Half Ice Drills For Forwards
To have a successful hockey team, you must have good team members. This will typically start with running drills repeatedly and training your forwards to become the best they can be and help them learn to work well with their teammates.
Seven great half-ice hockey drills for forwards include the Three vs Zero Drive, Three vs Zero Curl, Three vs Zero Trailer, Three vs Zero Dump In, Backside Pass Drill, Cross with a Drop Pass, and Shot and Walkout. These can be made more complicated with defence, and a goalie added to the mix.
Forwards will typically need to run drills that require quick passes and good teamwork with the other forwards. These seven drills will incorporate all of those necessary skills and give them the best opportunity to succeed in real game situations.
This drill is elementary and straightforward and is most recommended for forwards to start on before advancing to more difficult plays. This is most likely going to be the easiest one for most forwards to understand, while still giving them the practice to pass to one another and work as a unit rather than alone.
There will be three forwards along the half-ice line. F1 will be the left-winger, and F3 will be the right-winger, while F2 will be in the center circle. To start, F1 will head down the outside lane. The F2 player will pass F1 the puck just before the blue line before skating hard towards the net.
After the F1 player has received the puck, they will skate hard down the outside lane towards the circle in that zone. Meanwhile, the F3 player will skate wide down the outside lane before cutting in through the circle in their zone.
F1 will pass to the F3 player once they are both in the center of their circles. Typically, if one player reaches this point before the other, it doesn’t matter too much. The aim is for the F3 player to receive the puck as close to the center as possible, making this is the primary goal. As timing is figured out, this will be easier to achieve.
After the F3 player has received the puck from the opposite circle, they will aim to shoot directly from that spot. They are not supposed to drive towards the net yet, but it may be incorporated as the play becomes more advanced.
Make sure to have the players alternate between reps and have the shooter move from the left and right sides. Working the drill from both directions will give the forwards the best chance to be able to adapt during an actual game.
The best way to make this drill more difficult for the players is to add a goalie. Since this is a relatively specific drill, it may make it too hard to add opponents that know what the attacking teams play is.
The best time to incorporate defensive players is when the forwards have several different plays they can run. You will want to have defensive players practice with the forwards for a few plays, or until they get comfortable with how a real game scenario works.
However, once the players begin to get too comfortable with the play, make sure to add some combinations into the mix. Repetitive plays are great to teach the basics, but the variety helps the team become more well-rounded overall.
This is a great drill to practice once forwards begin to have a basic understanding of the drive play. This adds more dynamics and is excellent practice before adding more players again.
This drill is typically run with two forwards, but you can make adjustments to add other players as you want. This is an excellent drill for your forwards to learn how to assist one another when attempting to make a goal, but their path may be blocked. It can also be helpful when trying to get around a goalie.
You will need an F1 and an F2. The F1 player is focused on assisting F2 to make the goal so that they will exchange the puck during this process. The F2 player will stand in the center of the center circle, with the F1 player slightly behind to either their left or right side. This drill can be alternated for either side, either left or right.
F1 will leave the center circle and begin to head down the outside lane towards the top of the circle and the hash. However, before they reach it, the F2 player will pass them the puck, so F1 will have the puck before they reach their goal.
F2 will delay before following the play down the middle lane, making sure to stay closer to the side that F1 is on. Meanwhile, F1 will have the puck and will do a curl between the top of the circle and the hash. Once they have completed this maneuver, F1 will pass to F2 on their way past. F2 should have a quick shot from the slot if this is done correctly.
To start, have them run through the play with no other players while alternating both sides. Once both players are comfortable with this play, add other players as you see fit. This drill should be run at game speed, and it is easy to alternate the position of the curl. As the players get more comfortable, and opponents are added, have them vary the play in the best way for their situation.
This drill is an excellent example of adding variation to a previous skill they have learned. This will add more variables to the overall play while utilizing the skills they have learned previously. In this case, it would be the drive and curl that they are using in a more complicated pattern.
The basics of this play are to have three forwards along with the half-ice point. F1 and F3 will be in the outer lanes, while the F2 player will start in the center circle. The play for the F1 and F3 players can be alternated so they can be practiced on either side.
F1 will be playing as a left-winger to start the drill while the F3 player will play as a right-winger. F1 will begin to head down the outside lane, and F2 will pass them the puck just before the blue line. This is when the majority of the drill will begin.
After passing the puck, the F2 player will go hard to the net. While they are doing this, the F1 player will skate to the top of the circle and hash before curling towards the boards.
