These sample practice plans for 8-and-under hockey are segmented into three basic categories:
Coaches should use the practice plans as a guide and select the plans that best suit the group of kids with which they are working. This can be done by scaling up or scaling down the plans and progressions, or even better, by creating your own plans using a combination of these drills and games as well as your own ideas that match the players' abilities.
The beginner plans start from a very basic learn-to-skate and learn-to-play continuum and are best suited for players just starting in the sport, or 6-and-under players. As the children progress, start to add some of the drills and games listed early within the intermediate section. The intermediate plans will fit for most players who have been in the sport for a year or so. As players progress, coaches can adapt and begin to add the drills and games outlined for the advanced group.
The advanced plans are designed for 8-and-under players who have been playing for multiple years, and more specifically, the 8-year-old player. Some of the drills and games begin to integrate concepts that kids will need at the 10-and-under level.
The goals at 8-and-under are to build foundational skills in skating, puck control and competition in 1v1 battles. As the players move closer to 10-and-under, additional skills are added.
Coaches should run the same practices two to three times consecutively so that the players become comfortable with how the games and drill operate and can then focus on better execution. Even running a specific drill or game four, five or six sessions in a row is acceptable if needed to master key components before moving on to something more difficult. It’s the coaches job to continually adjust the components of practice to balance both the success and challenge levels that the players face.