Tag: hockey training

Start Training at Home – The Essential Gear Every Hockey Player Needs

must-have-gear-featured

If you want to improve stickhandling, shooting, and passing, you will benefit a lot from practicing at home. In order to practice at home you will need a little bit of equipment first. In this article I break down what I feel is the essential training equipment for hockey players to improve their skills at home.

video-breakdown-hockey
Stickhandling Gear

Shooting Gear

smooth-surface

In order to work on your stickhandling, shooting, and passing you need a smooth surface. This surface will serve as your “ice” at home, and will allow you to practice a lot of different skills. You need a smooth surface for a few reasons

  • This will prevent your stick blade from being scraped away and breaking
  • It will be a low-friction environment which will help you get faster hands
  • It will be more like the ice, giving you an easier transition from practicing off-ice to on-ice
  • It can be use for shooting, stickhandling, and passing all essential hockey skills

Pro Sized Shooting Pad

Dryland Flooring Tiles

Roll-up Shooting Pad

pro sized shooting pad training-tiles roll-up-shootingpad
Product Page: Pro Sized
Price: $99.95 ($89.95 with coupon)
Dimensions: 30 inches x 60 inches
Advantages: Thicker material is better on uneven surfaces. Very easy to move
Product Page: Training Tiles
Price: $11.95 per tile
Dimensions: 1.5 foot per tile
Advantages: Recommended for indoor use. Very sturdy, can be used to create a very large training area
Product Page: Roll-up Pad
Price: $119.95 ($109.95 with coupon)
Dimensions: 4 feet x 8.5 feet
Advantages: Very large size which is great for practicing a lot of moves. Thinner material is recommended for smooth hard surfaces.

hockeyshot coupon codeHockeyShot coupon code: HOWHCKY001

stickhandling-toys

Pucks are great on the ice, but off the ice they don’t slide so well. I still recommend using a puck sometimes to practice with, but to really work on your hands you will need some other items. I strongly recommend getting one of each of the following. I recommend these products because they can be used almost anywhere and allow you to improve your stickhandling and co-ordination.

Green Biscuit

Wooden Ball

Stickhandling Ball

green-puck wood-stickhandling-ball stickhandling-ball1
Product Page: Green Biscuit
Price: $12.95
Dimensions: Same as puck
Weight: 4.4 ounces
Advantages: The best off-ice puck Two piece design will prevent it from flipping and rolling like most pucks Awesome to use on almost any surface
Product Page: Wooden Ball
Price: $3.50
Dimensions: About 2 inch diameter
Weight: Around 1.6 ounces
Advantages: Very light ball which is nice for practicing very fast hands and moves. Wood material is soft and easy to stickhandle with.
Product Page: Stickhandling Ball
Price: $10.95 or $7.95 for the HS ball
Dimensions: 2.1 inch diameter
Weight: 5 ounces
Advantages: The SmartHockey ball is designed to feel just like a puck. Soft outer shell, and weight has a good feel The HockeyShot Ball is a few dollars cheaper, but feels a little stiffer to handle

hockey-nets

There are a few options for shooting, personally I like a net the most, but I will mention the other options as well. With something to shoot at you can work on many different types of shots and different shooting techniques that you can then fine tune while on the ice.

Golf Net

Hockey Net

Shooting Tarp

golf net for hockey hockey-net roll-up-shootingpad
Product Page: Various options
Price: $45+
Dimensions: 10′ x 10′ +
Advantages: Most affordable option. Can be used for multiple sports. Large area means it can be used as a backstop if you get a regular hockey net later.
Product Page: EZ Goal
Price: $119.95 ($109.95 with coupon)
Dimensions: 4 x 6 (regulation)
Advantages: Has 2 inch posts, folds up for easy storage. Regulation size. Comes with targets. Will withstand shots up to 60MPH. Harder shots will dent posts.
Product Page: Shooting Tarp
Price: $209.95 ($199.95 with coupon)
Dimensions: 7 feet x 16 feet
Advantages: Very large size protects everything behind it. Targets give you something to aim at. No posts for ricochets and flying pucks Can be used in garage or basement.

hockey-backstop

Shooting pucks is fun, searching for pucks is not fun. I like using a backstop because it allows you to spend more time shooting, and less time hunting for pucks. A backstop will give you more confidence to aim for the corners (not worried about missing), allow you to shoot more, and keep you from losing pucks! The first link also allows you to use it for other sports!

Fishing Net / Golf Net

EZ Goal Backstop

big-net-backstop-hockey ez-goal-backstop
Product Page: Various options
Price: $45+
Dimensions: 10′ x 10′ +
Advantages: Most affordable option. Can be used for multiple sports. Larger area gives you more room for error. Not attached to the net which gives you some more creativity with the net. Permanently installed makes it easier to set up and take down your net. Good option if you want a permanent shooting area
Product Page: EZ Goal Backstop
Price: $89.95 (Save $10 on order over $100)
Dimensions: 10 x 6
Advantages: Fits perfectly onto any regulation sized net (6 x 4). Bolts onto the EZ Goal hockey net. Side panels can be moved when shooting from an angle. Side meshing may get holes in it with hard shots!

Now this is not a necessity, however I do strongly recommend it. This is an awesome training aid to show you how well you are shooting, motivate you to keep improving, and give you instant feedback on every shot you take. This is a great tool to have after you are set up with the basics explained above.

