50 Hockey Drills For Defensemen

Defensemen Puck Movement Agility Drill YouTube
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Hockey Drills for Defensemen


As a defenseman in hockey, your role is crucial in both defending your team's goal and initiating offensive plays. To excel in this position, it is essential to work on your skills through regular practice and drills. In this article, we will discuss various hockey drills specifically designed for defensemen to enhance their abilities in different aspects of the game.

1. Skating Drills

Skating is the foundation of any hockey player's game, and defensemen need to be strong skaters to cover the ice effectively. Incorporate these drills into your practice routine:

1.1 Forward and Backward Skating

Practice transitioning smoothly between forward and backward skating, as this is a fundamental skill for defensemen. Start by skating forward for a few strides, then quickly transition to backward skating for a few strides. Repeat this drill several times to improve your agility and balance.

1.2 Lateral Skating

Work on your lateral movement by performing side-to-side skating drills. Set up cones or markers on the ice and skate laterally from one marker to another, focusing on maintaining proper form and quick footwork. This drill will enhance your ability to defend against opponents and quickly change direction.

1.3 Agility Ladder Drills

Using an agility ladder, perform various footwork drills to improve your quickness and coordination. These drills will help you develop faster foot speed, which is crucial for defending against skilled forwards and joining the rush on offense.

2. Defensive Zone Drills

Defensive zone play is a key responsibility for defensemen. These drills will help you improve your positioning, defensive techniques, and decision-making in your own end:

2.1 Gap Control Drill

This drill focuses on maintaining proper gap control between you and the opposing forwards. Set up cones or markers to represent the offensive players and practice skating backward while keeping a consistent gap between yourself and the "forwards." This drill will help you learn to anticipate plays and remain in a position to defend effectively.

2.2 Net Front Battle Drill

Defending the front of the net is crucial to prevent opponents from scoring. Set up a small area in front of the net and practice battling against a teammate or coach, simulating game-like situations. Focus on using your body positioning and stick work to deny opponents scoring opportunities.

2.3 Breakout Drills

Breakouts are essential for transitioning from defense to offense. Work on breakout drills that simulate game situations, such as breakout passes, regrouping with your teammates, and making quick decisions to move the puck up the ice efficiently.

3. Offensive Zone Drills

While defensemen primarily focus on their defensive responsibilities, contributing offensively is also crucial. These drills will help you improve your offensive skills and contribute to your team's scoring:

3.1 Point Shots Drill

Practice taking accurate and powerful point shots by setting up cones or targets at the blue line. Focus on your shooting technique, weight transfer, and accuracy to become a threat from the point position.

3.2 Pinch and Keep-In Drill

Learn to pinch effectively and keep the puck in the offensive zone. Set up a drill where you start at the blue line and practice pinching down the boards to keep the puck in play. Focus on your timing and decision-making to ensure you don't get caught out of position.

3.3 Offensive Zone Activation Drill

Work on joining the rush and contributing to the offense. Set up drills that simulate game situations, such as jumping into the play, making smart passes, and creating scoring opportunities for your team.

4. Transition Drills

Transitioning from defense to offense quickly is crucial for defensemen. These drills will help you improve your ability to transition effectively and support your team's offensive plays:

4.1 Three-Zone Transition Drill

Set up a drill that incorporates all three zones of the ice – defensive, neutral, and offensive. Practice transitioning from defense to offense and vice versa, focusing on quick puck movement, reading the play, and providing support to your teammates.

4.2 Outlet Pass Drill

Improving your outlet passing skills will enable you to start offensive plays more efficiently. Set up drills that focus on making accurate breakout passes under pressure, simulating game situations that require quick decision-making and execution.

4.3 Quick Change Drill

Defensemen often need to change on the fly during a game. Set up a drill where you practice quick changes, simulating game scenarios where you need to transition from the bench to the ice seamlessly. Focus on maintaining your positioning and being ready to contribute immediately.


By incorporating these hockey drills into your practice routine, you can enhance your skills as a defenseman. Remember to focus on your skating, defensive techniques, offensive contributions, and transitions. Regularly practicing these drills will help you become a more well-rounded and effective defenseman, ultimately benefiting your team's success on the ice.