I always get asked this question, “What is better to use, half ice or full ice for drills?” Well I guess all depends on what you are working on, what kind of team you have and the availability of ice. It doesn’t matter if you are using half the ice or full ice the role of the coach is to teach the player(s) the proper techniques. The role of the player is to concentrate, learn and refine his hockey skills. With using half ice drills the coach can be more time efficient by running several drills at the same time.

Now lets take a look at a proposed half ice practice developed by my colleague P.J. Gammarano and myself, Coach Nye.


Warm – Up

Light skate and stretch always done before any heavy activity-skating and puck handling. Quick Feet-Quick Hands

Skid Stops-Line to Line

Starting the practice with some heavy skating to get the players heart pumping and to work on their edges. Make sure to have the players sticks kept on the ice in front of them so they aren’t flying from side to side. Have the players skate from, – goal line to blue line

- blue line to red line

- red line to blue line

- back to originating goal line

Perform drill at full speed and work on both sides of edges.

Half-ice Drills

All drills are to help the player raise their skill level. The drills should be done at full speed, with heads up and stickhandling with a peripheral vision puck view.

1. One – one –  Zero

Divide the team into two groups.The first team who comes across the blue line after the last goal is scored wins the relay.

- On the whistle, first player on each team goes in the goalie and tries to score, player keeps shooting until a goal is scored.

- after a goal is scored the scoring player skates outside the blue line picks up another puck and goes in with the second player for a 2 on 0.

- Continue three – on – zero, etc., until all plaers in line have gone.

- Each player must touch the puck before a shot on net follows.

2.  Three – On – One  (Helps defenseman work on his skills) Developing Defenseman’s Skills

- have 3 players on one D-man, nobody can cross the centerline

- when the D-man gets the puck, he passes across the line to the next 3 players waiting.

3.  Three – On – Two

- same situation as the 3 on 1 drill

4.  Corner pass to D-man for Shot

- From the corners start a forward passing to a D-man who is skating backwards back to the blueline.

- as the D-man comes back to the blue line with the puck he will cross over or slide along the line until he comes to the middle and then makes a timing shot on net.

- as the D-man is taking his shot the forward from the corner has skated up along the outside of the face-off circle and is heading towards the net to screen the goalie for a tip-in.

5.  Shoot-Out  Pavel Datsyuk’s Magic

Great drill with great fun for the players. They don’t realize that they are working on several skills through it all.

- skater goes in on the goalie for a play on net (shot or deke)

- if the goalie makes the save, that skater is eliminated. If the skater scores he moves onto the next round.

- continue until there’s a winner

- try to give the goalie adequate time between shooters.


So there you have it, a quick half-ice practice laid out really for any age team.

Until next time.

See you after the game,

Coach Nye