Teaching Skills Through Progressions

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1 AGES 10 AND UNDER Teaching Skills Through Progressions LESSON WORKBOOK TY HENNES

2 2 INTRODUCTION At this level, the main focus is on the continued development of fundamental skills such as skating, puckhandling, passing and receiving and shooting. The better a player can skate, the more success he or she will have in playing the game. A great deal of skill development can be done through games and relay races. For example, when playing soccer on the ice, players are working on agility, balance, coordination, body control, spatial awareness and body contact. They are also having fun in a competitive environment. Players this age are in the Learn to Train phase of development. This is a critical stage for sports skill acquisition. Therefore, the focus must remain on the refinement and continued development of the basic skills of the game. The coach should remember that a 10-year-old is only a 10-year-old once and it s imperative to maximize opportunities for skills training and general athletic development. Key Points A player will be much more effective in all aspects of the game when he or she can execute a variety of skills with the puck. Think puck friendly. The coach should incorporate lots of activities with the puck including: o Skating forward o Skating backward o Mirror drills one player mimics another, both players have their own puck. o Read and react o Turns, pivots and escapes with the puck o Accelerating with the puck The coach can incorporate more read and react activities where players attack moveable objects. Or they are forced to read and react as someone moves towards them. A greater focus can be placed on skating backwards with the puck while also executing pivots and escapes. The coach should continue to stress passing and receiving skills. Stick pressure is generally an under-developed skill in young players and is a huge component of receiving. The progression of these skills begins with the players in stationary positions before they start moving. It is also important to develop backhand skills in young players. Players should focus on cupping the puck and maintaining balance on the follow through. Give-and-go is a concept that begins to play a role. It s a big part of the game involved with odd-man situations, triangulation and power play situations to name a few. These skills can be enhanced through small-area games. Players need to remember to move their feet. Encourage players to move and avoid admiring their passes. Incorporate activities and small area games where players battle for possession of the puck. Too often, our coaches want to introduce young players to tactical parts of the game such as systems. Keep in mind, systems and concepts are useless if players can t execute the basic fundamentals of the game such as skating, passing and shooting. Practices need to replicate games so the training will transfer. Think skill teaching Think skill development Think skill progressions

3 3 Building Blocks of Skills Skating (without stick) Balance Knee Flexion Introduce stick principles (stick height, stick position, hand position) Cupping the puck moving it side to side Body balance and passing the puck Shooting In order to develop skills, the player needs to Have fun and enjoy the game Be challenged Receive positive reinforcement from the coach Experience success in order to build self-esteem Have repetition and reinforcement Have lots of opportunities for unstructured play Be introduced to concepts of cooperation and sportsmanship Practice skills in game-like situations, develop hockey sense Make practice challenging, the game becomes easier. TEACHING PROCESS One of our main objectives in working with youth hockey players is to expose them to effective methods of skill development in a fun environment. The outcome is measured by improvement in skill levels. Here are some recommended teaching principles the coach can use to reach the desired outcome. 1. The learning process begins where the learner is and not where the coach might hope him /her to be. Children should not be expected to perform the mature pattern of a skill right away as they are not miniature adults. 2. Too much detail will often confuse the players. Keep things simple. 3. Children learn at different rates and in different ways. Along these lines, people communicate in vastly different styles. Personalize as much of your instruction as you can. Provide useful feedback to each athlete regarding how to improve. 4. Repetition will consolidate learning as long as the skill is repeated correctly. Correction needs to be individual, short and positive. 5. Although activities are great for skills development, by themselves they do not ensure learning. Any drill or exercise must be understandable and meaningful to the learner. 6. Players tend to practice strengths. The coach should encourage players to work on all their skills. Be positive with correction and reinforce the attempt to improve often. 7. Design activities that simulate game-like situations. Two Teaching Approaches There are two approaches commonly used in teaching simple skills: 1) Imitation 2) Demonstration/explanation followed by practice and feedback

