Monday, October 10, 2011

Red Light / Green Light

Alternative names: none
Objective: To work on starting, stopping, and attentiveness
Typical length of drill: However long you want
Materials needed: an open skating space
Skill level required: ability to stop in any form / ability to control speed in a pack
Description: This drill is an old roller rink open skate stand by!

Anyone who has skated an open skate, at least at a rink in the U.S., has probably played this game in its most basic form. All players line up at one end of the "rink" touching the opposing wall from the caller or the "goal".

There is one person who "calls" the game. When the caller says "green light" the skaters may skate. When the caller says "red light" the skaters must cease all movement. Skaters need to freeze in place. Even moving the arms or falling over after the words "red light" are spoken are considered moving. All skaters who move after the words "red light" must return to the beginning and start over.

The caller is prone to say things other than "green light." Some of my favorites are "green tomatoes", "green thumbs", "purple people eaters." They can also say things other than "red light". You get the idea. Only the words "green light" release the players from their frozen states.

How quickly someone freezes on hearing "red light" is somewhat subjective. I like to institute a count of "one one thousand two" but your mileage may vary.

The first skater to pass the end zone (a line or the caller) wins. This encourages speed in skating.

Making it a Pack Drill

Group skaters into packs of 2 to 4 and make the pack responsible for starting and stopping appropriately. Creating interdependence in the game makes it more advanced.

Additional notes:

Coaching notes
Do not underestimate the power of awareness games to improve the mental acuity of skaters! We know in real bouts being able to quickly process whether a referee blew a whistle (it's a major I go to the box) or just shouted color/number/penalty (it's a minor, keep skating) can make a difference in being there for the play at hand. That's not all. Skaters are always having to quantify and qualify what's going on around them in bouts.

I like to use the original roller rink game for fresh meat who are just learning to stop. It is difficult to encourage skaters to actually get some speed when learning to stop. This game rewards speed and fast, controlled stopping.

Modify this game all you want. Make all skaters go backward. Make them change directions each time they restart. Make them keep all 8 on the floor. Whatever you're working on you can integrate into this game.

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