Skill testing motivates and challenges players and teams to work toward skill improvement and motivates coaches to design proper practices to improve skill. The variety of skills used in the Skills Testing Challenge can help add variety to athletes’ ice sessions.
It can be used to compare player and team results to national norms. When repeated periodically, the testing can also track the development of players and teams.
The Skills Testing Challenge is a cooperative venture between BC Hockey and a member association. It is based on Hockey Canada’s National Skills Standards and Testing Program and is designed much like the football Punt, Pass and Kick Program.
A series of skills stations are set up to test specific skills. Players take turns performing the drills at each station. The object is to progressively select the most skillful players based on the Hockey Canada Skills Standards and Testing Program.
- To celebrate hockey skills
- To encourage the acquisition of skills
- To promote the Hockey Canada Standards and Skills Testing Program
Conducting the ‘Test’
The current set up has four stations. Two (2) additional stations may be added – one (1) for goaltenders and another for breakaways. There are two (2) possibilities for running the Skills Testing Challenge:
- Run all stations simultaneously with one (1) assistant for each station.
- Incorporate the test into a series of practices by setting up and executing one (1) or two (2) stations at each practice. This method would require several ice sessions to complete the challenge.
- 30 pucks
- One (1) tape measure – 100 feet
- One (1) spray paint
- Three (3) stop watches
- 10 pylons
- Four (4) clipboards and pens
- One (1) lead tester to coordinate all on-ice activities
- One (1) assistant tester for each station to lead tests at individual testing stations
- (optional) one (1) recorder for each station to assist with recording scores
When the testing is complete, players should be ranked in order from top to bottom in each test. From there, each player will have a series of rakings that will be added together and divided by the number of test given to him or her to determine an overall average rank.
Let’s assume a team with 14 skaters will go through seven tests. Each player will get a ranking for each test with 1st being the best and 14th being the worst. The seven scores will be added and then divided by seven to receive an overall ranking. The player with the highest ranking (lowest score) is declared the winner.
Player 1 is ranked 1st, 4th, 3rd, 12th, 3rd, 2nd, 8th = 33 / 7 = 4.71 overall
Player 2 is ranked 2nd, 5th, 9th, 1st, 4th, 1st, 2nd = 24 / 7 = 3.42 overall (winner)
Through BC Hockey and Hockey Canada, associations and teams can receive test descriptions, score sheets and a complete operations manual.
Many categories exist for how players can be grouped together for conducting a skills testing challenge. The following categories are a few ideas:
- Male skaters, Female skaters, Male goaltenders, Female goaltenders. These can further be divided into
- Atom, Pee Wee, Bantam, Midget
- It is also possible to add scores as an aggregate to challenge team against team or league against league
Scope of the Skills Testing Challenge
The challenge can be run at multiple levels. One possibility is to have progressive levels such as Team, Division and Association
Level One (1): Team
The Minor Hockey Associations’ teams conduct the tests under their own conditions and auspices. The coach submits the scores to the association.
Level Two (2): Division
Team winners from Level One (1) participate in the Association Challenge hosted by the Association. The Association may choose the participants from Level One (1) in any number of categories (there are a lot of options, for example: Team winners that play defense could challenge the team winners that play forward in a division OR you could simply declare an overall champion in the Pee Wee category).
Skills tests one (1) hour of ice per 30 players) would be conducted by the Association. Winners could be announced at an above minor game and a between period demonstration could take place.
Level Three (3): Association or Inter-Association / League Competition
Fun challenges could be arranged among an Associations’ divisions or leagues, possibly as a part of a tournament or yearend celebration. An association could also challenge their neighbour associating or invite participants from their league or district.
For more information on Hockey Canada’s National Skills Standards and Testing Program visit the Hockey Canada website.