes up the entire time (major point of emphasis). Forward skate to retrieve a puck, transition to backwards and skate around the inside cone, then the outside cone, then walk the line. The net should be positioned in a manner such that the shot has to come through the lane between the first two cones. This creates a shooting target for the D – they are not merely trying to put a puck on net, but get it through a certain area.

The second drill on the bottom is a pure shooting drill. The goal is to get pucks through to the net and teach the D never to get their shots blocked. The shooter starts at the blue line. The blocker/passer starts at the faceoff dot. There are a number of progressions to this drill. In the first one, the shooter starts in line with the hash marks and facing the player who will pass the puck. The passer zips a pass out and then skates straight at the shooter, who has to get a shot on net without getting it blocked. The passer cannot go down to attempt to block the shot, merely skate straight at the shooter with stick out and shins in shooting lane. The shooter is allowed to take a step to either side in an attempt to get the shot through. The second and third variations start with more of an angle – the shooter starts on the wall or in the middle of the ice and the blocker/passer skates in an angling pattern to one side or the other attempting to influence the shooter to move/shoot in that direction. The shooter should always attempt to provide false information and a little movement to get the shot though to the net.

Jon Gordon: 5 Ways to Think Like a Champion

I subscribe to Jon Gordon’s weekly newsletter. I love the messages I get in my inbox weekly. He sent a great one this week about how to think like a champion. Check it out:

5 Ways to Think Like a Champion

I meet and learn from Champions every day. Not just in locker rooms but in classrooms, hospitals, homeless shelters, homes and office buildings. I’ve learned that to be a champion you must Think Like a Champion. Champions think differently than everyone else. They approach their life and work with a different mindset and belief system that separates them from the pack.

1. Champions Expect to Win – When they walk on the court, on the field, into a meeting or in a classroom they expect to win. In fact they are surprised when they don’t win. They expect success and their positive beliefs often lead to positive actions and outcomes. They win in their mind first and then they win in the hearts and minds of their customers, students or fans.

2. Champions Celebrate the Small Wins – By celebrating the small wins champions gain the confidence to go after the big wins. Big wins and big success happen through the accumulation of many small victories. This doesn’t mean champions become complacent. Rather, with the right kind of celebration and reinforcement, champions work harder, practice more and believe they can do greater things.

3. Champions Don’t Make Excuses When They Don’t Win – They don’t focus on the faults of others. They focus on what they can do better. They see their mistakes and defeats as opportunities for growth. As a result they become stronger, wiser and better.

4. Champions Focus on What They Get To Do, Not What They Have To Do – They see their life and work as a gift not an obligation. They know that if they want to achieve a certain outcome they must commit to and appreciate the process. They may not love every minute of their journey but their attitude and will helps them develop their skill.

5. Champions Believe They Will Experience More Wins in the Future – Their faith is greater than their fear. Their positive energy is greater than the chorus of negativity. Their certainty is greater than all the doubt. Their passion and purpose are greater than their challenges. In spite of their situation champions believe their best days are ahead of them, not behind them.

If you don’t think you have what it takes to be a champion, think again. Champions aren’t born. They are shaped and molded. And as iron sharpens iron you can develop your mindset and the mindset of your team with the right thinking, beliefs and expectations that lead to powerful actions.

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