Coach Nielsen's Ice Hockey Drills

Evaluation/Tryout Season is here

I’ve been asked by a number of coaches for drills that they can use during the evaluation process. Each age group is different but for me the first thing I look for is an ability to skate well. I feel that if a player is a good skater, then a good coach can teach that player how to play hockey, but a poor skater is working from a disadvantage that is hard to overcome without specialized attention and skill development camps.

I’ve put together a page of drills that I find helpful in the evaluation process I go through each year. I hope you find them useful and if you have any of your own personal favorites please send them along and I will share them on this site.

Visit the Evaluation Page




Filed under: coaching, Goaltender, Passing, Shooting, Skating, Small Area Games, Stick Handling

Canadian National Team Part II

Here are a few more drills from the Canadian National Team. Each of these drills fall under the category of “Battles”. They are each designed to create battling situations in different areas of the ice.


Filed under: coaching, Defensemen, Drills, Forwards

New USA Hockey Coaching Requirements

USA Hockey is changing the certification program used to develop coaches in the United States. The new changes impact all of us in some way or another. Here are a few excerpts from the article in the new issue of USA Hockey magazine.

Under the new system, coaches can attend only one certification clinic per season. They will also need to complete an online age-specific module that corresponds to the level they are coaching.

That means a first-year Midget coach would attend the Level 1 clinic and then complete the corresponding online age-specific module for Midgets. He would no longer need to reach Level 4 certification in his first year of coaching.

One common misconception is that USA Hockey will be making all coaches start from scratch. That’s not true. Current coaches will be grandfathered into their existing certification level.

However, they will need to take the online age-specific module.

That last line is what impacts all of us. No matter what level you have reached or how many years you have coached, you will be required to take an online certification course before December 31, 2011.

You can read the full article HERE




Filed under: coaching, Article on Video Games with quotes from Some of Our Readers

A few weeks back Adam Kimelman of contacted me about the usefulness of video games in developing hockey players. I put that question to our readers and Adam contacted a few of them to discuss their opinions. Below is the article Adam posted with quotes from myself and our readers. Thanks for the help everyone.



Filed under: General

Warm-Up Drills

For most of us every practice starts with some version of a warm-up. For me it’s five minutes of head-up skating and then a three drill combo called “4 Corners” which I got from Joel Quennville of the Chicago Blackhawks last season. I asked around to the college coaches and Junior hockey coaches I know to see if there were any drills they liked to run at the beginning of practice to get the team ready. Below are five of those drills along with the above mentioned “4 Corners” drill.




Filed under: Drills, Warm-Up



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