KEEP YOUR HEAD UP: Tips to Coach This Important Hockey Habit


HEAD UP, HEAD UP, HEAD UP! We hear it all the time on the enviornment. We hear it at practices, we hear it at video games. However how typically do coaches ACTUALLY make gamers follow this hockey talent till it turns into a behavior?

WHAT IS A HABIT? Habits are rituals, behaviors or abilities that we carry out mechanically with out eager about them. The aim of this text is to assist coaches learn to develop a participant’s capacity to maintain their head up, and reinforce this habits till it turns into a behavior.

Though enjoying along with your head up is considered one of hockey’s most necessary habits, we do not follow it sufficient as a result of it’s typically messy, and there are not any fast outcomes. In a world of Instagram abilities, who desires to see somebody scan the ice, follow shoulder checking, or fumble the puck because the follow stickhandling with their head up? Sadly not many individuals.

The sport of hockey continues to evolve. Every year, it will get sooner and extra expert. On account of this evolution, time and area on the ice is shrinking. Due to this fact, it’s crucial for gamers to learn to play the sport of hockey with their head up; with and with out the puck.

The article under is an summary with ideas, drills, small space video games, and movies to spark concepts and assist coaches train considered one of hockey’s most necessary habits. It is going to be messy at first, however as soon as the talent of enjoying along with your head up is realized, and strengthened till it turns into a behavior, the entire recreation adjustments… 

Article Define

  1. Intro: Why You Ought to Preserve Your Head Up
  2. Drills & Video games That Reinforce Preserving Your Head Up
  3. On-Ice Elementary Stickhandling Workout routines
  4. The Significance of Coaches Steerage & Encouragement
  5. At House Stickhandling Workout routines
  6. Conclusion: What Years Of Apply Did for Cale Makar [VIDEO]

Introduction: Why You Ought to Preserve Your Head Up

Preserving your head up will make it easier to make higher choices, assist you to see the play develop, know the place the open ice is, deceive your opponents, and even make the sport safer. Under we dig into a number of the main advantages of preserving your head up when you play hockey.

Profit # 1: You Make Higher Selections

  • Preserving your head up will enhance your Hockey IQ. When your head is up you may simply determine the place your teammates are and if they’re open or coated, together with the place the opposing crew is. This data will assist you to make higher choices on the ice, which can make you a greater participant and assist you to assist your teammates.

Profit # 2: You See The Play Develop

  • When your head is up and you might be scanning the ice, you may see what path gamers are skating, how briskly they’re shifting, the place the puck is, and the place the play is creating. It will assist you to plan forward and put your self in a greater place to assist out your crew and make a play. Wayne Gretzky generally stated, “skate to the place the puck goes to be, to not the place it has been.” 

Profit # 3: You Know The place There Is Open Ice

  • Together with your head up, you may skate to open ice when you have got the puck, or cross to a teammate who’s open. While you do not need the puck, you may soar to open ice to be an outlet cross to assist your teammate, or you may soar to open ice to create a scoring alternative.
  • Within the video under, we spotlight how preserving your head up and scanning the ice for open area might help generate scoring alternatives once you do not need the puck.

Profit # 4: You Can Deceive Your Opponents By Wanting One Method And Going The Different Method

  • Within the video under, USA hockey reveals examples of how one can deceive the opponent by wanting a method and skating or passing one other method.

Profit # 5: It Is A lot Safer To Play Hockey With Your Head Up

  • Particularly when physique checking is allowed, enjoying along with your head up makes the sport a lot safer than skating full velocity along with your head down. For those who play along with your head up it is possible for you to to know the place the opponents are so you may skate round them, or brace for contact. 

Drills & Video games That Reinforce Preserving Your Head Up

As a coach, you will need to implement drills that actually encourage gamers to maintain their head up and scan the ice.

Under are 6 drills and small recreation examples that reinforce the necessity for gamers to maintain their head up. We included 2 warm-up workout routines, 2 examples of the best way to modify regular drills to make gamers maintain their head up, and two small space video games that can encourage gamers to maintain their heads up, plus a hyperlink to 100+ small space video games.

