Hockey Sense

Hockey sense is a player’s instinct to read or anticipate the play. It’s the ability to recognize and seize opportunity on the ice.

For a player to seize opportunity requires a player first to SEE the opportunity. The player has to look for, anticipate and comprehend relevant information.

Improving what players see on the ice requires building the right context and variables of the game into practice. A coach has to create the right practice environment with the right objectives. Does the drill provide value or are players simply going through the motions?

Running an effective practice that helps players develop a better hockey sense requires the coach to narrow the focus of the practice. The objective is to force players to dial into relevant information (game context).

The coach can use constraints: The offense must complete at least one
⁃ 2 on 1 example: the player can easily skate into the zone and take the shot. Taking the shot might be the right play, but is it the right objective? By adding a constraint into a 2 on 1 drill, players are now forced to notice key details – like a defender’s body & stick position. Even if the defender breaks up the pass, the value is in the attempt. The players are now being forced by the coach to see, and then solve the problem. By narrowing the focus, the drill becomes the teacher. Both players have to work together to figure out a way around the defender.

Remember, taking the shot might be the right play but is it the right objective? F2 has to be in a better position to make the next play. F2 has to see (anticipate) the solution (speeding up or slowing down). Scoring a goal isn’t the objective of the drill anymore. Scoring becomes a byproduct of seeing the problem and finding a solution.

Practice to game transfer: “Seeing” details on the ice starts to become second nature. Executing a solution becomes the byproduct of noticing details. With the right practice, players improve anticipating better plays based on the details they see. By creating the right practice environment with the right objectives, players with and without the puck develop the vision to see better plays.

Hockey sense is a skill that can be learned and developed over time if players are put into the right practice environment. Creating the right practice can be as simple as making small adjustments to what may already be happening at practice. Improving hockey sense means players focus on a specific task or objective, yet have the freedom to discover new solutions which provides opportunity to expand what they look for with and without the puck.

9 Week Skating & Skills Elite Hockey Training

A progressive skating & skill development program to help athletes gain a better understanding of their movement, enhance their skills, and apply them into game scenarios. Maximum 5:1 athlete to coach ratio. Program consists of 9 hours of progressive development.

  • Begins with a movement/biomechanics introduction
  • Find a solid athletic foundation, learn about joint flexion at the ankle, knee and hip
  • Apply movement concepts to defence/forward-specific patterns
  • Progress into game scenarios
  • Add pressure & pass options to train decision-making and processing speed
  • Fast paced training environment to optimize cognitive ability
  • Maximum 5:1 Athlete to Coach ratio