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Teaching kids to be aggresive

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Old
11-02-2010, 08:21 PM
  #1
Puckboy
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Teaching kids to be aggresive

Any tips on teaching squirt level kids to be aggressive on the puck?

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11-02-2010, 09:03 PM
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adaminnj
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Originally Posted by Puckboy View Post
Any tips on teaching squirt level kids to be aggressive on the puck?
some of our parents use blackmail.

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11-02-2010, 10:02 PM
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I'm not sure you can get kids that young to really play in any fashion other than what they feel like doing.

The only real advice that stuck with me through the years is what one of my old team's assistant coach told me - "Play with an edge."

But I doubt a young kid will understand that one

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11-03-2010, 01:12 AM
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madmutter
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It's really tough isn't it. I've coached Tom Thumb (6 year olds) for two years and these kids have all been taught to share really well. I've had some success telling them the puck is NOT for sharing with the other team. Please let me know if you find something that really works though.

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11-03-2010, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by madmutter View Post
It's really tough isn't it. I've coached Tom Thumb (6 year olds) for two years and these kids have all been taught to share really well. I've had some success telling them the puck is NOT for sharing with the other team. Please let me know if you find something that really works though.
Ditto. Even at the older age groups it can be hard to get them to be aggressive, especially if they're new to the game. I'm coaching a Bantam team with many new players and many making the jump from inline to ice. I am running into the same issue.

Some ideas - may vary by age of player but I will be trying/have tried:

- battle drills: put a net in the faceoff circle facing the corner. Dish a puck in and send two kids in to fight for it, gain possession and come out and shoot.

- Puck race drills - There are many variations of this

- For the younger kids equate the puck to their favorite toy. "That is your favorite toy and they're trying to steal it! Are you going to let them steal it?"

- for the older kids that are not accustomed to checking - I am giong to run a "break out of the circle" drill. One player starts on the face off dot in a circle. The rest of the kids line up around the cirlce. The object is for the kid in the middle to "Check" his way out of the circle while the teammates try to "check" him back into the circle and prevent him from getting out. I ran this a lot with first year peewees. They loved it so much it became my "reward drill" if you would.

If you find anything that works please share.

EDIT: There will always be one or two drills that you just can't get to play aggressive. It's just not in their nature. In this case you just do the best you can to improve their skill and help then find a spot on the ice that will benefit both them and the team. Obviously this type of kid will be playing house hockey vs. travel but you will have them.

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11-03-2010, 12:21 PM
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The coach on my son's mite team has been having me run the dump-in-to-the-corner drill with the kids. Dump the puck into the corner, send two kids to get it. It's really done a lot for their puck-aggressiveness in the scrimmages. I try to play up the competitiveness of the drill and the kids get all into it. But when you do that, you have to be careful not to create bad feelings with the little ones when they aren't the ones to get the puck. So I try to say things like, "You really did not make it easy for him to get that puck! You made him fight for it - nice work!"

When I was at the USA Hockey coach clinic, they talked about how you need to illustrate your points with a picture that the kids can relate to. For aggressiveness, he gave an example of a dog who's on a leash, and you're holding a fresh piece of raw meat across the room. That dog has got his eyes set on it and is struggling to get free. What do you think that dog is going to do when you let go of the leash? Is he going to walk over casually to get it? No, he is going to bolt over and attack it. That's how you need to be with the puck.

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11-03-2010, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beth View Post
When I was at the USA Hockey coach clinic, they talked about how you need to illustrate your points with a picture that the kids can relate to. For aggressiveness, he gave an example of a dog who's on a leash, and you're holding a fresh piece of raw meat across the room. That dog has got his eyes set on it and is struggling to get free. What do you think that dog is going to do when you let go of the leash? Is he going to walk over casually to get it? No, he is going to bolt over and attack it. That's how you need to be with the puck.
Nice! I like it. That dump in the corner really works good. Plus, I recommend that you section off the corner with cones. Then have the puck placed in the corner and then have two players out side of the cone area enter to control the puck. The player with the puck, must control the puck for 1 minute without the other skater taking it away. If he can, move that player who couldn't take it away, over to the other corner with all of the rest of the kids that couldn't take it away.

Then have the kids in the "Could take it away" side compete against each other. The final last kid on that side, will play the last winner on the winning side. Kind of like a double elimination drill. This gives them an extra chance to redeem themselves and get a little more aggressive.

Plus, this also works well for teaching face-offs. Place three kids together in which they all rotate dropping the puck while the other two face off. Teach them all of the different ways to do face offs. Then after 5 or 10 minutes of group work, go to the center face-off area with two lines, one on each side. The kid that wins the draw stays and the other moves to a different face off area. Then those kids get to try it again and the winner of the "try it again group" goes up against the Winner of the first group for a second time. Both work really well.

Then, a lot of teaching agressiveness is done in the dressing room where the coach give players examples on what it means to have what is known as...heart, or to be hungry, or how the game is won in the corner!

I also assign my players homework and I do this at every age level all the way up to college level and adults. I have them watch NHL games and keep track on paper, how many times player move into the corners to control the puck. Or, how many times the attacking line pushes the puck into the pressure zone. Or, how many times the point man pinches. All of these are aggressive moves.

Just like what was said earlier in this post, kids learn at different rate and examples. So, by assigning them this type of assignment, allows them to discover those areas in which they can say...."oh, I see!"

