*Note - No Goalies Are Required For This Practice*
Optional Ball Progressions (For First-Timers): do drills using dodgeballs, volleyballs, or basketballs, whiffle balls (using bare hand or top-hand only), high density foam balls (using bare hand or top hand only), SWAX balls (using bare hand or top-hand only), real balls (using bare hand or top hand only - incorporate bounce passes)
Pre-Practice: (20 min - Optional):
- Demo Stick Stringing - How To Create And Maintain A Usable Stick – 20 Minutes Prior To Practice
Variation #3B: "Follow The Stick" (With Balls)
- Have players stand (with nobody else within arm’s length) in two different groups, in opposite ends of the floor, with the assistant coaches instructing them to follow their stick (forward, back-pedal, side-shuffle), with players doing "stutter-steps" on the coaches whistle (two whistles signals the end).
- Players should maintain the athletic position throughout the drill.
- Emphasize quick feet and explosive weight transfer.
- Informally correct the posture of any noticeably bad athletic positions among the group.
- Have players sprint to the opposite end of the floor and repeat the drill in front of the other coach. Each sequence of movements should last between 30-45 seconds (giving players the feel for what an average shift would be like).
*Variation #1 (2 min): "Loose Ball."
- Demo (1 min): "Attacking the Ball"
- Have players line up in pairs 10-15 metres apart, rolling (underhand motion - with their hand if necessary) a ball back and forth.
- Keep track of the number of successfully completed loose balls in a minute.
- As players progress, coaches can have players practice different techniques ("trap & scoop," "scoop, tuck & turn," "scoop to triple-threat position"); have players give their partner some tricky bounces.
- Coaches should circulate around the group and give each player positive reinforcement based on the Loose Ball Skill Analysis, as well as an area in need of improvement.
- *Variation #2 (2 min): "Loose Ball & Cradle."
*not shown in diagram*
- Scoop the loose ball and then cradle around your partner.
- Alternate back and forth. Could also do this variation as a relay race.
*Most common error = Waiting for the ball to arrive instead of pursuing it forward
Variation #2: "Long Pass."
- Start at 10 metres apart (then 15m, then 20m).
- On longer passes have young players start with a crow hop, similar to a long throw to home plate in baseball (“throw the ball high and far on a 45° angle").
- As players get farther away from each other the release point (where the ball comes out of the stick) will have to be slightly further behind the players head (ear) in order for the pass to make it to the target in the air; especially for younger/weaker players.
- Be sure that partners give a target to pass to, while otherwise following the technique from the Catching Skills Analysis.
Variation #3A to #3C:
"Dynamic Pass" (Just Passer/Just Receiver/Both).
- Progress to just the passer running toward the receiver from a starting distance of 15m away (if beginner), passing to a stationary receiver, then backpedaling back to their original starting position (Variation #3A).
- Next , practice with just the receiver running toward the passer, with the passer using basic footwork (left and right) before making the pass. The player that receives the pass then back-pedals back to their starting position, and their partner repeats said actions (Variation #3B).
- Another variation is for both partners to run towards each other, make a pass and then continuing to run forward to the other side (Variation #3C).
Variation #4A: "Face Away." (Stationary)
- Start with one partner facing away from the other partner, looking back to receive a pass over their back shoulder (still showing a target).
- After passing the ball, both partners switch relative positions, with the former passer now facing away and catching the ball over their shoulder while "stationary" (Variation #4A).
- Water Break = 2 minutes
Variation #4: "Set-Shooting." ("Overhand")
- Demo (1 min): Set Shooting (Time & Space, Crow Hop)
- Spread players out as evenly as possible across the floor space, starting 15 metres away from the boards (or a wall), picking a spot to aim for, getting comfortable with the release point of the stick.
- Progressively try shooting the ball at “the wall” with more power.
- Remember to start perpendicular to the boards, take a "crow hop," rotate hips/shoulders/trunk and snap wrists.
Variation #1C: "All @ Once." (Progressively Further Game)
*similar to top diagram*
- Demo (2 min): Set-Shooting ("Crow Hop") - Proper floor side, Prime Scoring Area, Time & Space
- Arrange players, in both ends of the floor, into an arc (semi-circle) formation; starting 5 metres back from the crease.
- Younger players can start a little bit closer to the net than intermediate & advanced players.
- Have all players shoot from the same distance every time, keeping track of the total number of goals scored; trying to get score more each time through.
- If more goals are scored, everyone moves further away; if less goals are scored, everyone takes a step forward.
- Continue until players score more goals then the round before, from 20m away.
Variation #1: "Weave."
*left-side of diagram*
- Create a lengthwise (north-south) pylon formation on both sides of the floor and arrange players into 2 lines of equal numbers.
- For beginners, have a relay race around the pylons, touching the far-end boards then sprinting back to the start, while cradling the ball with the best technique possible (See Cradling Drill #2).
- Roll or pass the ball to the next player in line; next player cannot go until the player ahead of them crosses goal-line-extended.
- Continue the drill until every player has gone.
Variation #1B: "No Rebounds."
- Start with a large amount of balls on the ground inside of the face-off circle, with a pylon stationed in "the middle" (10-12 metres back from the net).
- Arrange players evenly, in one or both ends of the floor depending on numbers.
- Have them stationed on their proper floor sides (lefts & rights), in both corners, behind goal-line-extended (GLE).
- Other players set to go in this drill should be against the boards, tucked tightly in the corner to avoid getting hit by balls.
- This drill should be performed as a set-shot.
- On the whistle the first player in each line needs to run to centre-floor, pick up a loose ball, and run back toward the goal in the end they started from.
- Players must take a shot before the pylon for it to count, and before the next player in line can go.
- The first team to 10 goals wins ("hitting the post" counts for 2).
Variation #3: "Free For All."
*similar to diagram*
- Place a garbage can in the middle of the face-off circle (if no garbage can is available, another option is aiming to get the ball into a basketball net - if in a school gym).
- Have all players on one side of the restraining lines (coaches on the other side actively collecting balls to send back to the players).
- Lines should be an appropriate distance away from the garbage can, depending on age and skill level. Place pylons on the ground to mark the start of each line, where required.
- All players can throw balls as they are returned by coaches, and players can battle for the loose balls (no slashing) until somebody corrals one (at which point they are free to shoot).
Variation #1B: "Single Line." (With Balls)
- Discussion (1 min): Fitness
- Start with the entire team in a line along the boards (1 metre away). Players jog at the same speed around the outside of the box, with the player at the back of the line sprinting up to the front of the line (with balls - cradling). - The only rule, for all drill variations, is no stepping in the crease (add an extra minute of running for each time it happens).
- Once this player reaches the front of the line, the next player at the back of the line begins their sprint.
- Be sure to have the lines switch directions at the half way point of the jog, predetermined prior to the team cardio session .