CoachThem's Top Drills of 2019

CoachThem's Top Drills of 2019

2019 has been wild. Our game has become faster, more skilled and compeititve as ever. We've seen mind blowing goals and saves, and even crowned the St. Louis Blues with their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. 

At the minor level, hockey player and coaching development has continued to progress. We're seeing more regimented and structured youth associations, an increase in coaches meetings and investment into tools that raise the standard of teaching for our players. All in all, our sport has made great progress in growing the game and developing systems that reinforce proper preparation, development and most importantly, fun.

At CoachThem, our team has had the best year yet. We've had the opportunity to work with great organizations like the NHL Coaches Association and The Coaches Site. We've welcomed new members to our team to streamline the development of our platform and most importantly, we've grown our CoachThem community to over 7,000 coaches across the globe!

It's safe to say that 2019 has been a great success in the hockey world, and to wrap things up, we put together a list of CoachThem's Top 5 Drills of 2019 - based on the feedback from YOU and the CoachThem community.



5. Maine Chipper

Tags: 2 vs 0, Skating

Starting off our list is the chip and go, Maine Chipper. This is a great 2 vs 0 drill to kick off your practice. It works in a give-and-go up the boards and can be used as a secondary zone entry strategy against your opposition.


  • Both sides leave at same time on whistle
  • Forward F1 and FForward 2 leave together with a give and go
  • Forward F1 chips puck to Forward F2 from the oppostie end line
  • Forward F2 skates in and shoots, Forward F1 drives the net, middle lane for a rebound

4. Team Canada Wannabe

Tags: Flow, Shooting

Coach, player, parent or just a pure specator, there's a high chance that you've seen this variation of the "Team Canada Warm Up". It's a quality flow drill that will work on a quick transition and breakaway speed!


  • X X1 starts with puck, skates in for a shot on goal
  • X X1 picks up loose puck in corner and skates up the middle X X2 swings towards the boards and receives pass from X X1
  • X X3 skates across the neutral zone and receives pass from X X2 
  • X X3 then skates down for a shot on goal, keeps the drill continuous by picking up another loose puck in the corner

3. Jon Goyens: D Up Basic

Tags: Defence, Screens / Tips / Deflections, Transtions

As featured in our extremely popular blog feature Transitions for Explosive OffenseJon Goyens brought his best with the D Up Basic. It's the first step in an excellent transition sequence and gets your team thinking about the attack when a loose puck finds it's way in the "transition zone".


  • Defence D backwards pivots retrieves puck, pass to Forward F1 inside dots
  • Forward F1 shoot in stride, hide release point, after shot indirect pass low to high to Defence D for 1T or slide blue & shoot
  • Forward F1 head to net for screen & tip, depth is important

Variation B

  • Defence  D repeats D up pass with FForward 2, Forward F1 tags up in middle, enter 2 v 0. On entry F can look for DDefence

2. Choose Your Gap

Tags: 1 vs 1, Defence, Gap Control

Let's face it... gap control is tough to teach and more difficult to master. CoachThem's own Mike Weaver came up with this drill while teaching players in his hockey school Defence First. Mike says, "I'd rather my defence get beat while having a good gap, than give too much space and open up the offensive zone" and this drill reinforces the point of taking control of open ice.


  • Defence D1 starts with puck
  • Forward F1 starts on hashmarks. Can't move until receives pass
  • On whistle Defence D1 carries puck and passes to Forward F1
  • Forward F1 skates full speed down ice and takes Defence D1 from other end on 1 on 1
  • Defence D1 after passing, skates hard and chooses which pylon to go around
  • Objective is to go to the 3rd pylon (furthest)

1. Pat Burns

Tags: Breakouts, Forecheck

At the top our list, the infamous Pat Burns breakout progression sits comfortably above the rest! This drill tests your team's breakout system under various levels of pressure. Try different exit strategies with pressure from F1, F2 and F3 and develop a system that works for your team.


  • Forward F1 gains redline and chips puck deep, then forechecks. Forward F1 route vs 5 Blue players who then breakout puck
  • Once the puck is broken out, Blue passes the puck to the Forward F2 who gains the red line and chips the puck deep and forechecks with Forward F1
  • Once 2nd puck is broken out, Blue player passes the puck to Forward F3 who gains the red line and dumps the puck deep, both Defence D join the Forward F's and play 5 vs 5


All CoachThem Pro and Association users can find drills the above in our drill Marketplace and add them directly to their custom practice plans!

If you're looking to improve how you coach, sign up for a 10-Day Free Trial of our online drill drawing and practice planning tool HERE !


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