Wednesday Drill of the Week: Goalie Center Shifts

A very simple drill that works on goaltenders shifting their body weight into the puck. Has a three step progression.

Center Shifts



The drill starts with a goalie in the net and a cone at the center line. A shooter is mid slot and off to one side (just above the hash marks) with pucks. The goalie starts standing up and centered on the cone. The shooter shoots a puck at the net, and the goalie shifts his weight to make the save. The second progression is the goalie starts on his knees and again shifts his center line to the new angle as the shot comes. The third progression is to have the goalie start standing and then drop into a butterfly to make the save.

The concept behind this drill is to work on goaltenders moving their body into pucks – too many goalies rely on extension saves vis a vis a center shift save and moving into the puck. The cone is used as a visual marker for goalies to see how much (or how little) they have moved off their original center line. Goalies should be moving and pushing into every shot, and the drill should work both sides.

Why I Love Hockey Camp

I’ll admit it. I’m a hockey camp junkie. I could do hockey camps every summer for the rest of my life. I’m a big believer in the value of hockey camps and what they bring to the table for a young person no matter what age.

Camps force players outside of their comfort zones. They have to interact with and play with people they have met mere minutes before. They have to become comfortable in a new environment, in a new location and with new coaches. They are given an opportunity to learn from different coaches and leaders – they are exposed to ideas and concepts they may have never seen before. Players are given a first hand look at just where they fit in the pecking order.

As a coach, I love the opportunity that camps present. I love to teach the game of hockey and there is no better place to do that then at hockey camp. During the season, we often get bogged down in strategy and systems almost to a fault. Camp season is when you can work on and train the fundamentals of the game. You can teach proper technique and mechanics. Coaches also have the opportunity to learn from each other in the summer – exchanging ideas and teaching points you use during the season. The free flow of ideas is invaluable for a coaches development.

I love hockey camp for everything it brings to the table. It puts people in new situations where they have to learn to do things in a new or different way. It exposes you to the outside world and challenges you to not only fit in, but find a way to excel. Hockey camp develops young people and coaches in ways that few other things in life can do. That is why you’ll see me on the summer camp circuit for as long as I work in hockey.

Wednesday Drill of the Week: 3v3 on the Circle

Harff 3v1

A simple and competitive tight area drill that is good for all players – goalies can get as much out of this as skaters.

Players can play any position, for explanation the positions are marked differently. The drill is 3v3 on the circle. Only the two players in the circle can play inside of the circle, the other players have to stay on the perimeter. There is a center line that the players cannot cross (blue dashes). When the puck is in play, the X’s attack the net on the right, the O’s attack the net on the left. If the X’s have the puck, the two XF’s and the one XD are playing together in a 3v1 – the one OD is attempting to use his stick/body to defend. On possession, the OD combines with the OF’s to attack the one XD and the net on the left.

The objective is puck movement and quick transition. The ability to get shots off quickly and/or make a quick back door play. Goalies are tested in their ability to compete and battle for pucks around the net and back door.

The Value of Motivation

“Crazy Train” – Ozzy Osbourne
“Welcome to the Jungle” – Guns ‘n Roses
“Enter Sandman” – Metallica
“Lose Yourself” – Eminem
“Can’t Hold Us” – Macklemore

And the list of motivational songs goes on and on…

There are thousands of motivational videos on YouTube – and that’s just in the English language.

Those that truly reach their goals are internally motivated. They have a vision, a dream, an image of what success looks like and they use that as an end result to work towards. They know what success looks, feels, smells and tastes like and they strive to achieve it every day. They have an incredible work ethic and drive that keeps them moving on a daily basis.

So what’s the point? What’s the value of motivation?

Motivation adds gasoline to an already burning fire. It fans the flames on days when it starts to rain. Motivation gives you the extra jump you need to get over the next mountain or through the next valley.

Motivation is critical whenever you start to feel just a little bit complacent. Days when you think things are moving in a good direction and you’re happy with your progress – that’s when you need motivation. When you get a little bit down because things didn’t quite work out for you.

Motivation takes an already driven person and pushes them that much harder – it keeps them sharp and helps them achieve truly new heights.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

Now we’re cooking with gas

Knowing vs Doing

A fantastic read on the Oakland A’s and what makes them successful year after year. A great lesson to be learned here: determine what it is that wins and stick to it despite all distractions and gut reactions. The game isn’t any different for anyone, but those that stick to their principles and build teams in the correct model will have continued success.

Diversity in the Game

Over the last two years, I’ve seen a lot of hockey played in a lot of different rinks around North America. I’ve seen it played by different age groups and ability levels. It quickly became apparent that while the game never changes in it’s objectives, the game is very stylistically different in different areas and leagues.

What areas of the game show the biggest differences? East/West vs North/South play, physicality, work ethic/attention to detail, skill/playmaking, pace of play.

Painting with a very broad brush, the game in New England is a very stop & start, gritty, North/South game. Canada tends to feature more skill/playmaking, East/West play, less grit but more big hits. The Central US centers around a much more disciplined, systemic game with good size and speed. Each region seems to have its elements that it does better than others (and some others that are less desirable). Even the junior leagues in each country have their own style of play.

Most coaches would agree that you want a mix of playing styles in your program. Optimally? Bring in some skill and playmaking from Canada, the work ethic and grit from New England, and some big, strong systems guys from the Midwest. Not only do these players bring different playing styles but they bring different life experiences. Your players will learn and grow from each other when a freshman from Ontario meets someone from Texas while hanging out in the room of a junior from Europe. Diversity enhances your team tactically and socially – a win on all fronts.

Wednesday Drill of the Week: Hobart 2v1 w/Cycle

Hobart 2v1 w Cycle

A multi-part offensive zone skill drill that ends with a 2v1 rush.

Everyone goes out of the same corner, but for simplicity in diagramming I split the drill into top and bottom (in the left side of the rink). F are all in one corner, D at the blue line. F1 pass to D, receive a pass back while accelerating up around the circle. Take a shot on net and stop at the net. F2 pass to the D, get it back, D walk the line and receive a second pass from F2 and take a shot. F2 then receives a 3rd puck from F3 for a 3rd shot.

After the three shots off the circle, F1 and F2 get wide and receive a pass from F3. D gaps and plays F1 and F2 attacking on a 2v1 down ice.

The drill goes out of both ends at the same time – all F’s leave out of opposite corners.


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