A lot of hockey coaches dedicate a portion of each practice to “freestyle practice,” a time in which the player can work on anything he or she wants. When you’re new to hockey, however, you may be unsure about how to spend this free time.
Hopefully, you know better than to use it as a chance to goof off and you understand that it should be spent doing something productive. While you could shoot pucks around or get in a little cardio, there are definitely more effective strategies for making the most of your freestyle practice time.
Read on to learn about some of the best ways you can spend that free practice time; you’re sure to impress your coach (and yourself!) with these tips.
Try a New Move
If there’s a new move or trick that you want to nail, there’s no better time to get it down pat than during the freestyle part of practice. Even if you don’t have something specific to work on, you can try out some new things and, who knows, maybe even come up with a signature move.
Plus, if the coach hangs around during this part of practice, you can ask him for some feedback on the new stuff you’re trying out.
Make Your Shot Shine
Freestyle practice is also a great time to work on perfecting your shot. Try shooting off both feet and from different angles and positions. Or, just play a game of catch and shoot with another player.
You’ll find that, through trial and error and experimenting with your shot, you will learn how to alter it until it’s much better, stronger, and more precise than before.
Play with Your Teammates
While freestyle practice is the perfect time to learn more about yourself and how you play, it’s also a good time to learn more about how your teammates play...and about how you interact with specific types of players.
For this reason, don’t spend every freestyle practice alone. Try playing a one on one game or two on one keep-away. You’ll quickly learn more about how you work, and, in the process, you’ll also learn more about your teammates and improve puck protection skills, defensive tactics, passing skills, and more.
Finally, when needed, don’t hesitate to practice skating during your free time. This may seem basic or look like you’re “doing nothing,” but honestly, strong skating skills are essential, and they can take some time to build for new players. As such, don’t be afraid to just spend some time bettering your skating and your stability on the ice.
You can always ask one of your teammates or your coach for help too; seasoned skaters can easily spot what you’re doing wrong and give you helpful feedback.
In the end, though, no matter how you use your freestyle practice time, as long as you use it wisely and don’t waste it, it should prove helpful.