HockeyShot Radar

SpeedTrac Radar

radar gun hockey shot hockey radar gun speedtrac
Product Page: HockeyShot Radar
Price: $99.95 ($89.95 with coupon)
Advantages: Most affordable radar.
Works well for hockey (unlike others I
have tested)
More consistent from close range
Product Page: SpeedTrac Radar
Price: $139.95 ($129.95 with coupon)
Advantages: Durable (I’ve dropped it
and hit it with pucks a few times and it still
works)
Consistent readings from all distances

This is the most important tip in this article. If you buy these products but don’t use them, you won’t get any better! So what are you supposed to do? Well luckily I have a lot of tips for shooting and stickhandling that you can pour over and use. Make sure you are subscribed to this website (box in the left sidebar) and our Youtube Channel to be notified of new skills videos that we release.

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6 Ways to Improve your Hockey Skills over the summer

Tips for slapshots in Hockey

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

Thanks a lot for reading the article, you can share it with the tools below, and don’t forget to join us on facebook!

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5 Hockey Speed Training Tips

hockeyspeed

This is a guest post from Kevin Neeld

In my 18 years as a player and on-ice instructor and now as an off-ice specialist, I have seen countless players get cut and/or lose their competitive edge because they can’t keep up with the speed at that current level. While everyone’s speed potential is a little different, the truth is that every player can improve his/her speed if they train the right way. Below are 5 off-ice training tips to help you develop game-changing speed on the ice!

 Tip # 1: Focus on Short Distances (10-15 yards)

Hockey is a game of quick bursts of speed and changes of direction. It’s more about acceleration and deceleration than max speed. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you win the race around the rink; it matters that you win the race from the front of the net to the corner. Short distance sprints will help you develop an explosive first step and powerful leg drive, two key components in improving acceleration. The body positions during these distances also more directly replicate the forward lean or “acceleration angle” that you want on the ice, meaning there’ll be better transfer.

 Tip # 2: Train Quick Movement NOT Quick Feet

One of the first things every player is taught is to look at the chest of his/her opponent. This allows you to better track the player and not get mesmerized by puck movement, which will give you a better opportunity to separate the player from the puck. As a necessary byproduct of this, it means that the offender would be more dangerous if they were able to displace their trunk faster. In reality, this is just another definition of speed, but it contrasts the idea of “quick feet” being important. Many of the world’s fastest skaters don’t have quick feet. They have powerful strides. In contrast, I’ve seen a ton of players that move their feet really quickly, but don’t move very fast. When most people say they want quick feet, they really mean that they want speed (or acceleration, as noted above). It’s not just semantics; understanding the difference will affect your training. For example, many players default to using agility ladders as a means of developing quick feet, and they will. But the next time you’re around someone doing agility ladders, watch their chest as you would on the ice. It barely moves at all, and most people stare at their feet while they go through to make sure they’re placing their feet in the correct places. Quick feet, but not moving very fast and staring down-not exactly the best habits to develop! Tap dancers need quick feet. Hockey players need powerful legs. Toss your quick feet exercises in favor of some resistance training and your on-ice speed will skyrocket.

 Tip # 3: Don’t Confuse Speed Work with Conditioning

Explosive; not tired. That’s what I tell all the players I work with. Most players are taught to sprint, jog back to the starting line and sprint again. Unfortunately, this practice is very counter-productive. The goal of speed training (or acceleration training) is to perform maximal efforts to improve the maximal capacity of that physical quality. It is physiologically impossible to perform at your max if you don’t give your body adequate rest. Maximal efforts deplete stores of two substrates called ATP and Phosphocreatine that help rapidly produce energy. Max efforts also put a strain on your nervous system, which is a driving force in producing speed and power. All of these things need adequate time to recover between sprints. As a general rule, you’ll want to rest about a minute between sprints of 10-15 yards. You’re breathing should be fully recovered before you start the next rep, so if you feel like you need time to catch your breath, take it! Just keep reminding yourself, the goal is to increase MAXIMAL capacity through all-out efforts. If you’re breathing heavy through your sprints, you’re officially conditioning, not speed training.

 Tip # 4: Incorporate Lateral Starts

Hockey is not a linear sport. Even when players skate in a straight line, their legs are driving on a 45 degree angle to the side and their arms are swinging in a somewhat diagonal line. This is the major pitfall of simply stealing a track and field sprint program and applying it to hockey; it’s the correct preparation for the wrong sport. One way to make your speed training more hockey-specific is to incorporate lateral starts. These teach explosive leg drive in lateral/diagonal directions, very similar to what you need to do on the ice. A few examples are the side lunge(pictured below), lateral standing, lateral standing on outside leg, and lateral standing on inside leg.

 Tip # 5: Progress to Transitional Patterns

Building on the ideas of multi-directional movement and explosive direction changes, you can progress your speed training to include what I call transitional speed exercises. With these, you can transition in direction and/or movement pattern. These allow you to directly replicate many of the body positions and transitional movements that can make or break your expression of speed on the ice. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. 5-Yard Lateral Shuffle -> 10-Yard Forward Sprint
  2. 5-Yard Backward Shuffle -> 10-Yard Forward Sprint
  3. 5-Yard Lateral Back Pedal -> 10-Yard Forward Sprint
  4. 5-Yard Forward Back Pedal -> 10-Yard Forward Sprint
  5. 5-Yard Forward Sprint-> 5-Yard Backward Back Pedal -> 10-Yard Forward Sprint

Note that all of these are still performed within 20 yards of total distance, and most are within 15. The goal with these is to focus on being explosive through the starts AND transitions.

