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Push Pass

Hockey Push Pass

Children should be able to make a push pass from a stationary and moving start

Children should be able to control a moving ball

Activity 1:

Tennis Ball Drop Reactions

5 mins


  1. Set up 2 cones about 2-3m apart (depending on age)
  2. You'll need 2 tennis balls, one in each hand for the dropper who stands on one of the cones
  3. The catcher stands on the other cone
  4. The dropper holds both balls out their sides, one in each hand at about shoulder height and drops just one of them.
  5. As the ball drops, the catcher has to move quickly to try and catch the ball before it bounces twice
  6. Repeat the process and change who is the dropper and catcher so that everyone has a turn at each job

Teaching Points:

  • Get low and ready to move quickly in an athletic stance (bend knees slightly, arms ready)
  • Try not to focus on either ball specifically, your gaze should be in the middle somewhere and you should be using your periferal vision to spot the ball dropping


2 cones, 2 tennis balls

Grip the Stick - Hockey

Activity 2:

5-10 mins


  1. FIRST: Get everyone to pick up the stick RIGHT HANDED!! The problem with the plastic hockey sticks is that the head of the stick is flat on both sides and can therefore be used to strike the ball with either side. This means that children who prefer to use a left handed grip in other sports will choose to pick the stick up in a left handed grip. So, before they can do so, teach them the right handed way. It will take a bit of getting used to but just do it!

  2. This is crucial in keeping everyone safe. I've seen several coaches in the past allow children to use the 'left-handed' grip. If you do this, you are putting every child on the pitches safety in jeopardy. You should bare in mind that all Hockey is played with the left hand above the right hand on the stick for exactly that reason. The reason it is so dangerous is that the follow through of a right handed player striking the ball would go directly into the body of a left handed player attempting to strike the same ball from the opposite direction and vise versa. Two right handed players doing the same thing avoid contact with the other player.

  3. ADVICE: When children first come to a hockey lesson, lay the stick on the floor and give them an easy to follow demonstration on how to pick the stick up. Get all of the children to line up and demonstrate how to hold the stick. If any of them have picked up the stick in a left handed grip, get them to put the stick back down and to try again. Continue to do this until everyone in the group/class can pick it up in a right handed way. You'll be surprised how many attempts it takes but it is absolutely worth it. Even when this is done, some children will still require a little bit of monitoring when performing skills to ensure that they are practicing with the correct grip. It's pedantic but remember, each time you do it you are strengthening their neural pathway and increasing their chances of getting it automatically with each correct attempt.

  4. Finally, the other benefit of doing this is that the child doesn't have to relearn the game when they get to middle school and start using wooden sticks where they are forced to use the right handed method. This is a massive problem for any child as you can imagine, so get them doing it right as early as possible!

  5. Having done this in a pedantic manor over several sessions and years, the number of injuries during hockey sessions has fallen dramaticaly. There are still the occasional bumps and grazes as is the nature of the sport but on the whole is a far safer environment and enjoyable environment for children to learn the sport and less work for the schools first aider!

Teaching Points:

  • Left hand at the top

  • Right hand about half way down the stick

  • Stick should sit with the face of the stick by your right foot and the top of the handle by your left hip

  • Grip tight with left hand and loose with right hand


  • Hockey Sticks

Activity 3:

Free Dribble - Hockey

10 mins


  1. Mark out a large area for everyone to dribble around
  2. Give each child a stick and a hockey ball
  3. Ask children to dribble around the area, trying to avoid bumping into other children
  4. Add in any technical points that you want to

Teaching Points:

  • Hold the stick with your left hand at the top (grip tightly)
  • Have your right hand about half way down the stick (grip loosely to allow the stick to rotate in your hand)
  • Bend your knees and not your waist so that you can keep your head up and not hurt your back (You'll probably hear "My back hurts" about 30 seconds after you start. This is a good time to address this point)
  • Try to keep the ball on the face of the stick as you dribble


  • Hockey Sticks
  • Balls
  • Cones

Activity 4:

Push Pass - Hockey

10 mins


  1. The group should be put in pairs
  2. Give each pair a stick each, a ball between them and 4 cones
  3. The cones should be laid out with a cone for each player approximately 10m apart. The other 2 cones should form a small goal in the middle of the 2 players
  4. Explain and demonstrate the push pass
  5. Participants should then try to play a push pass through the mini goal to their partner and their partner push passes the ball back
  6. Repeat

Teaching Points:

Push Pass

1. Body Position: Start with a balanced and stable body position, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your knees slightly bent and your weight evenly distributed on both feet.


