As our players get older and bigger, what was previously a large patch of ice becomes smaller. And as the playing surface shrinks, the time players have to react in game situations is reduced. It's important that, during practices, our players are forced to do things quicker and in smaller areas. That way, on gameday, they are in better position to adapt and excel.
Practices at the 14U and 16U levels should continue to include some station-based work, where the ice surface is broken into small areas. In these stations, the coaches can work with players in small groups on individual skills and in live-action, competitive small-area games. Watch this video of the NHL's Anaheim Ducks for an example. Even at the professional level, a substantial chunk of time is spent refining skills and game play in small spaces.
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