Following these tips will help you make more progress in less time and ensure that you’re off-ice training transfers to on-ice results. If you have any questions, feel free to post them below. If you’re interested in more tips like this, I encourage you to check out the three FREE hockey training videos available at http://Ultimate-Hockey-Training.com, which cover transitional speed training for hockey, hockey conditioning, and complete off-ice hockey training.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

Kevin Neeld is the President, COO, and Director of Athletic Development of Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ and the author of Ultimate Hockey Training, the most comprehensive off-ice training resource available today. Through the creative application of innovative training and injury prevention techniques, Kevin specializes in guiding athletes to optimal health and performance. For more information on training with Kevin, visit http://KevinNeeld.com

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A simple workout to improve footspeed and endurance

jumprope-drill-for-hockey

Last summer I was looking for a few simple workouts that I could do at home when I had some time to kill, or during those days where I feel very unproductive. One of the tricks I found was to use a jump rope. I felt a bit silly buying a skipping rope because I instantly associated it with public school games, but once I got home and tried it I realized that it isn’t easy!

If you think jumping rope is easy check out these facts from the Wikipedia jump rope page: ” This aerobic exercise can achieve a “burn rate” of up to 700 calories per hour of vigorous activity, with about 0.1 calories consumed per jump. Ten minutes of jumping rope is roughly the equivalent of running an eight-minute mile.

If you want to grab a cheap jump rope there are some pretty good deals on this page, I think most people in the USA are eligible for free shipping. Don’t forget to check out the workouts and video below.

When I got the jump rope I was just using it without any structure, but thanks to the guys at HockeyOT I now have a bit of a program to follow and modify to suit my needs. This is just one of MANY workouts that they have, if you are interested in having a complete hockey workout designed specifically for you and to meet your goals, check out the HockeyOT website. You can also see my review of the hockey training program for a bit more information. Below is a guest post from the guys at HockeyOT

An Underestimated Training Tool. The Jump Rope.

A tool that we like to use for training is the jump rope. It is a low cost, portable and highly effective piece of equipment. A good plastic speed rope will cost you approximately $12. If you are going to be away from your local training facility for a period of time, the rope is easy to pack along.

Jumping rope is easy to add to any workout. It can even be used between sets of a strength training exercise to keep the heart rate at a certain level. In a recent study, this has been shown to improve muscle recovery.
If you think jumping rope is just for kids on the playground, I challenge you to try this workout. We use this for beginning hockey players and it’s called the 3D jump rope sequence. As with any exercise make sure your physician has cleared you for vigorous activity.
Perform each of these drills for 15 seconds, getting as many jumps as you can.

  1. 2 foot normal jump
  2. 2 foot side-to-side jump
  3. 2 foot twisting left to right
  4. Rest for 45 seconds
  5. 1 foot alternate skipping
  6. 1 foot high knees alternate skipping
  7. 1 foot skater hop alternate skipping
  8. Rest for 45 seconds
  9. Repeat 1-8 one more time

3D Jump rope video from HockeyOT


level 2

I guarantee this 3D jump rope sequence will get your heart rate up. You will also experience the added benefit of working on your foot speed and coordination. You won’t get this kind of workout sitting on a stationary bike!

Check out HockeyOT for more information!

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The Best of How To Hockey – Summer Edition

best-of-howtohockey

Last summer we wrote a bunch of articles and made quite a few videos to help with stuff like shooting and stickhandling. I get quite a few emails asking for drills or tips for ways to improve these skills off the ice so I thought I would make a collection of links to the articles we have made in the past that will help you this summer.

Off Ice Stickhandling Tips

  • How To Stickhandle
    • This article and video share some great tips on stickhandling. There is also a video that every hockey player should watch because I share some tips that helped me improve my stickhandling A LOT
  • How To Toe Drag
    • This article and video show you how you can perfect the toe-drag off the ice. I also share a few helpful tips that should help you avoid a few common mistakes when trying to learn.
  • 20 Off-ice Stickhandling Drills
    • This article and series of videos from USA Hockey will help give you ideas for all kinds of stickhandling drills you can do at home on your shooting pad

Off Ice Slapshot Training

  • How to improve slapshot power and technique
    • Last summer I did a slapshot challenge and was able to improve my slapshot power by 20 MPH! In this article and video I share some tips that really helped
  • how to improve slapshot accuracy
    • What good is a powerful shot if you put it 5 feet wide every time, or can’t control where it is going. I show you a bunch of tips for controlling your x and y axis
  • Slapshot Tips
    • This article and video goes over some of the common mistakes that people make when trying to learn the slapshot. Watching the video and reading the tips should help you avoid cheating, and help you get the most power from your slapshot

Off Ice Snapshot Tips

Off Ice Wristshot Tips

  • How to take a wrist shot
    • This is a basic article and video showing you how to take a wrist shot. In the video I sum it up in a minute!
  • How to improve wrist shot accuracy
    • In this article I give you a bunch of tips for improving wrist shot accuracy and include two videos for shooting high, and for shooting low
  • The two types of Wrist Shots
    • This is one of my favourite articles and videos. The video is a bit long but it explains something that I think a lot of beginner players don’t know about and it is very important if you want to score more goals

Recommended products for the Summer

  • Roll-up Shooting Pad
    • I love this thing and use it all the time. I had one in my basement and one outside so I could shoot outside and stickhandle in the basement. I later installed the dryland training tiles which are pretty sweet but a tad expensive
  • Speet-Trac Radar Gun
    • This is the radar gun I used in the slapshot challenge to improve my speed by 20MPH. The radar gun had a huge roll in helping me improve by giving me instant feedback. It is great for training by yourself, or with friends (you can have a lot of fun challenging them)
  • Green biscuit
    • This is by far the best off ice puck out there. The only downfall is that you can’t shoot with it, but it works AMAZINGLY on concrete and ashphalt. I suggest you order 3 or 4 at a time because the shipping is pretty much the same for one puck or 4, and you WILL love it.
  • EZ-Goal
    • I got this hockey net last year and beat the snot out of it, but it is still standing. I have dented the posts and ripped the net (150 slapshots a day for a summer will do that to a net) but with a bit of shoelace I fixed the mesh, and the posts are still very solid even with the odd dent (don’t forget I was shooting at 75MPH)
  • Slide board

