Kids Hockey Drills to Build a Shutdown Defense

Retrieve & Find the Outlet

This drill will see players simulating the initial stages of possession for their team by retrieving the puck from deep in their defensive zone and passing to a teammate (a forward) to begin transitioning out of the defensive zone. 

Much like "One-Touch, One-on-One," have two lines of players (defensemen and forwards) start at the blue line with the coach standing in between them. The coach will dump the puck into one corner or the other. The defenseman, who will begin the drill by facing the coach and then skating backwards, will retrieve the puck. The forward will follow their teammate to the goal line and then circle back close to the boards on either side of the defensive zone, thus creating an outlet for their defensive teammate. The defenseman will carry the puck behind the net, pick their head up to find their supporting teammate with a pass and transition out of the defensive zone with their teammate. 

Retrieval With Point Shot

This drill will see defensive players once again recover a loose puck, but this time the retrieval will lead to a point shot for their defensive partner.  

Begin by having the participating players line up in the middle of the offensive zone facing the blue line. Two defensive players step out to start the drill, with one defender beginning on the right side of the defensive zone and the other beginning on the left. Each defender will begin the drill facing the blue line. The coach, who is standing a few steps in front of the line facing the players, will initiate the drill by blowing the whistle and sending a puck into one corner or the other. Each player begins skating backward upon hearing the whistle, and the player that is closest to the puck will turn and skate forward to retrieve the puck. The other player will skate hard to the point (left or right side of the defensive zone) and wait for a pass from their partner. The player tasked with retrieving the initial dump-in will collect the loose puck, skate behind their own net and pass to their teammate at the point. After the pass reaches the second player, that player will fire a shot on net from the point.

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