During this, the F3 player will delay before trailing the play in the zone at the far circle. After the F1 player finishes their curl, the F3 player should just be entering that zone, and F1 will pass the puck to them.
After the F3 player receives the puck, they will skate in to attempt to score a goal. At this point, F2 should be already in the area looking to rebound from the goalie.
Between each rep, have different players try the drill until they have all attempted this original version. After they have all had a go, switch the left-winger and right-winger jobs so everyone can also practice from the other direction. A forward needs to be able to curl or shoot from anywhere, while also being able to rebound if need be.
After the forwards have the basics of the drill down, add in a goalie so they will have an obstacle to get around at the end. Like above, switch around the positions until everyone is comfortable. Then you can add in more players to act as a defence.
For defence, make sure the players start as obstacles, rather than going all out. This is a great way to introduce variety in a play so they will begin to learn how to adapt while still aiming to follow through with the play.
As the team gets more comfortable, they will then be able to treat the scenario like it would be in a real game. Have them treat it in real game time, and even give the forwards the opportunity to discuss which winger will be performing the curl to confuse the defence further.
The three vs zero trailer is another version of the drive. Like the three vs zero curl, it is great to show other variations of an otherwise simple play. This will utilize three forwards along the half-ice line and will showcase how the players can change a play into a different one if their other route is blocked.
To start, there will be three forwards along the half-ice line. The F1 player will play the left-winger, and the F3 player will play in the right-winger position. The F2 player will be in the center circle by themselves.
To start, the F2 will pass the puck to the F1 player as they skate down the outside lane, right before the blue line. After the F1 player has received the pass, they will continue to head down the outside lane into the zone. F2 will then trail after the F1 player into the zone and to the high slot.
While the other players are doing this, the F3 player should skate hard down the outside lane. They will then cut in towards the net once they have entered the zone.
F1 will pass the puck to the F2 player, who should be in the high slot now, and they will go for a shot. As the F2 player takes the shot, the F1 and F3 players will crash the net for any rebounds.
Like all other plays, the players should rotate through each position between reps, and the drill should be worked from both sides. In this case, this means the F1 and F3 positions will have their roles changed, while F2 should continue going for the shot.
This is a good variation on the drive play and can be incorporated into other drills like it. However, like the driving drill, it may not be easy to repeatedly run this drill with an active defence until both sides feel comfortable with the routine.
Running through it with defence is always a good idea for a drill, but make sure they work through both sides. Also, incorporating the drive play from above, so any three of the players could be shooting, is an excellent way to keep it competitive instead of repetitive.
This drill adds more variety in maneuvers compared to the ones listed previously. This drill includes three forwards spread along the half-ice line and should have no opponents. Even though there are no defensive players, the attackers should still aim to treat this like it’s in-game time. This means each pass must be quick and efficient.
To start this drill, the F2 player will dump the puck into the corner in front of the F1 player. F1 will then skate down the outside lane and retrieve the puck. Meanwhile, the F3 player will be in the outside lane opposite the F1 player and will go to the opposite corner.
The F2 player will trail the play on their way down the slot. F1 will then pass to the F3 player, and the F3 will look to give the puck to the F2 player in the slot. Once the puck has been passed to the F2 player, they should make the shot.
This drill for forwards is heavily based around timing in hopes of each pass quickly going from one to another, ending with a quick shot from the F2 player. This can be worked from either side, and players should consistently rotate through each position.
Wait until the players can get a good flow and can achieve quick passes. Start by adding a goalie to add more difficulty for the player to move quickly, so they don’t have time to plan much.
You are able to incorporate more players as you see fit, but this mostly depends on the skill level of the team overall. Adding more obstacles can help make passing the puck to one another more difficult, which is a good thing to learn for games.
The backside pass is a simple play that will help teach players more about timing their passes to get the best opportunity for a good shot. This will only require two forwards, but a third one can be incorporated relatively easily as either a defensive player or however you may see fit.
To start, the F2 player will be in the center circle with the F1 player slightly behind them. This drill can be run down either side, but the F1 player should be on the side of the plan to go down.
The puck will start with the F2 player, and F1 will head wide towards the outside lane. F2 will pass the puck to the F1 player before they reach the blue line. After F1 receives the puck, they will drive hard to the net then proceed behind it.
Meanwhile, the F2 player should be following F1 into the zone and be timing their attack based on the location of F1. F1 will pass the puck to the F2 player on the same side of the net that they are coming down, which will be in the side slot alley. F2 should aim to shoot, and the drill will be reset.
This drill is highly focused on the timing of the F2 player arriving in the side slot just in time to receive the pass from the F1 player. It should be quick and at game speed. They should also be able to run this drill from both sides.
