Hockey skills by the numbers
If you’re thinking about taking up hockey, or already play and are curious about what your level of skill might be, these hockey skills definitions are a guide to which level you should assign yourself. Although certainly not definitive, they should give you a good idea of your level based on many factors, including but not limited to physical ability, age, skating, stick handling, passing and shooting skills. We suggest you review your hockey skills level yearly or more often if you’re just getting into hockey and feel like you’re advancing quickly.
Skaters and goalies at this level are just learning to skate and have very limited knowledge of the fundamentals of the game, i.e., positioning, rules, and team concepts. This level is for the true beginner who has never played the game, nor has had much experience watching or following the game. The level of physicality at this level should be nil, although players should understand that accidental collisions can occur because players haven’t mastered controlled skating. Skating – Stick handling – Passing – Shooting (SSPS) rank: 1 to 2 out of 10.
At this level, skaters and goalies are becoming more comfortable on their skates but still have a hard time with skating both forward and backward. They’ve acquired some basic skills in getting up and down the ice but still struggle with carrying the puck, making passes, and taking shots. Players in this group would also include those who are not natural athletes and may take more time to develop their skills. As with Level 1, the level of physicality should be nil but accidental collisions can occur because players haven’t mastered controlled skating. SSPS rank: 1 to 2 out of 10.
Players at this level are becoming more comfortable on their skates, but still struggle with going backward. They are probably just getting comfortable with positional play, learning to skate with their head up, grasping the rules and team concepts, and understanding offensive and defensive zones. SSPS rank: 3 to 4 out of 10.
At this level, skaters and goalies are comfortable skating forward and can now skate backward fairly competently. They are beginning to understand positioning and team concepts, but are still working on their stick handling, passing, crossovers, etc. SSPS rank: 3 to 4 out of 10.
Skaters and goalies at this level are very comfortable in a team environment, and know where to be in most situations. SSPS rank: 5 out of 10
Players at this level are comfortable in a fast-paced game and are able to keep up with the play. They are in average physical shape. SSPS rank: 5 to 6 out of 10.
As with Level 3.5, skaters and goalies at this level are comfortable in a fast-paced game and are able to keep up with the play. In this case, they are in good physical shape. SSPS rank: 6 to 7 out of 10.
At this stage, skaters and goalies play at a high level in all areas of the game. They understand the rules and team concepts, and are skilled at stick handling, passing, puck control, etc. They are in good physical shape. SSPS rank: 6 to 7 out of 10.
Like Level 4.5, skaters and goalies at this level play at a high level in all areas of the game. They understand the rules and team concepts, and are skilled a stick handling, passing, puck control, etc. They are in above-average physical shape. SSPS rank: 8 out of 10.
Finally, skaters and goalies at this level should feel comfortable playing with former professionals or ex-Division 1/college players. SSPS rank: 9 to 10 out of 10.
Note: The levels of play outlined above are compared to USA Adult Hockey Skill Levels. This is a general rule, as not all USA Adult Leagues measure the same way. When determining which level you wish to play at, our advice is to respect others and play in appropriate pickup games, leagues, and tournaments. Many events on Hockey Finder are open to a range of skill levels, which is great for lower-level players who are interested in learning the game. That being said, we encourage more advance players to encourage these players and include them in the game.
This article originally appears on HockeyFinder.com. Republished with permission.