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11-03-2010, 04:23 PM
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Maybe I don't know the ages of squirts, I was thinking under 6?? If so some of you are thinking too maturely. A game we played with the young ones was British Bulldog. You start off with a few players in the middle of the ice and they have to take away the puck from the others (we made them take the puck to net and score as well). This drill taught skating with the puck and protecting it for the uncaught guys and the caught guys had to go after the puck aggressively and skating hard. This drill really bred competition too.

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11-03-2010, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timekeep View Post
Maybe I don't know the ages of squirts, I was thinking under 6??
Yeah, Squirts are half of 8 years olds to about half of 11 year olds. It really depends on where the birth date falls.

Here's an age group level

Mini Mites: 4,5,6
Mites: 6,7,8
Squirts: 8,9,10
Peewees: 10,11,12
Bantams: 12,13,14
Midget Minor: 15,16
Midget Major: 17,18
Juniors: 15,16,17,18,19,20,21
College: 18 and up! (some college clubs go to adults with faculty members playing)

Now, don't get hung up on this being an exact age grouping. I have seen 8 year olds playing Peewee's!

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Last edited by Headcoach: 11-03-2010 at 04:46 PM.
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11-04-2010, 10:03 PM
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Introduce the idea of competition to them. Little kids love to compete with each other and they have the energy to do it all day. We just tell them they need to get the puck before the other team does. It works wonders when they realize the other team is bearing down on them.

Oh and yelling SKATE!! works too.

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11-04-2010, 11:00 PM
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As luck would have it the kid I was talking about (who gets blackmailed) took a cheep shot on my son today during a skills competition today.

it was breakaway work and my son in net the little ***** come to within 3 ft of the net fires the puck and follows through with his stick spearing my son in the upper chest and chin.

This is a team skills competition. As well this little ***** tips in at least one shot on his own net when my son is playing.

If you are teaching aggression make sure it is well directed aggression.

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11-04-2010, 11:46 PM
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Teach them to use their body and their butts. LOL may sound funny but it worked for me when I was a kid.

Back when I was in Tyke or Peewee (I believe) my mom told me that exact thing. To be aggressive, use your body and use your butt to protect the puck. I was relatively smaller than the other kids my age so that's part of the reason I guess should told me this. And lone and behold it produced results, I got one of the A's for that season. And my coach said it was because of my aggressive play even though I was one of the smallest guys on the team.

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11-05-2010, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adaminnj View Post
As luck would have it the kid I was talking about (who gets blackmailed) took a cheep shot on my son today during a skills competition today.

it was breakaway work and my son in net the little ***** come to within 3 ft of the net fires the puck and follows through with his stick spearing my son in the upper chest and chin.

This is a team skills competition. As well this little ***** tips in at least one shot on his own net when my son is playing.

If you are teaching aggression make sure it is well directed aggression.
Man, I really hate the blackmailing/bribing parents with a passion. They turn their kids into the "anti-team" player and they just don't get it. I tell my parents to give the kids no rewards other than a pat on the back, an "atta boy" or an ice cream for a game well played, not for number of goals, hits etc. The kid should be playing for simple fact that the kid loves the game not because Ma & Pa want the next NHL superstar.

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11-05-2010, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by frito View Post
Man, I really hate the blackmailing/bribing parents with a passion. They turn their kids into the "anti-team" player and they just don't get it. I tell my parents to give the kids no rewards other than a pat on the back, an "atta boy" or an ice cream for a game well played, not for number of goals, hits etc. The kid should be playing for simple fact that the kid loves the game not because Ma & Pa want the next NHL superstar.
Thanks for the note frito.

The spear that happened last night is really eating at me and I'm fighting the urge to pull my son off this team.

I'm still steaming!

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11-05-2010, 02:15 PM
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One thing that worked well for my team a few years back was introducing slight body contact on the competition drills.

Showing them how to rub their opponent off the puck without taking a penalty really seemed to work. For some of my kids it brought out an animal aggression, but being that they are very impressionable it was easy to get them to tone it down.

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11-05-2010, 03:00 PM
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I guess there's no body contact yet ?

I was told "If you're going to skate 200 feet to make them make a play, skate 2 more feet and hit the guy. "

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11-05-2010, 05:23 PM
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-For the younger kids equate the puck to their favorite toy. "That is your favorite toy and they're trying to steal it! Are you going to let them steal it?"
"NO!!! ......... I'm going to skate over to my mommy with my face full of tears and have her talk to his mommy and make him give it back and apologize!"

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11-06-2010, 01:49 AM
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send a puck in the corner and have them go in and fight for it and get out in front and take a shot on net then make it like a 5 push up penalty for the kid that loses. The kids will love it and it will make them more aggressive on the puck.

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11-07-2010, 07:54 PM
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Eliminate the fear first, then increase the speed of the contact. One of the best drills for my son and daughter has been what we call net battle. Push the net back from the crease to about 2-3 feet from the boards. Put 2 lines in each corner with the puck directly behind the net. Start with the kids just outside the posts and send 2 in to fight for the puck and whoever gets it first continues till he scores or the other kid takes it away and scores. By pushing the net back they have to make some contact. My son is a big kid (110 lbs at 11) while my daughter plays Mite AA at 40 lbs. Make them try to take the puck thru the other player.

Then as the season progresses move each line towards the corner to increase the speed of the drill. You can also add a coaches stick to keep the puck behind the net and make them fight harder. The worst mistake you can make though is to do it at full speed first. Gradually increase the speed but dont comprimise on the effort.

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