3 Small Area Games that Create Game-Like Experiences

Dan Arel

Dan Arel is the Director of Coaching Education and Development for the San Diego Oilers and head coach of their 12U A team. He was also named the 2020 San Diego Gulls Foundation's Coach of the Year. You can email him at [email protected]

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Recreate the speed of skating, the movement, and even the need for quick passing in a few simple drills.
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When working in smaller areas, either half-ice or station based, it can seem harder to recreate the game-like experience players have on the ice. But this isn’t actually the case, seeing as how the game is generally played in small areas around the ice. The lack of speed in a station, or the sense of urgency to win a race in a smaller area, however, can sometimes be missing.

And in youth hockey, you’re also dealing with onlooking parents who want to see what they believe hockey should look like.

Yet in small areas, or even just half ice, you can recreate the speed of skating, the movement, and even the need for quick passing in a few simple drills. These three drills offer skating speed, coupled with a game, a drill that focuses on getting open and moving to empty ice as quickly as you can, as well as one that tightens a players mobility while forcing quick passes and even quicker decision making.

Bubble Hockey

We will start with a station based drill we refer to as bubble hockey, which will make sense soon. In this drill, you have two players inside the circle, and while they can move around, they actually cross centre ice. We can draw centre ice with a marker, spray paint, or even just cones on the outside to designate where the line is.

Recreate the speed of skating, the movement, and even the need for quick passing in a few simple drills . . .

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