Before making a season plan it is important to define exactly what you are planning for. What happens in a hockey game should determine how you prepare to play. If it doesn't relate to the game then it is a waste of time and energy.
So first it is important to consider how to prepare for a game by thinking about what happens in a hockey game.
General principles of a Game:
- Average amount of goals between equal teams is 5. So you must average 3 or more a game for and 2 or less a game against.
- Players are on offense about 35% of the time, on defense about 35% of the time and the puck is loose about 30% of the time (first loose puck situation is a face off)
- Your team will have the puck about 200 times and the opponents about 200 times so there are about 7 transitions from offense to defense, defense to offense or loose puck to either every minute.
- Players spend about 40% of the time gliding on two skates and do most of the actions starting from this position.
- On offense you are either in game playing role one of puck carrier or role two of puck support.
- On defense you are either in role 3 the closest player checking the puck carrier or racing for a loose puck or in role 4 of defensive support.
- Over 60% of goals are scored on rebounds.
- On average the puck carrier is in possession about 2.5 seconds and the team on offense about 5 seconds before transition or a loose puck.
These facts demonstrate why good habits are critical. The game is a game of transition between situations, offense, defense and loose puck and in those situation between game playing roles on offense of puck carrier and puck support and on defense of closest checker and covering away from the puck. These roles constantly change. i.e. when you pass the puck you immediately go from role 1 puck carrier to role 2 puck support. You don't stand there and watch but get open for a return pass.
Habits like always face the puck, stick on the ice, head on a swivel, communicate, skate hard to open ice when you get the puck, find openings, stop at the net, follow your shot, follow your pass, tie up sticks on rebounds, seal sticks to the outside when covering in front etc..are what makes the difference between winning and losing.
So a season plan must cover all of the skills of each game playing role and each situation. Numerical situations from 1-0, 1-1 to 6-5 must also be prepared for.
If you are coaching young children skating instruction and practice should be part of each ice session.
Each practice should warm up with individual offensive skills and a possible rotation of practice themes would be:
Day 1 - work on individual offensive skills and skating skills.
Day 2 - work on individual defensive skills up to a 2-2 which has all four game playing roles.
Dav 3 - team offensive skills in each zone from 3-2 to 6-5
Day 4 - team defensive skills from 2-3 to 5-6.
Do this 4 practice rotation and prioritize the progression of skills and situations. By the end of the season you should have worked on everything and be going through review practices based on game performance.