The ONE hockey skill you must master to compete at the elite level!
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By far the most important skill for ice hockey players to master is the ability to skate well. Skating technique and speed can be improved with off-ice and on-ice power skating drills.
Off-ice power skating drills include anything that improves:
1) Skating technique. Skating technique can be improved through off-ice training exercises that focus on single-leg stability and diagonal movement patterns.
One great exercise to help you master the balance and proper weight distribution necessary to be a good skater is an exercise I call the “2-Way Skater”.
Check out the “2-Way Skater” video below:
2) Linear, lateral, and transitional speed. Functional hockey speed and improved on-ice transitioning can be trained with off-ice training drills that involve explosive high speed movements from a variety of starting speeds and body positions.
Check out one of my “5-Yard Shuffle Series” in the video below:
The lateral transitions improve the ability to stop and pivot on the ice.
3) Lower body power. Holding all other things equal, the car with the “bigger engine” will always be faster.
Whether you’re the fastest player on your team or the slowest player on your team, you can and always should train to get faster.
Improving lower body strength and power with specific off-ice exercises is the easiest way to drastically improve your on-ice speed.
*If you’re like most people and watching videos helps you learn the exercises, check out the Hockey Training Exercise Video Library, which includes over 230 hockey exercise videos divided up into 9 different training sections. The videos include innovative exercises that cover all aspects of hockey training, from the warm-up to power and strength training to conditioning.
On-ice power skating drills should focus on:
1) Skating technique. Power skating drills geared toward improving skating technique should include a balance of edge work drills, and forward and backward skating, and crossovers.
Two great edge work drills are:
- Inside and outside edge holds (forward and backward)
- One foot “S” patterns (using only one skate to move down the ice making “S” shapes by digging in with your inside edge, then cutting back on your outside edge).
These are great drills to use as part of an on-ice warm-up.
Forward and backward power skating drills should include half speed technique work emphasizing strong pushes and a well-balanced recovery of the stride leg. After a couple runs up and down the ice, you can pick the speed up to work on your skating technique at game-speed.
The single biggest mistake people make while crossing over is not pushing off hard through the toe of their back leg.
If you’re turning to the right and you cross your left skate over your right skate, you should push your right skate hard into the ice under your left leg. If you aren’t using BOTH skates to put force into the ice while you’re crossing over you’re missing out on a lot of easy speed!
2) Linear, lateral, and transitional speed. Rarely in a hockey game will you skate in a straight line for any extended period of time. Almost all skating is broken up with some sort of direction change. While linear (straight line) forward and backward speed can’t be neglected, mastering transitional movements is of equal importance.
Power skating drills should focus on stops and starts, and high speed pivoting and direction changes.
“Swedish Circles” (skating the 5 circles while always facing one direction) is a great example of a transitional speed power skating drill. Just like the off-ice training exercises to improve this aspect of power skating, it’s important to work on explosive starting from a variety of positions (forward, backward, lateral starts).
The ultimate power skating drill for transitional speed!
While trying to think up unique ways to train transitional speed, I came up with a power skating drill that I like a lot. It’s a high intensity, high speed drill that involves all aspects of skating and transitioning.
To perform the power skating drill:
• Start in one of the four corners facing straight ahead
• Sprint full speed to the top of the nearest face-off circle
• Pivot backwards and skate full speed to the bottom of that same circle
• Open up away from the wall and sprint toward the bottom of the other face-off circle in that zone
• Cut around the second face-off circle at full speed and sprint through the blue line
3) Lower body power. If you have access to them, power skating drills with sleds, tires, and parachutes are the best for improving on-ice lower body power. If you’re like most hockey players, you probably don’t have access to these things, but that’s okay.
You can still improve lower body skating power using the old-school player drag. Just grab two hockey sticks and have a teammate lie down on the ice behind you, preferably when the ice is cut up a little. Sprint at full speed, overcoming the resistance of your increasingly snow-covered partner. You can perform this power skating drill while skating forward and backward.
You can also turn it into a “contrast” drill by skating part of the distance pulling your teammate, then letting go of the sticks (or having your partner let go of the sticks) and exploding into full speed.
Using these off-ice and on-ice power skating drills will drastically improve your on-ice skating ability and speed.
Just to GUARANTEE you improve your skating, I’ll fill you in on the most brain-dead simple thing you can do on the ice that almost nobody does. It’s so simple that I’m blown away everyone isn’t doing it. Ready?
Skate without a stick!
I’m AMAZED at how poorly some hockey players skate without a stick. Taking away that third point of contact with the ice will help you find your center of balance better while skating forward and backward. Start doing your skating drills without a stick and I guarantee you’ll feel more comfortable on your edges when you have your stick back in your hands.
You’re ready to become a strong, fast, dominant hockey player, now you need to take action!
Ultimate Hockey Training is the only comprehensive step-by-step training manual for hockey players and coaches endorsed by the world’s leading hockey training experts! Ultimate Hockey Training will show you:
- How to maximize skating speed through simple technique improvements
- How to combine linear and transitional speed training techniques to maximize on-ice transfer from off-ice training
- Plyometric progressions to improve lower body power and skating speed
- Full body power progressions to improve shooting velocity
- Conditioning modalities and progressions to ensure you’re as strong and fast in the third period as you are in the first
Click here for more information >> Ultimate Hockey Training
Check out this video for a small sample of the information contained within Ultimate Hockey Training!
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P.S. Don’t wait for another second! Learn the secrets to powerful off-ice training before your opponents do!