Position Specific Drills

Just as with any other sport or skill, you can always work hard and keep getting better. The tips and drills in this section are for players looking to take their game to that next level.

Attack Specific

The main skill that attackmen must work on is dodging. Dodges can be worked into line drills with a dummy defenseman in the middle of the drill. Dodges can also be used in shooting drills in which the offensive player can dodge a cone and then take a shot on the run. The first dodge that attackmen should work on is the split dodge. They can work on this drill from X (directly behind the goal) and from the wing. From either spot, they can use a same-handed split dodge or a change-handed split dodge.

The three dodges that attackmen must work on at the “five and five” spot on the field are the inside roll, and the rocker step and the question mark dodge. Set up a cone at the five and five spot on each side of the field and have the attackmen start from X. The attackman makes a split dodge at X, goes to either cone, and makes an inside roll, or rocker step or question mark for a quick shot.

The final dodge that attackmen need to work on is the face dodge off of a feed. A defenseman starts on top of the crease as a coach feeds balls to the attackmen who are about seven to ten yards above the goal at any point on the field. The defenseman slides to the attackman when the coach throws the ball. The attackman catches the feed from the coach behind himself, steps up as though he is going to shoot, brings his stick across his face, makes a face dodge past the defenseman, and takes a quick shot. After the attackmen learn these dodges in these drills, then they can go on to work them in one-on-ones against defensemen.

Midfield Specific

The single dodge that midfielders at this level must work on is the split dodge. Midfielders should learn this dodge from the wing and from up top. This dodge can first be worked on in line drills with a dummy defenseman in the middle. Then, coaches can set up cones on the wings and up top for the middies to dodge off of and take a quick shot on the run. Finally, the dodge can be practiced in one-on-one situations against defensemen. The most important skill for midfielders is shooting from the outside, both on the run and with time and room.

Shooting drills can be set up a number of different ways. The easiest way is to have two lines of attackmen at goal line extended on both sides of the goal. There are two lines of midfielders up top on each side as well. The attackmen can either throw skip passes to the opposite line of middies or same-side feeds to the line of midfielders adjacent to their line. For on the run shooting, the middies catch the ball, make a split dodge, and shoot as they are running down the allies or across the middle of the field. For time and room shooting, the midfielders catch the ball behind them and take a quick, hard shot from the outside. Finally, the last skill that both attackmen and midfielders need to work on is the two-man game. This skill can be worked on with two-on-two's from top and from behind the goal. Picks and flips can also be drilled with no defense in shooting drills.

Defense Specific

Most of the position specific drills that the defense needs to work on will be taken care of in line drills, agilities (as discussed earlier), and one-on-ones and two-on-twos. One thing that is great to do with defensemen in one-on-ones and two-on-twos is to take their stick away from them and make them play defense using their hands. They are not allowed to tackle or grab the offensive player. This is extremely effective in teaching defensemen to play defense using good footwork and body positioning.

The drill that is most important for team defense is having them play against a skeleton offense. The coach simply sets the offense up in different formations and has them work the ball around. At first, the offense works the ball very slowly and the coach takes each defenseman through where he needs to be. Remember, if the defenseman is covering the ball, he needs to be right on his man and calling out “ball”. If the defenseman is adjacent to the ball carrier, he should be about four or five yards away from his man calling out “left” or “right” depending what side of the ball carrier he is on. If the defenseman is away from the ball, he should be sloughed in towards the crease calling out “away”. If the defenseman is on the crease, he should be right on his man and ready to slide, calling out “crash”. The other thing to watch out for as the coach is to make sure that all the defensemen are looking away from the ball. This drill should be run consistently to pound defensive positioning into the team’s head.

Goalie Specific

A lot of the position specific drills for goalies must be run before practice starts or as the rest of the team stretches. Goalies need to be warmed-up before they step into the drills where they see shots. It is very important to learn as a coach to give your goalie a good warm-up. A coach should start shooting close to the goal with slow shots. Slowly, the coach should move back and increase the speed of his shots. The coach starts by shooting high shots to both stick side and off-stick side. Then he moves to shooting hip level shots, low shots, and bounce shots before mixing them up at the end.

Some great tips to get you going:

Make Passes Hard

Make feed passes hard.

Possessing the Ball

When in possession of ball, make the defense man play your stick - watch his stick - the position of it will determine the direction of your feed and the type of dodge you might try.

Dodging

Never try to dodge when men are in position to back up.

Circle Away From Pressure

Always move to meet every pass, and circle away from your defenseman.

Move the Ball

Don't dodge if there is an open man. Don't hold the ball long unless you are planning a dodge. Keep it moving with quick, short passes.

Outside Shooting

On all long shots, a man must be on the crease.

Move to Meet the Pass

Always move to meet every pass, and circle away from your defenseman.

Be an Outlet

If an attack man is being ridden hard and can't dodge or get away - the nearest man on each side goes to help him.

After the Clear

After the ball has been cleared, if you have a wide open opportunity to dodge, do it. If you are sure a man is open, pass to him, otherwise settle the ball down and let your attack get set up. Remember, after a clear the midfielders will need time to catch their breath. Middies rest on offense, not defense, Control The Ball!

Don’t Rush at Him

Don't rush at a man when riding - particularly behind the goal. Force him to pass - force him in the direction where there is help. Talk all the time and run hard. The success of an attack depends on their riding ability and their desire to have the ball.

Away From the Defense

In moving the ball around the circle, make all passes sharp, short, and to the outside, away from the defense man.

Ride Hard

When you lose the ball, ride it. The close attack must ride and ride hard until the ball is past midfield.

Time Your Cuts

Time your cuts, don't cut if the man with the ball is not watching or not in position to pass.

Pick a Corner

Place all shots, usually for a far corner, and shoot hard. When within five yards of the goal, the shot should be for a top corner.

Give and Go

After receiving a pass, as the ball moves around the outside, look first at the man who threw you the ball to see what he is doing, then at the crease.

Cut Hard and Fast

Make full cuts - go through and out - don't cut at half speed or hang around the crease after your cut.

Keep Proper Spacing

Never stand so close together that one defense can cover two offense.

Loose Ball on the Ground

When there is a loose ball on the ground, go after it fast and hard, you must have the ball!

Back Up shots

Always have one, preferably two, men behind the goal to back up shots.

Zigs and Zags

Zig your cuts, fake left - go right, fake right - go left. Don't always run at the same speed, change of pace is a very effective method of getting open.