How to Keep Players Moving in Practice

We must create practice situations that are ideal for learning and performance.

The more time-on-task there is in practice, the better our players will develop their skills. We want to develop practice plans that maximize movement and minimize standing. As coaches, we want to minimize talking and giving instruction, and get the players moving. This can be done by following “The Coaching Model.”  Ideally, we want our players to be active with skills or drills for 15 – 60 seconds followed by some rest, similar to a game.

The Coaches Model

There are four phases of the Coaches Model:

  1. Demonstration Phase
  2. Practice Phase
  3. Response Phase
  4. Feedback Phase

We must create practice situations that are ideal for learning and performance . . .



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  • I often wonder if players know why they are doing a drill and how they can apply it in a game. Players need to learn this information.

  • Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for reading the article, and thanks for your comment.
    I agree with you about players needing (or wanting) to know how the drill applies to a game situation.
    I see so many drills in practice that really don’t apply specifically to a game … it’s just a drill.

Mike Bracko

Mike Bracko is a skating coach, skating researcher, strength & conditioning coach, and fitness educator. He holds a Doctorate degree in Exercise Science and Biomechanics and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach through the NSCA. He played hockey in the AJHL, BCHL and NCAA (University of Illinois-Chicago). He does skating clinics with 300–400 hockey players every year specializing in 1-on-1, small group, and team skating with male and female players ranging in age from 8 years old to pro players.  He is also the strength & conditioning coach for the USA Men’s Deaflympic hockey team.  [email protected]

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