4 4 The Imitation Method Simple imitation is often the best way for players to learn. It requires them to focus on what is to be imitated or copied. Watch this Try it. Often the imitation is as accurate as it needs to be. You should then confirm it: Yes. That s it. Now remember that. If necessary, have it practiced several times. When minor corrections are required, point them out in a clear, matter-of-fact way. If players have trouble picking up the correct action or movement, then you should realize that, for some reason, it is not as simple as expected. The Demonstration/Explanation/Practice/Correction Method This method is used extensively. It involves these steps: Demonstrate first with minimal explanation: Watch this. Be careful to stand like this, and then shoot the puck. Try it. Allow for practice. Observe carefully, looking for correct features and common errors. Provide feedback while practice continues, if possible. If you must, stop practice and confirm correct actions and, if necessary, make suggestions to correct errors. Allow further practice and correct in more detail, if necessary. Mentors The coach can use players from an older age group to practice with a younger team and demonstrate drills. Younger players get the opportunity to practice with a player they might admire and see it takes to advance to the next level. The mentor players get extra ice time while developing leadership skills. FUNDAMENTAL SKILLS FOR STICKHANDLING Wrist Roll and Cupping The Puck Every time the player moves the puck from side to side, it is essential to roll the wrists. It is this rolling of the wrists that will enable the blade of the stick to cup the puck, which results in increased puck control.

5 5 Split Vision Split or peripheral vision refers to the ability to see the puck on the stick without looking directly at it. The player s eyes are up reading the play and what options are available. Indirectly, the player sees the puck out of the bottom of the eyes. Basic Stickhandling Basic stickhandling is passing and receiving to oneself. Have the player concentrate on sliding the puck (don t slap the puck). Rolling the wrist and cupping the blade over the puck will result in the ability to control the puck better. The position of the puck on the stick is in the middle part of the blade. Have the players develop a feel for the puck by stickhandling 12 to 18 inches.

6 6 PASSING AND RECEIVING The skill of passing and receiving extends puck control from an individual to a team skill. Two important sets of skills are necessary the delivery of the puck and the reception of it. Both are equally important. Forehand Passing The forehand pass begins with the player in a solid, ready position. His or her eyes must be up and looking at his intended target. The blade of the stick must cup or cradle the puck. Start the passing action for the forehand pass from behind the back foot (Figure 14-1). The blade should be kept on the ice. Encourage the player to sweep rather than slap the puck. The desired result is a sweep and follow through toward the intended target with the blade of the stick kept low to the ice. The puck should begin near the heel of the blade and roll down the blade as the stick is swept forward. The resulting spin on the puck is necessary to keep it flat on the ice. The accuracy of the pass is controlled by the follow through. The player should end the pass with the toe of his or her stick pointing at the intended target.

7 7 Look Slide Guide-Point Key Elements The head is up with the eyes focused on the target. The blade of the stick should cup the puck. Use a sweeping (not slapping) action. The puck moves from the heel to the toe of the blade. Follow through low, pointing toward the intended target. Common Errors Passer is looking at the puck, not the target The puck starts at the toe of the blade, not the heel The passer slaps the puck Shortened or no follow through Backhand Passing The backhand pass is similar to the forehand pass and the key elements listed above are the same. It is, however, a bit more difficult. The backhand pass involves looking at the target, using a sweeping action of the stick across the body to propel the puck, and a deliberate follow through towards the target. If the intended target is in front of the passer, he or she must follow through by rolling the wrists over, pointing the heel of the stick at the target. The puck begins on the backhand side. The hands are away from the body and the blade is cupped over the puck. Note that the shoulders are rotated toward the puck. The shoulders returning to a normal position, plus a pulling action of the lower hand, provide the sweeping action of the stick.

8 8 Pass Receiving Being able to receive a pass is equally as important as being able to make one. There are three keys to successfully receiving a pass: right angle give cup Foreward Receiving Pass The receiver must learn to move the blade of the stick out toward the puck in preparation for receiving the pass. Just prior to (or at the point) of contact, move the blade in the same direction as the pass to allow the puck to gently come in contact with the stick blade. When a pass comes to either the backhand or forehand side, the reception techniques are basically the same. The player should keep his head up, watch the puck, and keep the stick on the ice. As the puck reaches the stick blade, the blade should be at a right angle to the line of the pass, cupped, and allowed to give by relaxing the wrists. This giving with the puck promotes control by allowing the momentum of the puck to be gradually absorbed. Key Elements The angle between the blade and the line of the pass should be 90 degrees. The blade must give to maintain puck control. The blade should be cupped over the puck as it glides along the ice. Backward Receiving Pass Common Errors The stick blade is not held perpendicular to the direction of the incoming puck. The blade of the stick is left open (top of blade angled away from the puck s direction), allowing the puck to bounce over the stick blade. The player s wrists are held stiff, causing the puck to rebound off the blade. The player fails to cup the puck.

9 9 NOTEPAD:

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