    • It is tough to practice your skating over the summer, and when you are stickhandling it sucks to stand still. The slideboard will replicate the motion of skating anywhere in your house. I use my slideboard all the time when stickhandling so it feels more like what it will feel like on the ice.
  • A handful of cheap-o hockey sticks
    • If you don’t already have a few cheap sticks I suggest you get some. I always have a hockey stick in my car, a few in my garage and a few in my basement. When friends come over they always have a stick to use, and when I break one of mine I always have another to use. Cheap sticks are good for the summer because the concrete will wear down the blade in no-time, and you don’t want to use your $100 twig! Check this link for a place to buy cheap sticks and other hockey gear
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Hockey Speed Training

hockey-speed-training

Speed is a major factor on the ice, have good acceleration and a good top speed will make you hard to catch on the ice and should help you get more shots on ice. If you feel like you’ve got rocks in your hockey socks try doing this exercise a few times a week over the summer. This is a special guest post from HockeyOT, they will be providing me with drills over the summer to add to the site and hopefully it will help you guys improve your game. If you are serious about getting fit for hockey check out there online hockey training program.

Get more Speed in your game Part 1:

For hockey you need to be more than just fast. You need to be able to repeat your fast performance on the ice again and again. Most players will play between 10-30 shifts in a game with each shift lasting 30-60 seconds. During each shift, you may reach top speed 2-5 times. Many players I have trained have good speed on a one-time blue line to blue skating test. When we make them repeat the test 10 times, however, their performance rapidly deteriorates as fatigue sets in. For these players, we focus on speed endurance training.

Speed endurance is the toughest aspect of fitness to train because the training hurts. You have to push until your muscles are loaded with lactic acid. Speed endurance training produces a hockey player who can go hard every shift of every period. A player with high levels of speed endurance becomes extremely valuable toward the end of each period, especially the third, and for overtime. One of the best ways to train for speed endurance is with interval training on the track in the off-season.

Interval training consists of short bouts of activity followed by short bouts of rest. For example, the athlete would run the straight away and walk the turn on a 400-meter track. We call this the variable acceleration 400-meter and the players hate it! For pro players, we will repeat this 5-10 times asking the players to try to repeat their performances as consistently as possible. This type of training requires the athlete to train with a lot of lactic acid in their muscles. Lactic acid is a by-product of the anaerobic metabolism required to do the variable acceleration 400-meter drill.

Hockey Speed Training Video


If you want to sign up for HockeyOT visit this page

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Off Ice Hockey Training Program

hockeyonlinetraining

Hey guys, I get a lot of emails asking me about hockey training, workouts, nutrition and so on. I usually recommend the book complete conditioning for hockey. Although this book is older I find it has a lot of good information in it, but recently I found a really good hockey training program that I just had to share with the readers of this blog. A lot of subscribers to how to hockey have already signed up! Here is a sneak peak inside the online hockey training program

Visit Hockey OT Here for More Information

More Information

If you would like to sign up or get more information visit the about page to learn more

What you Get

  • Workouts designed by Chad Moreau, former strength and conditioning consultant for the Edmonton Oilers and MANY NHL players
  • Hockey specific workouts that will improve your fitness and hockey skills
  • Set goals for which skill you want to improve (speed, acceleration, shot power, etc) and get a custom workout program and hockey workout schedule specifically made for you
  • Registration is easy and if you don’t like the program or are too busy you can quit any time
  • Check out the about page for more information
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The Ultimate Off Ice Training Combo

slideboard-thumb

I know that a lot of people will want to keep their hockey skills sharp over the summer. Every spring after a month or so without playing hockey I start to get the itch to play. I love hockey, and I not only want to play, but I also want to keep my skills sharp. I recently found a great combination of training aids that help me train, and get a bit of the feeling of hockey!

I have been using the Shooting pad and Slideboard combo for a few months now and LOVE IT. Hockey Shot sent me the slideboard to review and I thought it was pretty good to work the muscles involved with skating, but just sliding back and forth was not enough for me. In an effort to get the most out of the slideboard I put it in front of my shooting pad and started sliding while stickhandling. This combo gives me the sensation of skating while stickhandling while working my leg muscles and my stickhandling muscles! Then I thought what about using the slideboard while shooting? This was also a lot of fun and is a great way to hone your weight transfer and shooting skills.

How the Slideboard / Shooting pad Combo helps

Using just the shooting pad is a good way to practice shooting and stickhandling, but in hockey you are always moving. Using a slideboard gets your body moving in a similar way that your body moves on the ice. This will help train your muscles while you are off the ice so that you can move better while on the ice.

This combo will help with the following:

  • improve your stickhandling while moving
  • Practice moves that require lateral movement (dekes)
  • Bridge the gap between off ice practice, and on ice skills (more game like situation)
  • Build your skating muscles
  • Become a faster skater
  • Good whole body workout while improving your stickhandling, skating and shooting muscles!

I am a huge skeptic when it comes to products so that is why I only really review and recommend products I believe in on How To Hockey. I have been using this combo for a while now and definitely think it will help players improve. I actually told Hockey shot about it and they added a page to their site where you can buy the shooting pad and slideboard together and you save $10 by buying them both at the same time! You can also use our coupon code in the right sidebar to save another $10 off your order

What if I already have a slideboard or Shooting Pad?

