I’ve played and coached hockey over the last twenty years, and in that time I’ve found the very best hockey shooting drills to be:
- One on one big arc back checking
- Cross ice 3 pass and shoot drill
- Power turn give and go
- Shot hockey warm up drill
- Leafs warm up drill
- 2 on 0 escape
- Swedish shooting drill
- Double pass drill
- Round the dot shot
- Cycle down low with shot
In this post, I’ll describe exactly how to play each of these high-performance drills. These games combine:
- Skating skills
- Shooting in a range of contexts
- Dribbling combined with shooting
Let’s dive into the ten best ice hockey shooting drills:
1. One on One Big Arc Back Checking
This is a pretty simple drill, but with a few subtleties that make it stand out amongst others.
The 1 on 1 big arc backchecking has a simple setup that manages to address many different pieces on the rink, such as lane control, one-timer shots on proper and off wings, as well as body positioning.
The players line up on the corner of the blue lines, where the offensive player is slightly more ahead and in front of the back checker. As the whistle blows, both players have to skate the arc and loop themselves around the cones.
When the offensive player tries to gain positioning and opens up to receive a pass, the defensive player has to keep the other player from receiving the pass from their coach.
One way to change this up is by sending two offensive and two defensive players together to the line at the same time.
2. Cross-Ice 3 Pass and Shoot Drill
If you’re looking to add a little bit of flow in a station setting, then opt for this drill.
One player skates out and receivers a pass from the first player who is in the line. They then touch, pass back, loop, and receive a pass from the other line. You can add a little bit of variation to this by adding a stretch pass in the blue line, depending on how well it’s going!
3. Power Turn Give and Go
Okay, so if you want to work on and practice controlling the puck through a power turn, this is the drill you need to be spending time on.
Once the player goes through simulated traffic, players can explode themselves out in the rink and wait for a give and go from the coach. There are 3 ways to do this: you can power turn through the cones; you can give and go with the coach; or you can choose to drive wide and attack the net.
4. Shot Hockey Warm-Up Drill
Sometime’s it’s a big challenge just to get the players going in the beginning, and this drill goes a long way in helping to get the players’ legs to get going and get energized at the start of their practice.
It involves a little bit of everything: it’s got a high tempo, it has shooting in motion, along with a lot of puck control and skating with agility.
If this doesn’t wake your players up, then what will?
Line up your players in diagonal corners. Upon blowing the whistle, 3 players from each line have to leave together. The 1st player has to drive wide and shoot, while the 2nd player has to cut around the first and second cones in order to shoot from the middle. The 3rd player must cut around the first and third cones, in order to shoot from the far side.
All the shots must be shot from the tops of the circles, and if you want to change things up, then designate players to shoot different types of shots.
5. Leafs Warm-Up Drill
On the hunt for a drill that touches on backward skating, pivots, shooting, passing, and dive skating? Then you’re in the right place.
Leafs warm-up drill is a fun drill that exercises a bunch of different skills of the players. Here’s how it goes.
Players stand on each side of the board’s center. The first player leaves by skating backward, then receives a pass from the second player in the line. After receiving the pass, they skate forward around the cone and open themselves up, driving wide to the net. After shooting, the player lines up on the opposite side.
If you want to switch things up, designate the players to go around the nearest cone instead of the further, or after each pass, the player is required to join for a 2 on 0.
6. 2 on 0 Escape
The variation on the previous drill makes for a nice segue for this shooting drill.
The first thing the player must do is catch a pass in stride while attacking the blue line with speed. The coach can choose to pass to either player, so the players have to not only be focused and pay attention, but they also need to be able to react really quickly to wherever the coach passes the puck.
The player who receives the puck then attacks the blue lines and continues to perform an escape move just inside the blue line.
The other player has to drive to the far post with their stick on the ice, constantly expecting a pass. The player with the puck then throws a pass towards the far post, continuing towards the slot area themselves.
The player who received the pass has to now skate towards the far post into the corner, picking up a loose puck and finding the first player in the slot.
The whole reason that there is a second puck involved is so that more players can continue to follow up to the play, and each player can be part of the drill one by one.
7. Swedish Shooting Drills
In the Swedish shooting drill, each player gets 3 shots.
To begin the drill, the player playing defense receives the puck from the corner and then has to rush and gain the center of the ice as quickly as possible in order to shoot from the top of the slot.
The player then continues to go around the cones, always making sure that they’re facing the net. This act of facing the net forces the players to pivot their bodies so that in order to receive the next pass, they have to skate backwards.
When they receive the next pass, the player has to repeat everything as in the first rep. Upon receiving the third pass, they quickly have to give a pass to their partner, who in turn has to give a pass back in an effort to make a one-time shot near the top of the slot.
The point is to encourage your players to keep their feet, bodies, and the puck moving at all times.
8. Double Pass Drill
This is another excellent warm-up drill that makes your players feel challenged in order to make one-time times and get their shots off inside the blue lines. It places a lot of emphasis on passing and works on it as a team skill.
The player who has the puck has to pass to the first player in the opposite line to them and then skate right across the ice, breaking towards the net when they get towards the middle of the ice arena.
The player who received the first pass now has to give the puck back, as quickly as they possibly can, and then move ahead to pick up a new puck so that they can start the drill all over again by getting in line and passing to the next player in the opposite line.
9. Round the Dot Shot
This is another excellent ice hockey drill that helps players work on some great habits, especially those essential to forward players.
The first step, of course, is for the players to keep their feet moving all the way through the drill. One of the best weapons a forward player can have is the skill to catch a pass and get off of a shot in stride, and that’s what round the dot shot manages to teach.
In the beginning, the players must shoot using their forehand. This way, they’re forced to learn and adjust if they ever have to receive the puck on their off-hand. Moving on, the players can use their backhand to receive the pass on their off-hand.
This drill gives you the chance to encourage your players to use wrist shots, backhand shots, and snapshots as much as they can so that in a real game they’re well-practiced.
10. Cycle Down Low with Shot
If you’ve got players who aren’t as good a team player as you would like, regardless of their own skill level, then give this drill a shot.
In cycle down low with shot, players are encouraged to keep their feet moving, sure, but they’re always encouraged to be aware of where their teammates are at all possible moments in the practice and the game.
One forward has to be in the high slot at all times during this drill, so that in case there’s a turnover, they’re in a good position to handle it.
When the coach blows the whistle, the next player who receives the puck has to pass it to the player that’s now in the high slot. The other two players must now crash the net for a quick rebound.
Keep this in mind: the faster your team managers to perform this drill, the tougher it becomes for the opposing teams to manage their defensive coverage.