Tag: improve hockey speed

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

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How to Gain On-Ice Speed with Off-Ice Training

improve-hockey-speed-palmer

By Jarod Palmer, Minnesota Wild Player

Note: HUGE thanks to Jarod for writing this article for How To Hockey. This article is a detailed account of how he got his speed up to NHL standards. If you want to say thanks you can tweet this article and mention him https://twitter.com/#!/palmfisher

I have always been a hockey player with average speed.  As a professional athlete, I am always looking to improve my skill set, especially in finding my way “in” to the NHL. Last season, my coach sat me down and asked me what I thought was keeping me from playing in the NHL.  After a few wrong guesses, he told me that my speed, or lack there of, was not at the NHL level. Despite the amount of training I had done the summer before my rookie year, I had to agree with my coach; I was not fast. There was only one answer…I must have been training wrong.  I began my quest to successfully build speed in the following summer. I changed my training technique and became stronger, faster, and sturdier on my feet than ever before. Here is how I did it.

Changing Your Mind Set

In order to work your muscles “smarter” rather than “harder,” you must:

  1. Switch the focus from your quadriceps to the “back of the leg” muscles. These muscles include your gluteals, hamstrings and calves.
  2.  Shift from two-leg training to single leg training. By doing this you are able to recruit more stabilizer muscles.
  3. Train with little or no weight and focus more on speed than strength.

I’m happy to say that my new techniques paid off.  The very next season, I was noticeably faster and did get my shot in the NHL with the very same coach that gave me the great advice.

 Back of the Legs

Focus your mind on working the gluteals and hamstrings during all of your hockey exercises, especially sprinting and jumping.

  • One way to practice flexing the right muscles is by doing a wall set (sit in a chair-like squat with your back against the wall and hold).  Most likely your quadriceps muscles will begin to burn.  Without changing position, you can relieve the strain on the quads by tightening up your gluteals and hamstrings.
  • Think about sitting in that squat position with someone in front of you trying to pull your feet out from underneath you.  You would automatically flex your hamstring and glute muscles in order to keep your feet beneath you. This is what you want to flex during the exercise.
  • Make sure your weight is not on your toes but rather on your heels.  Try to lift your toes off the ground.  You might feel your lower back begin to pull away from the wall.  Counter this tendency by flexing your core and keep your back flat against the wall.
  • Your hamstrings and glutes should be tight during the entire motion of a squat. Try tapping your fingers against your hamstrings. This will help tell your brain to work those muscles.
  • When you are doing it right, your hamstrings will be hard. Believe me, this is as much of a mental work out as a physical one. It takes practice to get it right.

Wall Sit Video


Having troubles?  Try standing tall.  Now drop into a squat position as fast as you can and hold.  Your body weight should drop faster than gravity can pull you down because your hamstrings flex to pull your body downward.  Continue to flex the hamstrings and fire the glutes on your way up finishing with a slight forward hip thrust – thus forcing the glutes to flex as much as possible.  Getting the right muscles to fire during the squat motion took me several workouts.  Don’t get discouraged if it takes you some time.  Unless you are an Olympic sprinter, you are quad dominant.  You have to retrain your muscles to become “back of the leg dominant” and this takes practice.

 Stablizers

Every time you take a stride you balance on one blade until your other foot recovers.  Thus, single leg balance is key to becoming more stable on skates. Stand with one foot on the ground and do a four to five inch squat.

  • Your free leg should be bent with your foot slightly behind you.  Remember the “back of leg” principals learned above.
  • Your body weight should be over your heel.  To maintain balance, tighten up your core, keep your chest and head up with your arms loose.
  • Try to breath in on your way down and out on your way up.  Now try to do the same squat with no shoes on.
  • Progress in difficulty by squatting deeper each time.
  • Don’t worry about going fast. Focus on controlling your balance with core body strength. Use your arms as little as possible.

Want More?  Try kneeling on an exercise ball.  The pros can stand on the ball and do squats.