If you want to pick up any of the products mentioned and used in this article / video here are the links

Slideboard / Shooting Pad Video

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Deke of the Week 3 – Fakes

fakes-hockey

In the third edition of the deke of the week I am going to be talking about fakes. In my opinion a fake is not the same as a deke, but you can use fakes in your dekes. A “fake” is just a slight, or subtle movement that might freeze the opposing player for a slight second, sometimes a simple fake is all you need to get around a play. A deke requires a set of actions, with a deke you are baiting the other player, forcing them to move or opening them up, and then pulling a move on them. So with a deke you have the preperation (set the bait), pull the move, seperate yourself from the player, then accelerate. With a fake it is just a quick movement you do, and you can use them in your dekes. Here are some fakes you can do

  • Eye fakes (I’m not joking they work!)
  • Head fakes (usually used with shoulder fakes)
  • Leg fakes
  • Stick fakes and hand fakes

In the video below I go through each fake and tell you how you can use them in a game, in combinations, and when is the best time to use each fake. I thought it was important to cover all the fakes because I will be mentioning them in future deke of the weke videos.

Deke of the Week 3 Video


Thanks for watching! Next week we will be back on the rink. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and videos on youtube to stay up to date with the latest hockey training.

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Workouts to improve hockey shot power – Improve your slapshot and wrist shot

hockey shooting workouts

At the beginning of the summer we started the slapshot challenge. Over 250 people signed up to find out how to improve their slapshot. So far we have published articles on how to improve slapshot power, where slapshot power comes from, how to improve slapshot accuracy and a few slapshot tips to help fix common mistakes made when learning how to take a slapshot. We have gotten a lot of great feedback from everyone who has entered, and for the final chapter of the slapshot challenge we are sharing some workouts that will help you improve your power.

Remember – In order to get the most power from your shot you NEED to have proper form and technique. Just from practicing with this radar gun and tweaking my shot, I was able to improve my power by 20 MPH, that is with no workouts. So please work on your shot first (radar gun recommended if you are serious about it) and then move on to the workouts

Update Oct 2013 – I spent the summer following the HockeyOT workout and one day decided to test my slapshot again with the radar gun. I was maxing out at about 75MPH before, but this time my first few shots were around 75MPH. I decided to put a little more effort into my shots and soon broke the 80MPH range, later on the ice I broke 83MPH standing still ( I was teaching kids so I didn’t want to skate in and blast the puck). I took some time off at the gym and later tested my shot again and it was down again below the 80MPH mark so I think the training at the gym with the HockeyOT program really helped me.

If you want a custom workout program specifically designed for hockey players you can become a member here, email me if you have any questions.

Where Slapshot Power Comes From

Before diving into the workouts I would like to educate the readers. Before just going and working out, it is important to understand what muscles are being used, and where the power comes from. For more information you can read our article where slapshot power comes from, and I will summarize below.

  • Your Legs – This is the first place you get power from, push off with your back leg to get yourTips for slapshots in Hockey body moving and begin to transfer weight
  • Your Arms – Your arms play a big role in the power of your shot. You need to develop explosive power from your arms and shoulders, but also learn proper technique, and train them to work together
  • Shoulders – Some players use all arms when they swing, you can get a lot more power by driving into the shot and utilizing your shoulders
  • Core Muscles – By rotating your upper body while you shoot you are adding more torque and power, which will increase the speed of your shot. Strengthening your core muscles will help a lot of aspects of your game, including shot power.
  • Hockey Stick – The hockey stick (especially in the slapshot) will add a lot of power to your shot. Proper technique will allow you to utilize your stick and get the most power from it. Make sure your stick is the proper flex, you should be able to fully flex the stick.

Workouts to improve your slapshot and wrist shot

Just to be clear, I am not a fitness expert or personal trainer, but I am passionate about hockey and helping others. I have found a number of workouts that I think will really help you improve your shot. Some of them I have created, but most are from strength and conditioning coaches. All workouts that are not mine will be credited to where I found them. A lot of these workouts are from the book conditioning for ice hockey which I definitely recommend for anybody who plays hockey. If you want to grab a copy you can pick it up for under $20 on this page on amazon.

These workouts will train your arms and legs, build the muscles involved in the downswing and help link your arms and teach them to drive together. A few of them also incorporate the legs and help build the motion of stepping into the shot and transferring energy.

Resistance bands

Resistance bands, or Slastix are a great way to add resistance to almost any motion you can think of. By using a resistance band you can target the exact muscles used in a certain motion, and then add some extra resistance to build those muscles. The are a lot of different workouts that you can do with resistance bands, but I thought I would just mention one of my favourites here. I like the Slastix more than the resistance bands because they give you a better workout. I found the best price for the Slastix was on Amazon, you can buy a Slastix here

Push Pull with Rotation

This workout helps develop rotary power that is vital in hockey shooting.

Execution: For this workout you will need two Slastix bands, or other resistance bands. One band will be attached to a solid object in front of you, and the other will be attached to an object behind you. This will allows you to pull on one, while pushing on the other.

  • Start in a “split stance” similar to how you would stand before taking a slapshot.
  • Keep the elbow of your pushing hand up, almost at the same height of your armpit, and bring the elbow of your pulling arm close to your body
  • Start by pulling and pushing while you rotate your hips, and pivot on your back foot
  • For the full exercise you will be pulling back with one hand, while pushing out with the other.
  • Remember to rotate your hips and pivot on the back foot

Purpose: This workout will help build a lot of the muscles involved in the slapshot and wrist shot. You can see the legs, arm, and core muscles are all being activated, as well as putting an emphasis on leg drive.