2. Grip: Hold your stick with both hands, keeping them relaxed but firm. The left hand should be placed at the top of the stick near the grip, while the right hand should be positioned slightly lower, about midway down the stick.


3. Backswing: To generate power, bring the stick back behind you as you transfer your weight to your back foot. This will help create momentum for the push pass.


4. Contact Point: As you initiate the pass, make contact with the ball using the flat part of your stick. Aim to strike the middle or lower half of the ball to ensure a flat and accurate pass.


5. Follow Through: After making contact with the ball, continue to follow through with your stick in the direction of your intended target. This will help improve the accuracy and power of the pass.


6. Accuracy: Focus on your target and aim to pass the ball directly to your intended recipient. Keep your eyes on the target throughout the pass to ensure accuracy.


7. Timing: Coordinate your push pass with the movement of your teammates to ensure they are ready to receive the ball. Anticipate their positioning and pass the ball at the right moment to maximize effectiveness.


8. Communication: Use verbal and non-verbal signals to communicate your intention to pass. This will help your teammates anticipate and react to your push pass more effectively.


9. Practice: Regularly practice your push pass technique to improve both power and accuracy. Incorporate drills and game-like situations to simulate realistic scenarios and enhance decision-making skills.


10. Game Awareness: Understand when to use a push pass in a game situation. Assess the positioning of opponents and teammates to determine if a push pass is the most suitable option, or if another pass or shooting opportunity may be more suitable.


Receiving Pass


1. Get into a ready position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Keep your weight balanced on the balls of your feet, ready to react quickly.


2. Anticipate the pass: Read the game and position yourself where you expect the ball to be played. Maintain good spatial awareness and communicate with your teammates to ensure you are in the right place at the right time.


3. Present a target: Use your stick to create a clear target for your teammate to aim at. Hold your stick out in front of you with your hands spaced apart, making sure the flat side of the stick faces the passer. Keep your stick low to the ground to make it easier for your teammate to execute an accurate pass.


4. Move towards the ball: As the pass is made, take a few quick steps towards the ball to close the distance and meet it. This will help you gain better control and ensure that the ball does not bounce or bobble away from you.


5. Use soft hands: As the ball arrives, cushion its impact with your stick by receiving it softly. Allow the ball to naturally come into contact with your stick instead of trying to forcefully stop it. This will minimize the chances of the ball bouncing off your stick or going out of control.


6. Absorb the impact: As the ball hits your stick, transfer your weight onto your front foot to absorb the force. This will help you maintain control and prevent the ball from bouncing off your stick. Keep your stick slightly angled downwards to guide the ball onto the playing surface.


7. Use your peripheral vision: While receiving the pass, keep your head up and use your peripheral vision to assess your surroundings. This will enable you to quickly identify the next best action, such as passing, dribbling, or shooting.


8. React quickly: Once you have received the pass, react quickly to make the most of the situation. Look for open passing lanes or opportunities to attack the goal. Make efficient decisions based on the game situation and execute the appropriate next action.


9. Practice regularly: Receiving passes efficiently takes practice and repetition. Work on your hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and stick skills through drills and game-like scenarios to improve your ability to receive passes effectively.


10. Stay confident and focused: Receiving a pass requires concentration and confidence in your abilities. Stay focused on the task at hand, trust in your skills, and maintain a positive mindset. Mistakes may happen, but it's important to quickly recover and continue to contribute to the team's success.


  • Balls
  • Hockey Sticks
  • Cones
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