Ice hockey skill drills are essential for improving players’ technique, agility, and puck control, allowing them to excel in the game. In these drills, players focus on specific skills, such as shooting, passing, stickhandling, and skating, to enhance their overall performance.

These drills involve fast-paced movements, quick decision-making, and the ability to execute accurate plays under pressure. They are typically designed to simulate game situations, helping players develop muscle memory, improve coordination, and enhance their hockey sense. By regularly practicing skill drills, ice hockey players can sharpen their skills, gain confidence, and become more effective on the ice.

Ice Hockey Skill Drills: Boost Your Game


1. Stickhandling

Stickhandling is an essential skill in ice hockey that every player needs to master. It involves controlling the puck using your stick, allowing you to maneuver through the ice, evade defenders, and create scoring opportunities. There are various stickhandling drills that can help improve your control, agility, and puck-handling abilities. In this section, we will explore two effective stickhandling drills: dribbling and toe drag.

1.1 Dribbling

Dribbling is a fundamental stickhandling skill that focuses on maintaining close control of the puck while skating. It involves keeping the puck within reach of your stick while moving in various directions. Dribbling drills are designed to enhance your hand-eye coordination, quickness, and puck control under pressure.

Here’s a simple dribbling drill you can practice:

  1. Begin in a stationary position with your knees slightly bent and your stick parallel to the ice.
  2. Using quick wrist movements, start dribbling the puck back and forth between your forehand and backhand sides.
  3. As you become more comfortable, start incorporating lateral movements, zig-zags, and figure-eight patterns while maintaining control of the puck.
  4. Challenge yourself by increasing your speed and adding obstacles or defenders to simulate game-like situations.

1.2 Toe Drag

The toe drag is a deceptive stickhandling technique used to deceive defenders and create space. It involves dragging the toe of your stick across the ice to pull the puck closer to your body, allowing for quick changes in direction and unexpected plays. Mastering the toe drag can make you a formidable offensive threat on the ice.

Here’s a drill to improve your toe drag technique:

  1. Begin in a stationary position with the puck in front of you.
  2. Using the toe of your stick, drag the puck towards your body while simultaneously moving the stick laterally across the ice.
  3. Practice dragging the puck both to your forehand and backhand sides, mastering the ability to quickly release it.
  4. As you progress, incorporate skating movements, such as crossovers or pivots, while executing the toe drag.
  5. Remember to keep your head up, surveying the ice for passing or shooting opportunities while executing the toe drag.

By consistently practicing these stickhandling drills, you will develop the necessary skills to navigate through opponents, maintain control of the puck, and contribute to your team’s success on the ice. Stay tuned for the next section, where we will explore another crucial aspect of ice hockey skill development.

Ice Hockey Skill Drills: Boost Your Game


2. Shooting

Developing strong shooting skills is crucial for any ice hockey player. The ability to accurately and powerfully shoot the puck can make all the difference in a game. In this section, we’ll explore three essential shooting techniques: the wrist shot, the snapshot, and the slap shot. Mastering these techniques will help you become a formidable presence on the ice.

2.1 Wrist Shot

The wrist shot is one of the most fundamental skills in ice hockey. It allows players to shoot the puck quickly and accurately while maintaining control. To perform a wrist shot:

  1. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, with your knees slightly bent and your weight on your back foot.
  2. Grip the stick firmly with both hands about shoulder-width apart.
  3. As you bring the puck back, shift your weight onto your front foot and flex the stick.
  4. Swing the stick forward and snap your wrists, releasing the puck toward your target.
  5. Follow through with your shot, pointing the blade of your stick at the target.

The wrist shot is a versatile technique that allows for quick, accurate shots from various positions on the ice.

2.2 Snapshot

The snapshot is a quick-release shot that can catch goaltenders off guard. It’s ideal for situations where you don’t have much time to wind up for a full wrist shot. To execute a snapshot:

  1. Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Grip the stick firmly with both hands slightly closer together than with a wrist shot.
  3. Without bringing the puck behind you, push the puck forward using only a small wind-up motion.
  4. As you release the puck, snap your wrists to generate power and accuracy.
  5. Follow through with your shot, aiming for your desired target.

The snapshot is a valuable tool in your shooting arsenal, enabling you to surprise goaltenders with its quick release.

2.3 Slap Shot

The slap shot is a powerful and intimidating shot that requires a significant wind-up. It’s great for situations where you have the time and space to set up a big shot. To perform a slap shot:

  1. Position your feet shoulder-width apart, with your weight on your back foot and your knees bent.
  2. Hold the stick with your dominant hand near the top of the shaft and your other hand in the middle.
  3. Draw the stick back behind you, elevating the puck off the ice.
  4. As you swing forward, shift your weight onto your front foot and bring the stick down to strike the ice just behind the puck.
  5. Follow through with the shot, allowing the stick to finish high, while pointing at your target.

The slap shot is a formidable weapon, capable of producing powerful shots that can be difficult for goaltenders to stop.

3. Passing

Passing is a fundamental skill in ice hockey, essential for effective teamwork and gameplay. Mastering different passing techniques can greatly improve your team’s ability to control the puck and create scoring opportunities. In this section, we will explore three important passing techniques: the forehand pass, the backhand pass, and the saucer pass.

3.1 Forehand Pass

The forehand pass is one of the most commonly used passing techniques in ice hockey. It involves using the blade of your stick to propel the puck in a forward direction toward your teammate. Mastering the forehand pass is crucial for maintaining possession and initiating offensive plays.