Instance # 1: Head-Up Scan The Ice Heat-Up

Under is a wonderful warm-up exercise that’s nice for any age degree from skilled abilities coach Dwayne Blais. Watch the video to be taught the drill and training factors that gamers ought to consider as they carry out this drill. Coaches may also modify this warm-up to be in smaller areas with faster whistles for extra expert age teams.

View the total drill description right here: Head-Up Scan The Ice Heat-Up.

Instance # 2: Finnish 5 Puck Heat-Up

The Finnish 5 Puck Heat-Up is a superb warm-up exercise that may be modified to be carried out at U8 all the way in which to the skilled ranges. Coach Ben Eaves explains the advantages of the exercise and the video goes via completely different actions that gamers can do to heat up at the start of follow. The dynamic nature of the Finnish 5 Puck requires youngsters to maintain their head up always.

View the total drill description right here: Finnish 5 Puck Heat-Up

Instance # 3: Drill Modifications That Require Gamers To Choose Their Head Up

Under are two examples of how drills could be modified to assist encourage gamers to choose their head up.

  • The primary drill reveals that including a coach (or a participant) that may transfer barely to a location that usually has a cone, will assist gamers decide their head as much as decide.
  • The second drill we modified to make gamers lookup and name out numbers to ensure they have been wanting up ice and never simply observing their cross. Watch and hearken to the video under to be taught extra.

 An inventory of ways in which “regular drills” could be modified to require gamers to choose their head up:

  • Add a coach or participant that may swing their stick and transfer as a substitute of simply utilizing a cone (instance in video above).
  • Require gamers to name out a quantity that’s being held up (instance in video above).
  • Require a participant to name out if a glove or a stick is being raised – instance tweeted from Brant Berglund).
  • Make gamers cross to completely different gamers or areas as a substitute of simply skating again or passing to the start of the road.
  • Add gentle strain – permit a coach or participant to use strain so {that a} participant wants to choose their head up and decide which space to skate.

Instance # 4: Preserve Away

Preserve away is without doubt one of the most elementary video games on the market, however it’s EXTREMELY useful as a result of it’s simple to arrange, it reinforces so many nice abilities and gamers naturally must maintain their head up and transfer to open area to achieve success. PLUS it may be modified in a wide range of methods to follow completely different conditions on the ice.

The video under reveals a fundamental 3 vs. 1 at middle ice, however coaches could make the maintain away recreation be 5 vs. 2, 4 vs. 2, 3 vs. 2, 2 vs. 2, 2 vs. 1, and so forth. Coaches can arrange maintain away to be in a nook to assist gamers follow financial institution passes off of the boards and you may add targets for the gamers to make recreation targets like, “4 passes in a row will get a degree.” View a few of our maintain away video games by clicking on the hyperlinks under:

Instance # 5: Gretzky 2 vs. 2 Small Space Recreation

The Gretzky 2 vs. 2 Small Space Recreation from Topher Scott is a enjoyable recreation the place every crew has 2 “Gretzky’s” behind the web that they’ll use throughout the course of the sport. Offensively, this setup encourages gamers to maintain their head as much as discover their Gretzky’s and soar to open area to get a cross to attain a aim. Defensively, this setup encourages the defending crew to maintain their head up and scan the ice so they’re conscious of the place the opposing crew and their Gretzky’s are positioned. 

View the total drill description right here: Gretzky 2 vs. 2 Small Space Recreation

On the lookout for extra video games and actions that encourage gamers to maintain their head up? Try the 2 hyperlinks under:

Elementary Stickhandling Workout routines

Dedicating 5 – 10 minutes to training stickhandling fundamentals at follow will go a good distance in a gamers growth all year long.

