Just like any sport, ice hockey requires countless, and often strange, hours on ice working on skills like skating, puck handling, shooting, passing, and positioning. While these skills are essential to playing hockey at any level, one of the most overlooked aspects of the game is off-ice training.
Hockey training off of the ice can take a few different forms. One of the most prevalent with older players is strength training.
“With limited amounts of ice time, in youth hockey especially, off-ice training can provide the strength for required movements on the ice, serve for adequate conditioning and be the real difference in making it to that next level of play,” Brian U., Coachup Ice hockey coach.
Because hockey requires a unique use of muscles, it is crucial to build those muscles up in order improve your speed in the open ice, power and stability in the corners, and your overall endurance to compete at a high level for three periods.
In addition to off-ice strength training, developing players can work on their puck handling and shooting off of the ice through various dryland exercises. One of the most important and easiest skills to work on off the ice is puck handling. Through the use of a puckball, which can be purchased at any hockey/sporting goods store, players can work on stick handling with their heads up in the driveway, or even in the house, watching television. Secondly, players can work on shooting off of a piece of Plexiglas to simulate the effect of ice. This will give players the opportunity to work on both power and accuracy in shooting. Even defensemen like to score goals, and to score in hockey you have to be able control the puck, and shoot with accuracy and velocity, in traffic.
While there is no real substitute for spending time on the ice, off-ice training can vastly improve a players strength and skills, to ensure that they are doing everything possible to achieve success in ice hockey.
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