Top 5 Drills from NHL Coaches, Brad Shaw

"He was one of the best defensive coaches that I ever had. He's a brilliant mind in the game" - CoachThem CEO, Mike Weaver.


On top of providing a tool to simplify how you plan for practices, our goal is to connect coaches from every level in the game and grow the resources that we learn from.

Regardless of what team you're coaching, preparation is always the key to a successful season.

Columbus Blue Jackets Assistant Coach, Brad Shaw, is no exception - using CoachThem to organize his drills for the demanding NHL schedule...


"Coach Them is the perfect tool for any coach looking to design, organize and archive drills. The simple design saves me time and allows me to be a better, more effective coach."

- Brad Shaw, Assistant Coach, Columbus Blue Jackets


We caught up with Brad, to pick his brain and share some of his tried and tested drills.

Here are 5 of Brad Shaw's top drills that he's used throughout his 20 year professional coaching career:


Lemaire 2v2 N-Zone Angling

Tags: 2 vs 2, Angling, Checking, Force vs Contain, Gap Control

  • First 4 skaters on the boards at the blue line. Coach is at center red-line with pucks.
  •  2 OCircle 's vs 2 XX 's full ice 2v2. On the whistle, the coach randomly passes the puck to any of the first 4 skaters. The team receiving the puck is attacking the other end ASAP. 
  • Defending team skates forward 100% to check. Angles and stick position are key.
  • Coach can let this drill run longer and then it starts to have a conditioning element as well.

Barile 1v1 to 2v2

Tags: 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, Backcheck, Pace, Read & React, Rushes

  • Whistle; Circle O1 leaves on whistle with puck around cone to attack net in own end vs X X1 from other side. Play 1v1. 
  • 2nd Whistle; X X2 leaves with puck around cone to attack net in own end vs OCircle 2 from other side. At the same time, Circle O1 back checks hard to join Circle O2 in defending 2v2 vs XX 2 and X X1(who has joined the attack with X 2 on the whistle).
  • 3rd Whistle; Circle O3 leaves with puck around cone to attack net in own end vs X X3. Circle O2 joins on offense after defending and XX 2 joins to defend 2v2
  • Continuous 
  • Switch sides to offer alternate angle for defender

Bassen Stick on Puck

Tags: 1 vs 1, Angling, Checking, Defensive Zone, Gap Control

  • fence D1 and FForward 1 start facing each other with one skate blade on the boards. 
  • Coach starts the drill by spotting the puck to give the offensive player an advantage. Forward F1 attacks net with speed while protecting puck.
  • Defence D1 routes to gap up asap and use stick to deny play on net. Whistle ends the drill when the defender has broken up the play. 
  • Next 2 players ready to go.

Bill Game

Tags: 2 vs 2, Battle, Small Areas

  • Coach spots puck to initiate 2v2 small ice. 
  • On whistle the 2v2 is done. Players leave puck and hustle to their teammates. New players can't leave until both previous players have gone past the pylon. Penalty shot for flagrant violations.
  • If puck leaves the area, coach is ready to spot new puck in area. If goal is scored, coach is ready to spot new puck in area
  • Keep score to have a reward for the winners or a punishment for the losers

CBJ Break-outs

Tags: 3 vs 0, Breakouts, Pace, Passing, Rushes. Timing

  • Whistle start. Both coaches spot pucks into opposite corners. Called breakout is executed at both ends and the players attack 2 v 0 + 1.
  • After rush, each coach spots a 2nd puck into the attacking corner, and the non-shooting FForward  gets the 2nd puck and all 3 playeres run a called Offenisive zone attack. 
  • Can use 2 DDefence to add variety to the breakouts. 
  • Removing the 2nd puck allows the DDefence  to focus on joining the rush.


All of the above drills can be found in our Drill Marketplace, and are put together in a special practice under our Plans Marketplace.

We appreciate Brad sharing some of his information and wish him and the rest of the CBJ team all the best during their 2019/20 season!


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