Credit: Complete Conditioning for Hockey

Wood Chops

Wood chops are a great work out for hockey players because they help develop rotary strength which is important for any hockey player. To perform the wood chops you will need Slastix or resistance bands, I prefer the Slastix for the best resistance.

Execution: Attach the Slastix tube to something heavy (something that won’t move). Start in the “ready” position with your knees bent and feet a little more than shoulder width apart. Hold the Slastix in both hands at about a 45 degree angle to the anchor point.

  • Start by moving your weight toward the anchor point and bend your knees, you do this to load up your back leg.
  • Now with your legs loaded, start moving from your core while pushing with your back leg
  • Pull the Slastix away from the anchor point and across your body while pushing up with your legs
  • When you have completed the motion, hold for a few seconds and then slowly return to the starting point and repeat.

Purpose: This is another workout that targets the core muscles, legs, and arms and teaches the importance of using your core, and legs with your arms to generate power.

Credit: Complete Conditioning for Hockey

Workout shown in video at the bottom of this article

Sled Pulls

Sled pulls are a great way to build every muscle involved in shooting, as long as they are done properly. To perform a sled pull all you need is a few weight plates, a mat of some sort, and a strap with a handle to pull the weights and mat. For a cheap method you can do the same thing with a tire, just put a chain around a tire, attach the straps and you are ready to go.

Execution: Stand in a shooting position, with your knees slightly bent, and legs at least shoulder width apart. Gripping the handle (or handles) with both hands, reach back as if you are going to do a full wrist shot. Step forward like you would when taking a slapshot, then pull with both arms, push off with your back leg, and rotate with your core muscles.

Purpose: You can tell from the way the workout is executed that you are doing a sport specific workout that will target almost every muscle involved in shooting. This workout will teach your legs, arms, and core muscles to all work together to generate the most amount of power.

Source: Kris Beech conditioning video, linked to specific workout above. Watch the full video for more workout ideas.

Weight Plate Stickhandling

In this workout a 10 or 25 pound plate is put on a slideboard or hockey shooting pad. Turn a hockey stick upside down and put the butt end in the center of the weight. With your knees slightly bent, move the plate left and right as far outside your body as possible. Another workout is to move the plate slowly in a figure 8 pattern.

Purpose: To build your abdominal, hip, low-back rotation strength and teach the body to shift weight for shooting and stickhandling.

Credit: Complete conditioning for hockey

Workout shown in video below

Medicine ball double rotation pass

This workout will work the core muscles, and rotary plyometric action for wrist shots, slapshots and tight turns.

Execution: This workout is best done with a partner, but you can also throw the ball against a wall. You need a medicine ball, these balls come in different weights so pick one that will give you a workout. Take four strides away from your partner and start in the ready position and stand as if you and you partner are both on a line (right shoulder pointing at their left, or other way around)

  • Your partner will start by throwing you the medicine ball
  • Catch the medicine ball and bring it across your body, while lowering it to your back knee
  • Rotate back across your body as if you are going to throw the ball back to your partner, stop, and bring the ball back to your back knee
  • Now rotate back and give a powerful throw to your partner

Purpose: This workout builds your core muscles, and rotary strength. This workout will help you put more power and torque into your slapshot and wrist shot by teaching your arms and core muscles to work together to generate power.

Credit: Complete conditioning for hockey

Hockey Shooting Workout Video

In this video I show you how to do a few of the workouts described above, keep in mind I am not an expert, so my form might be a little off, but I found that these workouts have helped me improve my power so I thought I would pass them on.

Recommended Products for improving your shot in Hockey

My biggest recommendation to improve your shooting is to go out and shoot a few hundred pucks every day or so. Shooting is the best way to activate your muscles, build your muscles, and train your muscles. The most important thing for a good shot in hockey is proper form, with good form comes good accuracy and power. If you want a step up, and to really improve your power, here are a few products I really recommend

Complete Conditioning for Hockey

This book is a must have for any hockey player. When I was younger I read Complete Conditioning for Ice Hockey and it taught me a lot about working out, nutrition and how to be a better hockey player. There is a newer version called Conditioning for hockey,  eac version has a tonne of workouts that are made just for hockey players. If you want a copy you can buy it dirt cheap here. The books are a bit different, so if you have the time you could pick up both copies.

A Medicine Ball

Medicine balls are a good way to add weight to your workouts, they are easy to use and good for building explosive power. Medicine balls are also great for building core muscles. There are quite a few hockey workouts that require a medicine ball, you can pick them up at most fitness stores, but if you want to order one online you can find them here. Also the book I recommended above has a bunch of workouts where you can use a medicine ball.

Slastix For Hockey

Resistance bands are great for targeting specific muscles and motions. For example instead of holding a hockey stick, you can rig up a resistance band and perform the same action. This will help build the muscles involved in the slapshot. There are a lot of Slastix workouts in the book mentioned above, and you can find the Slastix here. I just got a Slastix, and a Medicine ball, so I will update everyone in a few months to let you know how my shot is doing!

If you have any workouts that have helped you improve your shot just leave them in the comment section below!

http://howtohockey.com/link/conditioning-book/
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Hockey Dryland Training Tile Review

Hockey Training Tile

As a hockey player it is important to practice shooting and stickhandling on a regular basis. The big problem that most hockey players have though is finding a suitable surface to stickhandle and shoot off of.

