Youth Conditioning Drills (without the Bag Skate)

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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For game play, you can really find conditioning in most drills if your practice is set up to have as many players as possible in action at the same time.
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When I grew up playing hockey through the 90s, our conditioning came through grueling skating drills, like full ice bag skates at full speed or doing drills such as lines (or sometimes known as a ladder drill).

Today, we don’t see this utilized as much – and for good reason. USA Hockey’s ADM system recommends getting away from bag skates, but also for younger skaters, they simply are not fun and will lead to practices kids don’t want to participate in, and at the end of the day, they don’t teach much. We don’t need to bag these kids to build stamina. Instead, we can put better conditioning into drills. Doing this allows coaches to make the most of ice time, and still focus on conditioning.

For game play, you can really find conditioning in most drills if your practice is set up to have as many players as possible in action at the same time . . .

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