How To Coach Novice Hockey

Coaching novice hockey requires a particular set of skills and strategies to ensure the young players have a positive and successful experience. Here are five supporting facts for coaching novice hockey:
1. Create a structured and fun environment: Novice hockey players are at the beginning stages of their development, so it is crucial to provide them with a structured practice and game environment while keeping it enjoyable. Incorporate drills and activities that focus on the basic skills of skating, passing, shooting, and stickhandling in a fun and engaging way.

2. Emphasize teamwork and sportsmanship: Teach your novice players the importance of working together as a team and displaying good sportsmanship. Encourage them to support and encourage their teammates, and to always respect the opponents and officials. Emphasize that the true victory lies in playing fairly and to the best of their abilities.

3. Break down skills into simple steps: Novice players are still learning the fundamentals of hockey, so it is essential to break down skills into simple steps that they can understand and practice. Start with basic skating techniques and gradually introduce more complex skills as they progress. Provide clear demonstrations and explanations to help them grasp the concepts.

4. Use small-area games: Instead of focusing solely on drills, incorporate small-area games into practice sessions. These games not only make practice more enjoyable, but they also help improve the players’ decision-making skills, hockey sense, and game awareness. Adjust the size of the playing area and the number of players to match the players’ abilities and age.

5. Provide positive feedback and encouragement: Novice players are still building their confidence, so it is vital to provide them with positive feedback and encouragement. Praise their efforts when they demonstrate improvement or perform a skill correctly, and offer constructive criticism in a supportive manner when they make mistakes. This positive approach will motivate them to continue working hard and developing their skills.


1. How long should a novice hockey practice be?
– Novice hockey practices should typically last between 45 minutes to an hour. Be sure to incorporate a variety of drills, games, and skill development activities to keep the players engaged throughout the session.

2. How important is it to focus on individual skill development?
– Individual skill development is crucial for novice players as they are still learning the basics. Focus on skating ability, stickhandling, passing, and shooting to build a strong foundation for their overall hockey skills.

3. When should novice players start learning team tactics and strategies?
– Team tactics and strategies can be introduced gradually as novice players become more comfortable with the basic skills. Start by teaching simple offensive and defensive concepts and gradually build on them as they progress.

4. How can I ensure equal playing time for all players?
– To ensure equal playing time, develop a rotation system that allows each player to have a fair chance on the ice during games. You can also create situational line changes to ensure every player gets an opportunity in different game situations.

5. What are some effective methods to reinforce good sportsmanship?
– Encourage good sportsmanship by emphasizing the importance of respecting opponents and officials. Implement team rituals like handshake lines after games and emphasize the values of fair play and respect both on and off the ice.

6. Should I focus more on fun or skill development during practices?
– It is crucial to strike a balance between fun and skill development during novice hockey practices. Incorporate drills and games that are both enjoyable and promote skill development to keep the players engaged and motivated.

7. How can I handle player mistakes or lack of progress?
– Handle player mistakes or lack of progress with patience and support. Look for opportunities to provide constructive feedback and offer additional guidance and practice opportunities. Remember that development takes time, and each player progresses at their own pace.

Coaching novice hockey requires creating a fun and structured environment, emphasizing teamwork and sportsmanship, breaking down skills into simple steps, using small-area games, and providing positive feedback. Strive for a balance between fun and skill development while focusing on individual improvement and gradually introducing team tactics. Always promote good sportsmanship and handle player mistakes or lack of progress with patience and support.