Hockey Shooting Drills: A Quick Way to Motivate Players

October 6, 2009


During the course of a practice (especially at the younger ages) it is not uncommon for players to get bored and become sluggish while working on less exciting skills like technical skating. Adding hockey shooting drills into the mix is a great way to liven up your practice and keep your players motivated and up beat. High tempo shooting drills can also help spark some competition and mentally rejuvenate your players during longer practices.

When working with hockey shooting drills, I try to implement a few key points that help my players to get the most benefit possible:

  1. Insist that players keep their feet moving while shooting, or shoot in stride. Many players slow down and glide just before shooting, not only does this announce to the goalie that a shot is coming, but it also gives the backchecker a chance to get a stick on the shooter and mess up the shot. A great habit to get into is shooting in stride!
  2. Drive to the net for rebounds. Coach your players to take their shot, then drive home any rebound. Again, this develops a good habit that will be useful in games!
  3. At the end of a skating drill, try adding a shot. Adding a shot at the end of a skating drill can completely change the drill in the mind of a youngster, motivating him or her to practice all kinds of skills he or she doesn’t really like. I use this a lot when working on backward skating with the really young kids.
  4. Specify what types of shots to use. It is tempting for players to walk the puck all the way in and deke. Even though there is a time and a place for deking, the reality is that most shots in a game will not be from dekes. Sometimes its helpful to designate what type of shot you’d like your players to focus on, and where you’d like to see the shot come from. This will help make sure that players are developing a diverse skill-set around the front of the net.

As you progress through the season, you’ll get a good feel for your team, and you’ll be able to recognize when they need one or two good hockey shooting drills to get them revved back up again. Try these pointers in your next practice and see how it goes!

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