6 Ways to Improve your Hockey Skills over the summer

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by Jeremy Rupke on April 6, 2012

How great would it be to step onto the ice next season and be BETTER than the last time you skated? Well it is quite possible and the summer time is a great time to sharpen some of your skills. The only thing that is coming in between you improving over the summer is yourself, below I have made a list of 6 ways you can improve.

  • Off ice Shooting

    • You don’t need ice-time to work on your shot, in fact last summer I improved my slapshot by 20 MPH (yeah it sucked before) by simply training with a radar gun and making note of what improved my power and what didn’t. What was the trick? There was no trick, I just got a radar gun and made a commitment to shoot 100 pucks a day (taking some days off of course). While shooting my muscles naturally became better, stronger and more effecient at performing the slapshot. I was training them while shooting over and over, and the radar gun helped me notice my improvements and motivated me to keep shooting.
    • For this skill I recommend a shooting pad and a radar gun¬† (use our coupon code to save $10)
    • Here is a Review I did a while back of the radar gun I use
  • Off ice stickhandling

    • Stickhandling is easy to practice at home as long as you have something smooth to stickhandle on. If you need some drills to practice you can check out my complete guide to stickhandling (if you don’t learn anything you can have it for free). I also have a few articles and videos that should help you, how to stickhandle, and how to toe drag. All of the above links show you ways to improve your stickhandling at home
    • Quick stickhandling tips (for the lazy)
      • Practice “quick hands”or dribling, moving the puck from forehand to backhand as quickly as possible. This keeps the puck moving and the other players thinking
      • Practice moving the puck around your entire body
      • Practice moving the puck quickly from one area of your body to the next (front to back, side to side, front to side, etc)
    • For off-ice stickhandling I recommend a few hockey pucks, the Green Biscuit¬† and a shooting pad. Stickhandling balls are also a lot of fun
  • Leg Training

    • It is not too easy to improve your skating technique during the summer (unless you can get ice time) however it is easy to improve your leg power and acceleration. This is a great way to come back next year as a faster hockey player, I think acceleration is a very important skill to have if you want to get more scoring chances so this is a big one to work on. If you want to improve your hockey speed, you have to train your muscles to work in the same way they work on the ice. Short bursts of speed and explosive movements will help improve your leg strength and speed. Wind sprints are a good way to improve your explosive speed and you I also recommend checking out our article from Jarod Palmer of the Minnesota WildHow to gain speed in hockey with off ice training
  • Get some Ice Time

    • I know that for some people this might be very hard, but if you live in a city it is worth your while to check the nearest rinks. In most bigger cities you will be able to find a rink with the ice still in, ask if there are any adult hockey leagues, or open ice time for hockey players. One of the most important skills in hockey is skating so take a few seconds to check if there is a rink near you with ice. You can use Hockey Community to find rinks, games, and pick-up games near you
  • Play Other Sports

    • Playing sports that keep your muscles working will help you maintain fast reflexes and good overall strength and speed. Some sports like lacrosse and ball hockey or roller hockey have skills that carry over to hockey. Even something simple like tennis, squash, or soccer can help because they require fast movements, rapid change in direction and hand eye co-ordination. Unfortunately I don’t think golf will help much
  • Go to a hockey Camp!

    • Hockey camp is a great way for kids and adults to learn a few new skills and work on sharpening the skills they already have. If you are an adult there are lots of great hockey camps out there, one fan of How To Hockey recommended Heartland Hockey Camp in Minnesot
    • If you have kids or are under the age of 17 check out the Summer hockey camp that I will be working at over the summer

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Jeremy Rupke

Coach
Hi my name is Jeremy. I LOVE hockey and I am passionate about improving and helping others improve. My goal is to break every hockey skill down into easy to understand articles and videos. I explain everything step-by-step to help others improve. If you want to learn more about me you can read my about page. Thanks for reading and sharing!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Gordie November 10, 2013 at 6:12 pm

On the stick handing video Jeremy used a a black cylinder so he couldn’t use his bottom hand but you can also use the center of a roll of toilet paper.

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Gang Pan October 27, 2013 at 12:00 am

Hi Jeremy
I ordered your book ‘complete guied to stickhandling ‘ on Oct 18th, 2013. I haven’t get that yet? Could u please check that for me! Thanks very much.