 Speed and Quickness

When attempting to develop strength, movements should be slow and controlled. When trying to develop speed, all movements should be done with speed and grace.  Do every exercise as fast as you can while maintaining control.  When you do a squat, try to go down quickly.  When you reach 90 degrees (more or less) change direction as fast as you can.  Doing squats in this motion works both deceleration and acceleration strength.  The muscle fibers work one way to stop your body from moving and another way to get it moving again.  You need power through both movements in order to be able to change direction quickly on the ice.  When doing jumps or lunges focus on landing soft, using your hamstrings to pull your body down quickly with your hamstrings and exploding upward with your glutes. Again, this is very challenging and takes time to get right.

Changing the way I worked my muscles was not easy.  My body wanted to revert back to over using the quadriceps.  My workouts were as challenging mentally as they were physically.  What kept me going were the results.  My hamstrings and glutes grew in size and strength.  I began to spring off the ground rather than push.  I felt lighter and more stable on the ice, which is exactly what I wanted. Without a doubt, training this way improved my speed and stability on the ice.

I hope this information helps you as much as it helped me.  Good luck!

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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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How to Improve Hockey Speed

how to improve hockey speed

Increasing Hockey Speed – By Jeremy Weiss

Increasing hockey speed is a never-ending pursuit for most hockey players… or at least it should be!!

Today’s game is much different than it used to be. The crack-down on “clutch-and-grab” hockey has really opened up the ice for the skilled athlete. We are seeing an exciting shift toward a high-speed, quick-paced game of skill and finesse… one in which slower athletes are being left behind… LITERALLY!

Any smart hockey player should recognize this change in the game, and should be constantly striving to increase his or her hockey speed. But in order to do that, you must first understand what makes a fast hockey player.

Hockey speed is composed of Technical Elements, and Physical Elements. Or in other words: On-ice Components, and Off-ice Components.

The on-ice components are things your skating instructor should be able to help you with such as utilizing a proper knee bend, obtaining a full extension on each stride, eliminating “head-bobbing,” striding at the proper angle, using your edges properly, etc…

The on-ice elements MUST be perfected in order to achieve optimal speed. However, there are three main off-ice components every player should develop that will GREATLY ENHANCE his or her ability to generate speed on the ice.

The three main off-ice components are as follows:

  1. Leg Strength
  2. Explosiveness
  3. Agility & Footspeed

Increasing leg strength will allow for deeper knee bends, which make for longer and more efficient strides. It will also help to improve balance and stability in battling and checking situations.

Becoming more explosive will improve that quick burst of speed, and allow you to win more races to loose pucks. Races are won or lost in those first three strides!

Improving Agility and footspeed will allow you to take more strides in a shorter period of time. This, combined with an increased stride length, will complete your speed equation––allowing you to take a greater number of longer strides.

There are many ways to improve on these three main off-ice components. Here are three exercises that I think should be included in any solid hockey training program:

SQUAT FOR LEG STRENGTH: This video shows the main key points for executing a proper squat. Squats are a great exercise to increase overall leg strength!

PLYO BOX ROUTINE (AND VARIATION) FOR EXPLOSIVENESS: The first video explains what plyometrics are, how plyometric training can contribute to increased hockey speed, and shows a sample exercise routine using plyometric boxes. The second video shows what to do if you don’t have plyometric boxes available to you.

DOT DRILL FOR AGILITY AND FOOTSPEED: This video shows my favorite off-ice agility drill. This drill is cheap to set up, and only takes about a minute to perform, so there’s no excuse not to do it each day!

Summary

Increasing hockey speed is a complex task, with on-ice and off-ice variables. Go to a well-qualified skating instructor to help you nail down your on-ice components, and participate in a hockey specific strength and conditioning program to improve your off ice components by increasing your leg strength, explosiveness, and agility––starting with squats, plyometrics, and the dot drill. Combining on ice and off ice development will help you to improve your speed quickly and effectively this summer!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jeremy Weiss owns and operates a hockey drills and skills blog. He has a degree in Exercise Science and is a Certified Personal Trainer. Jeremy recently combined his fitness knowledge with his hockey background to develop a hockey-specific, strength and conditioning program called the S3 Formula. More info on this state-of-the-art hockey training system can be found on Jeremy’s Hockey Development page

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