The biggest problem with shooting and stickhandling on pavement or asphalt is the increased friction. This friction causes the pucks to move slower, and flip all over the place (very annoying). The friction also causes your stick blades to wear out pretty quickly (costs a lot to keep buying blades, or sticks)

Shooting and Stickhandling Surfaces

hockey dryland training tilesA great solution is to find a nice smooth surface to shoot and stickhandle on. I have tried a lot of alternatives, but I find each cheap alternative will have a downfall in one way or another. I think that if you are serious about improving your shooting and stickhandling it is important to find a good surface to practice on.

One product that we have reviewed in the past was the hockey shooting pad we also did a video review of the roll-up shooting pad which I really liked. I think the roll up pad is the best option for a small area.

Dryland Training Tiles

We were sent a few boxes of training tiles from hockey shot for review. Here is some information about the training tiles from the hockey shot website (with our comments in brackets)

  • Slipperiest & smoothest material available for stickhandling, hockey training tileshooting & passing! (we’ll see about that)
  • Each tile measures 18” x 18” tile (2.25 square feet) and are 1/2″ thick.
  • Comes with 2 beveled edge pieces for easy loading of pucks.
  • Tiles easily attach to each other. Assemble entire hockey flooring area in minutes! (more on this in the review)
  • Perfect for your garage, basement or driveway.
  • Tiles are strong enough for cars to park on, perfect for the garage. (Oh I have to test this out!)

Quality of Material

The tiles are very sturdy feeling, on the top they feel very smooth, and on the bottom they have a cross pattern across the entire tile. The tiles are not overly rigid, and it doesn’t seem like they would break or shatter with a slapshot (time will tell)

Setting up the Hockey Training Tiles

This was pretty easy, it took me a little while to figure it out, but I got it. I thought there was a special way to snap them together, but all you need to do is put the clip side over the ring side and then bash press them together.  Each box has 10 tiles, and the tiles measure 18 inches by 18 inches, I set each box up as two rows of 5 tiles.

5 boxes of hockey training tiles

I would say 5 boxes would be enough for most areas like a garage or basement. It gave me a lot of room to stickhandle and practice dekes. I also added a few more toys from hockeyshot to give me a bit more to do.

hockey training tiles

On the right side is the attack triangle which is a substitute for a defencemen, and on left side, in the corner, we have the pass master. The passmaster will feed the puck back to you if you pass into it. We also have a weighted hockey puck, and a Green Biscuit which is my favourite off ice puck! Check out the video to see them all in action

Stickhandling and Shooting on the Training Tiles

Stickhandling

I practiced a variety of moves on the shooting tiles, first I just did some basic stickhandling with a regular hockey puck, then moved on to quicker dekes, and toe drags. The tiles held up well too all of my abuse, I was darting back and foreth, moving the puck quickly in all directions and taking a few quick snap shots to finish the move off. The tiles did not come apart at all and most importantly, the puck did not get caught on any edges. I was really impressed at how smoothly the tiles fit together

Shooting

I was told that you can drive a car onto the tiles and they will not break, so they better be able to withstand the force of a stick while taking a slapshot (I tested both :D) With 5 boxes of tiles there was plenty of room to take a wristshot, snapshot, and slapshot. I took a bunch of slapshots and did not feel the tiles move at all, and there was no damage either.

Compared to other products

I really like the roll-up shooting pad which is 4 feet wide by 8 feet long and costs $99. With the roll up shooting pad you get the most shooting and stickhandling area for your buck.  A box of 10 training tiles costs $109.50 (use our coupon to get $10 off) and gives you 3 feet by 7.5 feet, but the big advantage to the tiles is that you can buy more down the road and increase the area.

Score sheet – Overall Thoughts

I think that these tiles definitely live up to expectations.

  • They were nice and sturdy
  • They fit together nicely with no raised edges
  • The puck and the Green Biscuit slid very well
  • Easy to set up

I would recommend these to anyone who has a garage, basement, or flat open area and wants to start a cool place to practice stickhandling and shooting. Only one question remains though…. can you drive a car on it, you will have to watch the video to find out!

Hockey Training Tiles Video Review

In this video we test out the training tiles and show you how well the pucks slide, how to set up the tiles, and if we can park a car on them

Where to Buy the Training Tiles

I always get a comment on every review asking where to buy the product (even though I link to it about 5 times in the review) so I am making a nice big section called where to buy. You can buy the tiles on this page at hockeyshot

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Green Biscuit Review

Green Biscuit

The green biscuit is a hockey training puck that is designed to replicate the feeling of stickhandling with a real hockey puck on ice. While many ( too many!) products promise the feel of stickhandling
with a real puck, only a few can deliver. How did it stack up? Read on to find out.

If you just want to know how much it costs, and buy one you can buy it here Enter our Hockeyshot coupon code for $10 off orders over $100 HOWHCKY001

First look at the Green Biscuit

When I first got the green biscuit I thought what most people probably think, oh great another gimmicky hockey training product. You have to admit, it looks a bit funny

Green Biscuit Training puck

Green Biscuit Design

The biscuit is designed to travel flat on irregular surfaces like concrete and asphalt. The idea behind the design is to reduce friction, and vibration that will cause pucks to flip over and normally occurs with other pucks.

The green biscuit is made out of two pieces of plastic with a hollow spot in the middle. The pieces of plastic are held apart by three metal bolts and cushioned with rubber spacers in the middle. According to the Green Biscuit Website this unique design is specifically engineered to stop the it from flipping over. Sounds like a great plan, but for some reason I don’t think that this puck could hold up to my ever improving slapshot, but I can’t wait to try stickhandling and passing.