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Bill February 7, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Love the Greenbiscuit…it should be in everyone’s bag!

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Nick Mc December 6, 2012 at 9:56 am

Dear .Jeremy
Thank you for the easy goal tips I got one from pure hockey in NH. I have my Hockey team training on it every time we get a free day to just chill. I watch your videos on slap shots and others too. You have a great program for learning on behalf of the team cool dudes of Exeter NH at Rinks at Exeter thank you so much for your help. My offence has gotten better, but my defense will work on that lol Keep me up to date with your latest work. Happy holidays from team cool dudes C, League 3 ,
from
NRM 88

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Gabby August 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I play roller hockey on my driveway all the time. My street also has a slope, so I skate up it as hard as I can. I just use a street stick and hockey balls in out side, but in my room I have a slideboard, ice sheet, and a passer. I also just stickhandle anything around the carpet in my room.

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ItsMeAgain:) June 24, 2012 at 9:47 pm

OH, AND I ALSO PLAY ON THE STREET TOO…

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ItsMeAgain:) June 24, 2012 at 9:46 pm

I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM AS EVERYBODY ELSE……..
JEREMY, I PRACTICE MY OFF-ICE ON SYNTH-ICE IN MY GARAGE…. WOULD YOU RECOMMEND GETTING SOME MORE ICE TIME, BECAUSE I’M ONLY ABLE TO GET ON THE ICE LIKE 3 OR 4 TIMES A MONTH… SO IVE BEEN PRACTICING OFF-ICE AND I FEEL LIKE ITS MAKING MY ON-ICE PERFORMANCE GET WORSE. MY FRIEND SAID THAT IT’S JUST MY IMAGINATION…… :D

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Tim June 21, 2012 at 7:07 am

A couple of points I might want to add here guys. Remember to take into account the added height you are when you’re wearing skates. When your shooting off ice use a stick that is shorter than your on ice stick ( about 2.5 inches) to compensate for not having skates on. Also, for off ice shooting and stick handing just go down to your local home supply store or lumber store and buy a 4×8 sheet of 1/4″ puck board. Costs about 40 bucks. Saves sticks and Is more slippery like ice to stick handle on.

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Luca Byrne April 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Hey, i’ve been chooting off-ice for around 2 years straight and I must say my shot has A LOT of power, precision and speed but when it comes to playing on ice, my shot isnt near to what it is off-ice. Any tips or ideas?

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Matt H. May 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Luca, I’m in the exact same position. My shot off ice is SO much more powerful with a great spin on the puck. But, for whatever reason when I get on the ice my wrister and snapper are just plain lousy and it’s embarrassing and frustrating… My slapshot is about the same or better, same with my backhand..I just can’t seem to get it.

Matt H. April 9, 2012 at 1:24 am

Jeremy it’s been way too long since the last article but still a good one! On another note, switching to a left handed shot has improved my defensive game but I still lack passing skills and shooting from the left side. My left side backhand is way better though! I’m having difficulty translating off ice shooting to on ice, off ice my left handed shot is way better! Looking forwards to next season and hopefully some off season articles! Thanks as always Jeremy!

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Jeremy April 11, 2012 at 9:26 am

Hey Matt, that is normal for being better at shooting off the ice. Think of it as 2 steps forwards and one step back. You are still improving your on-ice shooting, but it feels like you are better off the ice. The thing is there is more friction when you shoot off-ice so when you get on the ice you have to be a bit quicker.

Michael April 7, 2012 at 7:05 am

Thanks for posting this article the stickhandling part helped!

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Michael April 7, 2012 at 7:04 am

Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jeff April 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Another adult hockey camp in Minnesota is Lifetime Hockey, which hosts a week long course each summer.

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Jeremy May 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I had this problem as well when I was younger, the pavement provides more resistance when shooting on the ice. Once you get used to shooting off pavement then it seems weird to shoot on the ice. The reason is because the puck moves faster on the ice, all it takes is a bit of practice on the ice and you will be able to adapt. I think of it as 2 steps forwards, one step back. You are improving your shot when you practice off the ice, but you need a few minutes to tweak your shot once you get on the ice again.

I also recommend the shooting pads so that you can make your off ice shooting as much like shooting on the ice as possible

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