Hockey is a skill game. The higher your skill level, the quicker your game speed and thought processes. NHL athletes typically have the ability to think and analyze in a split second. And passing is where their athleticism shines.
The progression of a professional game goes like this: who can get the puck up the ice the fastest, in the net most often, and out of the net the least. In order to move up the ice efficiently, breakouts must be well-patterned. That way, crisp, hard passes get to teammates faster, allowing them to continue up the ice without breaking stride.
I’ve skated with these guys. Seeing their speed in action is one thing, but being on the ice with them is a totally different demon. It brings back the full meaning of “accepting the pass like its an egg.” Remember when your Mite coach taught you that? How about Gordon Bombay and The Mighty Ducks?
Here are three drills that will help you achieve sharper hockey passing skills.
Any form of breakout drill can be used to enforce hard passing. Keep in mind that during a breakout, the saucer pass is pretty much useless.
- Start on the goal line and begin with a sharp pass to your teammate opposite and to the right
- Try to complete at least three passes going up the ice, focusing on precision
- Take a shot on goal and regroup
- Catch a pass from the guys/coaches stand at the attacking goal line and head back up ice toward your defending goal end
Russian Circles are a great way to implement hard, quick hockey passing.
- Set up two guys at each circle
- As you cut around the circles, you receive two passes, one from each corner and both hard enough to easily one-time into the net
- To add extra intensity, start the circles with a puck and initiate the pass to the opposite corner. You’ll receive the puck back from a one-touch pass to a one-timer
This is an uber-simple drill.
- Two players begin about five feet apart and move up the ice
- Make crisp, hard passes through the entire drill
- As you continue to make and accept good passes, take one step back per pass
- If someone is inaccurate, reset from the original five feet
Remember: Building skills in hockey takes time and effort. To become a better passer, you must consistently put yourself in situations that enforce hard passing. Soon enough, this type of puck movement will become second nature.