The off-season isn’t the time to slack off and let your hockey skills erode. If you want to come back stronger and more prepared than ever before, you need to put in the work.
The top hockey players use the time to work on their skills and get stronger and faster. It’s not just stick-handling and puck control: It’s about improving your skating, strength and conditioning—not to mention your mental game. Here are 5 things that top performing players do in their off-season hockey training:
#1 – They strength train.
Strength training is extremely important in an uber-physical sport like hockey. The best players use the off-season to hit the weight room and get stronger.
Stronger players are faster, have more endurance and are more resistant to injury.
That’s right—not only are they able to generate more power with their shots, but they’re also more resistant to being knocked around and are less likely to get injuries that sideline them. And that’s why strength training is the first goal of off-season training as a hockey player.
#2 – They work on their skating.
The best hockey players know that skating is the most important part of the game. They use the off-season to work on their edges, starts and stops, and power.
Skating is the foundation of everything in hockey—literally—so it’s important to get better at it every chance you get.
The faster you skate, the more time you have to make plays. And the better you skate, the easier it is to avoid getting hit and making turnovers.
But skating isn’t just about going fast. It’s also about being able to stop and start quickly, and changing directions efficiently. By working on your skating in the off-season, you’ll become a better athlete all around.
#3 – They work on their balance.
Balance is important for all athletes, but it’s especially important for hockey players. Good balance helps you stay on your feet when you’re hit, makes you harder to knock off the puck and gives you better power and explosiveness. Hockey players can use the off-season to work on their balance with exercises like single-leg squats and balance lunges.
#4 – They focus on speed training and explosive power.
Speed training is important for hockey players of all ages. The best players use the off-season to work on their acceleration, speed and quickness. Quicker players have a big advantage on the ice.
There are many ways to get faster, and one of the best is plyometrics. Plyometric exercises help improve your power and explosiveness.
The best hockey players use the off-season to do plyometric exercises like box jumps and jump squats. This type of training will make you faster and more explosive on the ice.
#5 – They prepare mentally as well as physically.
Incredibly, mental preparation is still frequently neglected in hockey. Yet, in many ways, it’s just as important as physical preparation.
That is, if you’re not mentally prepared, all the physical training in the world won’t do you any good. (And that’s true no matter what sport you play.)
That’s why hockey players should use the off-season to work on their mental game. They visualize themselves succeeding on the ice. They work on their confidence and focus. They set goals—and put in the work to achieve them.
The Bottom Line
Hockey pros know that the off-season is the time to improve their skills and get stronger and faster.
No matter what level you’re at, by preparing in the off-season, you can take your hockey game to the next one—and be ready to dominate when the season starts.