Under is the primary 26 workout routines of the Finnish Talent Collection. Coaches can choose 5 workout routines to work on at the start of every follow based mostly on the crew’s talent degree. After gamers are capable of execute the abilities, coaches ought to encourage the gamers to follow doing the abilities with their head up. Gamers can begin sluggish, whereas they use their peripheral imaginative and prescient to see the puck. As time goes on, gamers will be capable of make the most of their peripheral imaginative and prescient to see the puck whereas their head is up, and they’re going to additionally be capable of really feel when the puck is on their stick.

 Watch the Finnish Talent Collection under and consider hyperlinks to this sequence under.

The Significance of Coaches Steerage & Encouragement

There are 3 foremost causes youngsters are programmed to stare down on the puck from an early age. The explanations are listed under:

  1. Most coaches don’t encourage and reinforce the significance of enjoying along with your head up.
  2. Many coaches use drills the place a child could be profitable with out wanting up (simply take a look at most drills that ONLY use cones)
  3. Coaches (and oldsters) put an excessive amount of strain on youngsters to follow completely.

For gamers to learn to play hockey with their head up a coach must information the gamers by letting them know why they need to maintain their head up, whereas additionally implementing drills and small space video games that reinforce the necessity for youths to play with their head up. Moreover, coaches want to permit gamers to make errors in follow.

If a child loses a puck whereas they’re attempting to stickhandle with their head up….Good! They’re pushing exterior of their regular consolation degree and are working to get higher. Youngsters (and adults) won’t enhance in the event that they keep of their consolation zone and don’t make errors. If a participant is not working at selecting their head up in follow, there isn’t a method they are going to magically be taught in a recreation when a coach or father or mother screams Head Up, Head Up, Head Up!

For instance – check out present NHL’er Cale Makar training power-play breakouts throughout a Colorado Avalanche follow. EVERY REP he’s stickhandling along with his head up whereas he scans the ice. Even he is not good. He loses the puck on the second rep, however due to his years of follow, he is ready to shortly determine that he misplaced the puck and he kicks it again as much as his stick.

If Cale Makar can look just a little messy in follow as he works to get higher, youth gamers must be allowed to as effectively. 

At House Stickhandling Work

It will be significant for coaches, gamers, and oldsters to know that studying the best way to play along with your head up won’t occur in a single day. It takes years of follow to have the ability to do it effectively and even striving to get 1% higher every day will take you very far. Taking part in along with your head up at follow helps, however one option to actually go the additional mile is to develop a enjoyable at house stickhandling routine. 5 – quarter-hour a day will go such a good distance in the direction of growth. The secret’s to make a routine that’s enjoyable so that you need to maintain with it! Blast some tunes, discover a enjoyable location and be inventive with it so that you wish to follow persistently! For those who fall in love with follow, nice issues will occur.  

Under are just a few off-ice stickhandling concepts that gamers can work on. Begin slowly to dial within the actions after which work on preserving your head up as you enhance. 

In case you are on the lookout for extra off-ice stickhandling concepts try: Off-Ice Stickhandling Workout routines

Conclusion: What Years Of Apply Did for Cale Makar [VIDEO]

When a participant habitually retains their head up and scans the ice, the entire recreation adjustments for them. Simply watch the spotlight video under of Cale Makar’s first 3 years within the NHL. He’s considered one of NHL’s most dynamic defencemen and he does it along with his head up all the time. As a result of his head is up consistently, he’s conscious of the place his teammates are, he sees the play develop, is aware of the place there’s open ice, and he can deceive the opponents. This didn’t come simple for him, it took years of laborious work and he nonetheless works at it all the time at follow (simply watch the video on the prime of this text as a reminder).

Watch the video under and spot how typically his head is up. 

Studying the best way to play hockey along with your head up takes time. As a coach, subsequent time you might be on the ice, let follow get just a little messy. If coaches decide to serving to gamers be taught the advantages of preserving their head up, whereas reinforcing the talent with drills and small space video games, it could possibly ultimately grow to be a behavior for a participant. Most of all, make the follow and strategy of studying enjoyable for the gamers. 

For those who proceed with these ideas all through the season, you’ll be amazed at how your crew develops and what the gamers will see on the ice!

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