When you are in a game one of the biggest advantages that you can have over your opponent is quick acceleration. Your ability to quickly go from coasting to full speed will help you win foot races, out-skate your opponent, get more loose pucks and get more opportunities to shoot and score. Speed is a very important factor in today’s game and acceleration is a huge part of speed. In this article and video I give you a number of ways to improve your acceleration and improve your technique. I also share a few drills in the video that you can practice on the ice. See the video below for some on-ice drills and check below the video for some off ice drills and exercises
How to Improve Acceleration in Hockey
Important points in this video
There are a few things that you should remember when you are trying to accelerate quickly, I go over a number of points in the video and I will also share them here
- Turn your feet
- Some hockey players start skating by walking, and then running on the ice. They never learn to turn their feet and they will never get full power this way. In order to get all the power from each stride you need to turn your blades to a 45 angle. This ensures your blades don’t slip on the ice, if you don’t turn your feet you are basically just spinning your tires. Don’t spin your tires
- Dig those toes in!
- This point is VERY important for acceleration, but not quite as important once you get to full speed. When you accelerate your first three steps are basically all toes, you are essentially sprinting on the ice. You want three quick steps and try to dig the toe in, push hard, and then get the next toe dug in. You don’t want to coast at all. When you get to full speed you are using more of the blades and coasting with each stride, but the acceleration needs to be all power, all thrust and no coasting!
- Push hard with both legs
- Remember to EXPLODE with power from both legs. Some players push hard with the first leg to get themselves going and then go half power for the next few steps. Push hard with both legs, and practice using the right technique with both legs.
- Bend the knees and extend your legs
- This is very important, if you don’t bend your knees enough you wont get 100% of the power you could be getting. The less you bend your knees the less power you will get, imagine riding a bike without bending your knees, you wouldn’t get anywhere.
- You also want to extend your legs to get full power, you don’t want to be like the clown on the mini bicycle. Extend you leg, and then quickly get it underneath you to take another stride.
- Lean forward
- You want to keep that energy moving forwards, so lean forwards. Some players extend their legs, but stand up while they are doing it. Make sure you are leaning forwards so all your energy pushes you forwards, you don’t want to lose power by pushing UP instead of out.
Off Ice Hockey Drills to improve acceleration
Here are a few simple drills that you can do at home to help you build your acceleration
When you are training for hockey, you need to train as if you are in a game. Wind sprints are great because you go hard, and then take a break. All you need to do here is sprint as hard as you can for about 20 strides and then take a quick break, then do it again. Push as hard as you can and try to get to full speed in as few steps as possible. For added resistance you can sprint up a small hill and walk down it.
Stair climbs are fairly straight forward, run quickly up a set of stairs and walk down. This will force you to bend your knees and get a full extension, it will also build your leg muscles and give you a great leg workout.
You can also treat the stairs like pylo boxes and do two foot jumps up the stairs, one foot jumps, and lateral jumps up the stairs.
Lunges are a very easy way to work your leg muscles, the important part is doing them right to help maximize the results and get the most out of the workouts. You can do them with, or without weights. Here is a good video from Gary Roberts showing dumbell lunges
This workout is very easy to do at home, all you do is start balancing on one leg, bend your knee and jump to the side, then land on your other leg and repeat. Move your arms as well as if you are skating. The purpose of this drills is to explode with power off each leg, and get a deep knee bend and full extension.
Hockey Acceleration drills with equipment
If you want an even better workout you can add some resistance, here are a few drills that require equipment but will give you an even better workout
Angled Plyo box jumps
Russian hockey players love to use the angled boxes, these are great for building power in both legs and learning to really push off and explode. There are a few drills that you can do with an angled box, they are expensive to buy so if you want to use them think about building your own set. One drill is to basically perform the skater jumps as described above, except you are pushing off an angled box. Jump back and forth and remember to get a good knee bend, and full extension with each jump.
For another drill with the angled box check out the video to the right
Wind sprints with a tire (or sled)
You can do this drill with almost anything that adds resistance but tires seem to work well and you can add more weight to them if you’d like. Just get a rope and a tire and rig up a way to anchor it to your body. Get the rope tight and then sprint as hard as you can for about 20 strides. Repeat until your legs feel like rubber. Remember to turn your feet and lean forwards to get the most power
These things are great for training your legs for explosive power, there are too many drills to list here. If you are serious about training for speed you can buy some plyo boxes but personally I would just build my own. Below is a good video from Weiss Tech hockey explaining a good plyo box workout for hockey
Here is a good video of Gary Roberts doing some Plyo workouts back in 2004 when he was playing with the leafs.
Here are some Plyo box workouts you can print off
Here are a few more Plyo box workouts with some good instructions
Here are some instructions on how to build your own Plyo boxes
Well that’s it, thanks a lot for reading and checking out my video. I hope these tips will help you improve your acceleration. Remember when you are training to explode and put all your power into it right off the start. You want to train your muscles to react quickly so every drill and workout should be done with maximum effort.