Ice Hockey Skills and Drills

Ice hockey skills and drills resources to watch, do and learn.


This site is created and curated by the Madison Gay Hockey Association skaters – reach out if you have a resource or video to add. Chuck and Christina can help you create a video of your own – let us know and we’ll keep growing this repository!

Check out some quick examples of our hockey players showing off their skills!


How to ice skate

Ice Skating – Starting and Stride

  • Do
    • Bend your knees in a good hockey stance
    • Take a full stride
    • V-start on your toes (it’s ok to feel like you’re going to fall)
  • Don’t
    • Stand-up straight
    • “Railroad”, feet should return fully after each stride
    • Start flat-footed

Ice Skating – Turning

  • Do
    • If turning right, lead with your right foot
    • If turning left, lead with your left foot
    • Stagger your feet (might be difficult at first, keep at it!)
    • Bend your knees, dig into the ice with both edges
    • Crossover out of the turn for acceleration
  • Don’t
    • If turning right, lead with your left foot
    • If turning left, lead with your right foot
    • Bunch your feet together, it will throw the rest off
    • Stand up straight, get flat footed and not dig in

Ice Skating – Stopping

  • Do
    • Rotate your hips with your feet slightly staggered 
    • Place most of the weight on the front leg, back leg is used for balance
    • “Peel” the ice, your inside edge peels the top layer of the ice like a potato
    • Stop so that you are facing the puck/play
  • Don’t
    • Place most weight on your back leg
    • Make the stop a turn, you need to pivot your hips and really dig into the ice
    • Almost every player has a strong and a weak-side stop. Practice both of them equally.
    • Stop facing away from the puck/play

Ice Skating – Pivoting from Forward to Backward or Backward to Forward

  • Do
    • Bend knees in good hockey stance
    • Turn towards the puck/play
    • First turn shoulders in direction of pivot, then shortly after twist hips to match
    • For forward to backward: Remember 1-2-3 steps (start on the foot opposite from the direction of play, i.e. right-left-right or left-right-left)
    • For backward to forward: Bring your feet into v-start position 
  • Don’t
    • Stand upright
    • Turn away from the puck/play

Non MGHAer example

via http://howtohockey.com/proper-transitions-turning-backwards-and-turning-forwards/

Ice Skating – Backwards

  • Do
    • Bend your knees in a good hockey stance – chair posture is even more important than forwards
    • Use good “c-cut/half-moon/tear-drop” strides
    • Use cross-over start
  • Don’t
    • Bent too far forward (you’ll fall flat)
    • Over-extend/under-extend your stride

How to pass – forehand and backhand

  • Do
    • Head up to look at your target player
    • “Saucer” the pass, puck starts on the heel and rolls off the tip of your stick (with more power you can get the puck lifted off the ice like a saucer) 
    • Cradle the puck when you receive it and keep skating
    • Pass where the player will be, not where they currently are
  • Don’t
    • Head down, not looking at the other players
    • “Slap at” the puck when passing
    • Hard stop when you receive it
    • Don’t stop skating or freeze up

How to shoot – forehand and backhand

  • Do 
    • Keep your head up, know where you want to shoot and where the goalie is
    • Transfer your weight from back to front legs as you shoot, power comes mostly from your legs, not your wrists/arms
    • Follow-through (point your stick tip) in the direction of your target
  • Don’t
    • Head down, not looking at the goalie
    • “Slap at” the puck with transferring your weight, don’t try to “arm” it
    • Forget to follow-through!

How to stickhandle / puck handle

  • Do
    • Keep your head up and knees bent in a good hockey stance
    • Soft hands, away from your body
    • Strong hands to help you control the puck amidst other sticks/skaters
    • Top hand on stick stays in place, bottom hand moves to the most comfortable/powerful position to handle the puck
    • Use two hands while carrying the puck
    • Use one hand ONLY if you have space and need to accelerate
  • Don’t
    • Head down, back bent over
    • Slap at the puck
    • “Jam up” your hands too close to your body, keep the stick as a natural extension of your arms

MGHA Way

  • Do
    • Play inclusively – Give players space to skate and handle the puck.
    • Learn your teammates pronouns; if you don’t know, ask. If you mess up, acknowledge and adjust for next time.
    • Skate in control – Do your best not to collide with any other players
    • Learn other players’ abilities and encourage their development on and off the ice
    • Have fun! The MGHA is a place for our community to enjoy a great sport and have fun all the while.
  • Don’t
    • Aggressively take the puck from lesser skilled players before giving time and space for their development
    • Check, lower your shoulder or head and make contact that gives you an advantage on the puck
    • Be an @sshole.

More video resources


Drills by level

Beginner

  • Warm-up with Basic Skating Skills
    • C-Cuts, Strides, Stop/Start, Crossovers
  • Puckhandling
    • Simple Puckhandling through cones, no opposing players/defense
  • Passing/Shooting
    • Pass in around circle as a group, 
    • Run through out of the corner warm-up drill
    • Rainbow drill for warming up goalies
  • Face-Offs
    • Simple faceoff Positioning
  • One-on-Ones and Two-On-Ones

Intermediate

  • Warm-up with more advanced skating techniques
    • Sprints, Turns, Stops, Pivots
  • Puckhandling/Passing/Shooting
    • More advanced combination of these skills, throw in defenders
  • Break-outs
  • Defensive zone positioning

Advanced

  • Advanced Skating drills from hockey canada
  • Two-on-Ones, Three-on-Twos
  • Power Play
  • Penalty Kill
  • Scrimmage

More resources