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10U-18U: Grillo Gap Drill

12/05/2016, 10:30am MST
By USA Hockey

Purpose: To reinforce aggressive skating to close gaps while taking time and space away from the offensive player.

Coaching Points: F1 starts on the top of the circle. D1 starts on the bottom of the circle. This drill requires 1/6 of the ice. F1 starts the drill by sprinting down to the dot. F1 must stop on the dot. Once F1 comes to a complete stop, D1 is activated. F1 now sprints to one of the two puck piles (F1’s choice). D1 sprints behind F1 to close the gap. F1 has an option once he or she gathers a puck. F1 can break right or left (in this example, F1 breaks right). Now, F1 challenges D1 in a 1v1 battle. D1 does not stand still or skate backward. Instead, D1 closes the gap and leads with stick and puts body between F1 and the defensive net. NOTE: D1 should not follow F1 down the boards. D1 should cut the player down with good body position and stick-on-stick defense. Once the 1v1 thrust is over, coach blows whistle and F1 sprints and gathers puck from opposite pile and drill repeats.

Equipment: One net, two piles of pucks.


  1. Draw a line under the top of the circle. Have players shoot from above this line and follow shot to net.
  2. Add coach as an outlet to the offensive player high in the zone. If F1 has no room because of a tight gap, he or she should dish across the slot to the coach. Teach F1 to go to the net after passing to coach. If D1 has a poor gap, teach F1 not to pass, but exploit the poor gap instead.

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