To execute a successful forehand pass, follow these simple steps:

  1. Begin by positioning your body in a balanced stance with your knees slightly bent and your weight evenly distributed.
  2. Grip your stick firmly with both hands, ensuring your dominant hand is placed towards the top of the stick.
  3. As you approach the puck, shift your weight onto your front foot and bring the stick back behind your body.
  4. With a smooth and controlled motion, move your stick forward toward your intended target.
  5. Follow through with your stick, directing it towards your target and transferring your weight onto your back foot.

3.2 Backhand Pass

In certain situations, the backhand pass can be a valuable asset for surprising opponents and distributing the puck effectively. This pass involves using the backside of the blade to propel the puck towards your teammate, making it harder for defenders to anticipate your next move.

Here’s how to execute a backhand pass:

  1. Position yourself in a stable stance, similar to the forehand pass.
  2. Grip your stick with your dominant hand at the top and your non-dominant hand lower down the shaft.
  3. As you approach the puck, keep your eyes on your intended target.
  4. Just before making the pass, rotate your wrists and shift your weight onto your back foot.
  5. Using a smooth and controlled motion, swing your stick toward your target, making contact with the backside of the blade.
  6. Follow through with your stick to ensure accurate and powerful delivery.

3.3 Saucer Pass

The saucer pass is a versatile passing technique primarily used to pass the puck over obstacles, such as opposing players’ sticks or skates. It allows for precise and elevated passes that can catch opponents off guard, opening up new scoring opportunities for your team.

To execute a saucer pass effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Assume a balanced stance with your knees bent and your weight evenly distributed.
  2. Grip your stick firmly, with your dominant hand positioned at the top and your non-dominant hand lower down.
  3. As you approach the puck, evaluate the obstacle you need to overcome.
  4. With a slight upward motion, slide your stick blade underneath the puck.
  5. Continue your follow-through motion, propelling the puck by simultaneously flicking your wrists and shifting your weight forward.
  6. Aim for a trajectory that allows the puck to glide smoothly over the obstacle, reaching your intended target.

4. Skating

Ice hockey skating is a fundamental skill that every player should prioritize. Developing strong skating abilities is crucial for maneuvering quickly and effectively across the ice. In this section, we’ll explore some essential skating drills to improve your forward and backward skating, as well as mastering crossovers.

4.1 Forward Skating

Forward skating is the foundation of ice hockey. It’s essential for players to have a strong and efficient forward skating technique to move swiftly and maintain control of the puck. Here are some drills to hone your forward skating skills:

  • Single-leg pushes to enhance power and balance
  • Quick acceleration sprints to improve speed
  • Crossovers in a straight line to develop agility

4.2 Backward Skating

Backward skating is equally important for ice hockey players, especially for defenders. Mastering this skill allows players to effectively defend against opponents and quickly transition from offense to defense. Consider including these drills in your training regimen:

  • Backward crossovers to improve agility and speed
  • Quick transitions from backward to forward skating
  • Defensive posture drills to enhance stability and control

4.3 Crossovers

Crossovers are a critical technique for maneuvering around opponents and accelerating quickly. Mastering crossovers can give players a significant edge on the ice. Here are some drills to help refine your crossover technique:

  • Circle crossovers to practice tight turns and agility
  • Figure-eight crossovers to improve coordination and balance
  • Continuous crossover drills to enhance endurance and speed

5. Defensive Skills

When it comes to ice hockey skill development, mastering defensive skills is crucial for any player. Effective defensive techniques not only protect the team’s goal but also create turnovers and opportunities for counterattacks. In this section, we will explore three essential defensive skills that players can drill to enhance their performance on the ice.

5.1 Body Checking

Body checking is a fundamental defensive skill in ice hockey that requires precision and timing. Through targeted drills, players can practice delivering controlled body checks to disrupt opponents’ movements and regain puck possession. Coaches often incorporate techniques for maintaining proper body positioning and angling to execute successful defensive checks.

5.2 Poke Checking

Poke checking involves using the stick to poke or sweep the puck away from an opposing player without making physical contact. This defensive skill relies on accurate hand-eye coordination and stickhandling proficiency. By participating in structured drills, players can refine their poke-checking abilities, learning how to anticipate opponents’ moves and intercept the puck effectively.

5.3 Shot Blocking

Shot blocking is a vital aspect of defensive play, requiring courage and strategic positioning. Through targeted training exercises, players can hone their shot-blocking techniques, mastering the art of sacrificing the body to impede incoming shots. Coaches emphasize proper footwork, timing, and anticipation to enhance players’ shot-blocking proficiency, a crucial defensive asset in ice hockey.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Ice Hockey Skill Drills

How Can I Improve My Hockey Skills?

To improve your hockey skills, focus on regular practice, develop your skating technique, practice your stickhandling and shooting skills, work on your agility and speed, and participate in game-like drills and scrimmages. Consistency and dedication are key to becoming a better player.

What Is The Basic Ice Hockey Drill For Beginners?

A basic ice hockey drill for beginners is practicing skating techniques such as forward and backward strides, turning, and stopping.

How Can I Practice Hockey Skills At Home?

Practice hockey skills at home by setting up a shooting area, doing stickhandling drills, practicing passing against a wall, working on your agility with cone drills, and improving your strength and conditioning through workouts. These activities will help you enhance your game even when you’re not on the ice.

What Are The Passing Drills For Beginners In Hockey?

Beginners in hockey can practice passing drills such as the basic chest pass and the forehand pass for better skill development. These drills help improve accuracy and timing, crucial for effective passing in the game.


Mastering ice hockey skills requires a relentless pursuit of improvement. By consistently incorporating skill drills into your training regimen, you can enhance your stickhandling, shooting, and skating abilities. These drills not only challenge your physical strength and coordination but also help sharpen your decision-making skills on the ice.

Remember, practice makes perfect, and through consistent effort, you can elevate your game to new heights. So grab your stick, hit the ice, and strive for excellence in your ice hockey journey.