As I mentioned previously, it would be easy to incorporate a third forward as you see fit. This could be only as a rebound player or even add in an extra pass. If you decide to add a goalie to the play, then this would be the best time to add the third player.
If you do decide to incorporate an extra pass so you can have more players at the same time, you can look at some of the previous drills to get an idea of how to add them in. The pass could require the F2 player to trail after F3 instead, and have F1 pass to F3 behind the net.
After receiving, the F3 player could then pass quickly to F2, who would be in the side slot on their side. This would be up to preference, and as you can see, it can easily be adjusted however you’d like.
Like all drills, you can also add in defensive players, but this should only be done once the timing is consistently being achieved correctly. Otherwise, you could hinder them from properly learning the drill and getting the timing correctly.
This drill is excellent for teaching players how to drop passes, which can confuse the defence if they don’t notice. It can also make it easier to pass, unlike passing it across the rink, which has a higher probability of being intercepted or missing the target.
This play starts with both the F1 and F2 player in the center circle. The F1 player will be slightly staggered to the side of the F2 players’ spot, and they should be on the side they will go down. They will start somewhat behind the half-ice line, but it can be moved up if you want it to be strictly in front of the line.
To start, the F1 will skate out of the circle in a wide arc before proceeding down the outside lane. The F2 player will pass the puck to them shortly after they pass where they are standing in the center.
After receiving the puck, F1 should skate into the zone before cutting in towards the middle of the ice. They should aim to cut, so they pass somewhere near the top of the circle, preferably following it precisely until the motion becomes more comfortable.
The F2 player should delay after the pass by skating a pattern through the middle of the ice. This can be a simple curve, as long as they can make it to their next point. The next point they need to make their way towards is the top of the circle that the F1 player should also be passing through.
The timing is essential, as the F1 player will need to drop a pass to F2 as they are cutting behind them. To make this as discrete as possible, they will need to make the movements seem fluid and not forced when making their way towards the same point.
Once the pass has been dropped to F2, they should skate outside and shoot. Meanwhile, the F1 player should follow through towards the net in the middle lane in preparation for a rebound off the shot.
This drill should be run from both sides and needs to be easily adaptable. At first, it will be best for the players to have somewhat of a goal for where they are going to be meeting for the pass so they can get the timing down. However, they should eventually be able to change up the drop location.
This is also about the pattern that the F2 player should be making before skating in for the pass. They need to change it up every time so they can get used to not repeating the motion, which would give the play away to any opponents.
This drill is excellent for working defensive players in, especially when practicing other exercises along with it. If the players are able to throw in this play in between others, then it will be even better than repeatedly running it.
However, it never hurts to have them run it repeatedly against a knowing defence. It would help get the offensive players to be more aware and much better at the pass then if the defence wasn’t looking for it.
You are also able to run this drill against just a goalie. This would most likely be more difficult for the offence since the goalie will have a clear view of the play and know what’s coming. However, it never hurts to practice against a goalie, or for the goalie to practice against the offence.
The shot and walkout is a reasonably simple drill that helps teach players how to shoot off a pass. It is quick and repetitive motions that will give the player a chance to practice a few different skills throughout the drill.
To start, there will be two players standing in either the left or right corner of the rink. There will also be pucks in both corners in preparation for the drill. The F2 player will stay in the corner next to the first set of pucks throughout the rep, and the F1 player will be running through the drill solo.
To start, the F1 player will head along the outside of the circle. F2 will pass to them once they have hit the top of the circle, where the F1 player will then aim to shoot. They can move close if needed, but if they can shoot off the pass without moving too much, then this is best.
After making the shot, the F1 player should continue to the opposite corner where they will pick up another puck. After doing this, they should either skate along the outside edge of the circle or just inside. Once they are in a position to shoot, they should do so before returning to the starting point.
This should be run from both sides, with every player rotating through each position. Typically, the F2 player will turn into the F1 position, and the F1 player will move to the back of the line.
This drill doesn’t offer much of an opportunity for an additional defensive player. However, you can place a goalie to help make the shots slightly more complicated. It could require them to move more and make shots faster, so the goalie doesn’t have as much of an opportunity to defend.
Quality drills for forwards will usually incorporate strong teamwork and will teach them how to interchange plays with one another. A drill is the starting point for any player to get a better understanding of how to be successful during a game.
Making sure they learn not to be overly repetitive is vital; otherwise, they won’t have any variation in real game situations. By making them comfortable enough to adapt to another player being in their way, and still being able to finish the play, they will become an even better player overall.