Using your Environment to Improve Team Speed

Drills and small area games designed to help your team use their surroundings.

Today’s players have skill sets far above even the most skilled players from 10 years ago. Their puck handling ability is off the charts. However, with time and money spent on specialized individual training, one skill that has dissipated is the ability to make proper pass decisions.

Even at the pro level, players try to force direct passes when they could be using their environment and executing area or indirect passes. Back in the days of protractors in elementary schools and ‘shooting stick’ at the local pool hall, players were more comfortable moving pucks off the boards or into space. Being cognizant of what hand the player shoots to determine what area to move the puck seems, at times, to be a lost art. Putting pucks into good areas can improve your ability to receive pucks and maintain possession, as opposed to puck touches on uncontrolled entries.

Learning to move the puck effectively and efficiently can add fluidity to your team’s game and help to improve your overall team speed and possession time. In this article, I have put together some drills and small area games to help your team use their surroundings, whether it is using the boards and/or anticipating potential plays and moving pucks into space. 


Bank Pass Drill

  • 1st skater swings out and around blueline dot 
  • 1st skater regroups at the dot and one-touch passes puck back to 2nd player and swings to the boards (keep a lane off the wall) 
  • 2nd player swings out and makes indirect pass off the wall for 1st player to pick up and shoot at the far end 
  • Drill is continuous and repeats like an assembly line drill

Drills and small area games designed to help your team use their surroundings . . .



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Scott Dutertre

Scott Dutertre is a professional hockey coach based in Saskatoon, SK. He has been a Skating and Skills Coach for 24 years in addition to coaching junior and college hockey. He is a National Skating and Skills Coach for Ice Hockey Australia and has trained countless professional hockey players. Scott is currently Assistant Coach of the Tulsa Oilers in the ECHL, and was recently the Associate Coach for the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL. He can be found at

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