The game of hockey is one of the most exciting team sports in the world, but the true serious athlete must learn to train alone—consistently. There may not always be other people with whom you can practice or even an ice rink. Fortunately, there are drills that can improve athletic ability without the assistance of other people or access to ice.
Want to make moves like Datsyuk? You need fast feet! Follow this off-ice agility training guide to improve the effectiveness of your dekes…
The following off-ice hockey drills improve a hockey player’s agility to make scoring easier. Agility is an important skill for anyone who plays team sports, and it can be improved through a litany of drills. Agility is the skill that made scorers like Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby so dynamic. The ability to stop, accelerate, and change direction immediately is essential—especially on open ice.
This drill typically requires the use of three cones, though virtually anything can be substituted as a marker. Two cones should be placed 30 feet apart. A third cone should be placed halfway between the first two, leaving about fifteen feet between the middle and outside cones.
Start at the middle cone and run to one of the outside cones. Without overrunning the cone, change directions and run to the farthest cone. Quickly change directions and run to the middle cone again.
This drill utilizes acceleration and changing direction. Timing the drill will allow you to track your progress as you become faster and more agile.
Inline Skating Serpentine
Hockey players might invest in a pair of inline skates to simulate skating during free time. This is one of the best agility drills available and it can be done on asphalt or any other hard surface.
You’ll need ten cones or markers placed six feet apart. The idea is to skate around each cone like a slalom skier. You need to weave between the cones as quickly as possible without touching them.
Once you feel comfortable with this drill, you can incorporate the stick and a street hockey puck. The drill is completed the same way, but keeping control of the puck requires far more skill. Once this skill has been mastered, you can move the cones a foot closer together. Make it tougher by adding a power slide at the end and going back through the serpentine the other way.
This is an excellent exercise for anyone looking to increase skating explosiveness without the use of additional equipment. Stronger hamstrings equate to more speed on the ice, which is why speed skaters have such muscular legs. The hamstrings also help stabilize your knees, protecting them from injury.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and begin by squatting down until your thighs form a ninety-degree angle with your calves. Swing your arms forward and leap from the ground with all your might. This is a fast, fluid motion. Keep your back straight and knees out over your toes, but use the squat to power your jump.
Land softly, then reset yourself back into the appropriate stance to jump again. Complete a few short sets of five jumps each, resting between each set, as part of your warm-up each day to improve muscle strength. As you grow stronger, focus on jumping higher each time.
Agility is one of the most important skills any athlete can have, especially a hockey player. The previous exercises are specifically designed to improve agility, but there are many others. An agility ladder is an excellent tool for increasing speed and quickness, and they’re relatively inexpensive. Fortunately, there are other exercises designed to improve agility when additional equipment is unavailable.
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