While there are many pucks that use simple, and often flawed designs in an attempt to achieve an ice like feel, it appears that the green biscuit may actually achieve this. It definitely wins the award for most creative engineering and design. Only one question remains though….

Does the Green Biscuit work?

The short answer is YES! I was pretty amazed at how well this puck actually worked. After using so many shawdy products, I really expected this one to end up as dog toy, I was pleasantly surprised. Below I will share my experience with the biscuit

Stickhandling with the GreenBiscuit

I tested the Green Biscuit on a nice flat piece of pavement. The biscuit moves nicely back and forth and is definitely better than using a regular hockey puck ( see video) I also tried some other hockey training pucks but the Green Biscuit was definitely my favourite. It slides nicely, and is great for toe drags! (as seen in our hockey shooting pad video)

Does it flip up?
When doing slow smooth motions it is almost impossible to flip the it over. I find the biscuit does come up slightly from time to time, but only during quick, powerful moves. I feel this is a good way to train yourself to have nice soft hands, and it only tilts up a bit, so it doesn’t really interrupt stickhandling too much.

If you want to practice a lot of quick moves you could always pick up a hockey shooting pad. The shooting pad works well with the green biscuit by reducing friction even more, and it will also protect the bottom of your stick. We did a full hockey shooting pad review if you are interested

Passing
I really liked passing with the green biscuit. Ken and I tried all kinds of variations; quick short passes, long hard passes, rapid back and forth passes, backhand passes, and even saucer passes. The green biscuit worked great for every type of pass, and really felt like passing on ice does.

If you suck at passing I definitely recommend getting a green biscuit, having a friend to pass back to you helps as well!!

One thing that I did notice was when taking a hard pass, if I cupped the pass and then pulled it in towards my body in a sweeping motion the puck would come up on edge against the edge of the blade of my stick. Not a huge annoyance as it only happened a few times, and I easily corrected the puck and continued passing.

Shooting with the green biscuit

A lot of people ask “can you shoot with the Green Biscuit?” Here is my experience

*Winds up, takes a slapshot, hits post, green biscuit explodes*

The green biscuit is not made for shooting! That’s what regular pucks are for 😀

Green Biscuit Video

Reading about how a product works is good, but seeing it in action is even better, so we thought this video would help show you how the Green Biscuit training puck works.

Green biscuit vs regular puck

Green Biscuit and Hockey Puck
Size

As you can see in the picture the Green Biscuit is the exact same size of a normal hockey puck

Weight

The Green Biscuit weighed in at 4.4 ounces. A normal hockey puck is usually between 5.5 and 6 ounces. The Green Biscuit is made a bit lighter than a normal puck to replicate the feel of using a real puck off ice.

Feel

According to the Green Biscuit website the Green Biscuit was made lighter than a normal hockey puck because the added friction from rough surfaces makes it feel heavier, or just like using the heavier puck on the ice.

Slide

Don’t even think about trying to use a regular puck off the ice or on pavement, the rubber grabs onto everything and the puck will flip all over the place

Of course nothing can match a puck on ice, but the Green Biscuit does slide nicely, it travels in a straight line, moves better if you put spin on it, and has a similar bounce as a puck.

Green biscuit compared to stickhandling balls

Green Biscuit compared to a stick handling ball

Size

As you can see in the pictures the stickhandling ball is quite a bit smaller than the Green Biscuit, however it is also taller. The balls are made to have the same contact point as a puck, so that is why it is quite a bit taller, you can see that the middle of the stickhandling ball matches the top of the green biscuit.

Weight

The stickhandling ball I use weighed in at 4.1 oz, with the green biscuit being 4.4, not a big difference at all.

Slide

Being round, the stickhandling balls roll very easily, the motion of rolling is obviously different than sliding but provides great lateral movement along the ground. The major downfall of stickhandling balls is the passing ability. If you try to pass stickhandling balls for long distances they have the tendency to bounce and change direction.

Feel

Stickhandling balls are great for quick movements and repetition because you never have to worry about them flipping over, however real pucks do flip over sometimes so I think it is a good idea to use a product that most closely reflects the properties of a puck.

If I want to practice some serious dangles I prefer the green biscuit. The major downfall of stickhandling balls is their shape. They are designed to feel like a puck, but no matter how you look at it, they are still balls. When I first started learning how to toe drag I practiced with stickhandling balls, but found when I tried the same motion on ice, the puck would get away from me a lot. When I started using the Green biscuit on a hockey shooting pad (even on pavement was good) I noticed it felt A LOT more like a puck on ice.

Price compared to other training pucks
The green biscuit retails for around $10 US, which is right on par with other training pucks.

Green Biscuit Recap

Highlight of the night
I like how easily the green biscuit slides on rough surfaces and also how much it feels like a real puck. I also like how it doesn’t flip all over the place like other off ice pucks. Passing is great with the GB as well. If I send a nice hard pass to my friend, I know it is going to get there, which makes practicing with the green biscuit a lot of fun.

In the sin bin
The only downfalls I could find with the biscuit is that it is fairly loud (plastic on pavement, who would have guessed) and also it is not made for shooting. The plastic is some-what brittle so if you shoot the puck against something hard it WILL break. Also if you use the Green Biscuit on asphalt a lot it will wear down due to the rough surface.

Overall thoughts

I definitely recommend the green biscuit to anyone who wants to practice stickhandling and especially for people who want to work on passing. I had a lot of fun using the green biscuit, and it has found a permanent home in my gym bag, right next to my roller blades!

Where to Buy a Green Biscuit

If you want to pick up one of these you can buy it here Use our Hockey Shot coupon code to save $10 on orders over $100 HOWHCKY001

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