Hockey is one of the most physically demanding sports around. The intense physicality makes it difficult for some players—even experienced ones—to keep up with the pace of play. It requires incredibly fast reactions and agility, as well as impressive strength and power to go from a good player to a great player.
To succeed at hockey, athletes must have not only good fundamentals but also the ability to think quickly on their feet and anticipate plays by their opponents before they happen.
What sets hockey apart from other team sports are its unique movement demands; players are constantly changing direction while attempting to stickhandle or pass the puck around their opponents.
One key to becoming a better hockey player is improving speed. Improved speed means quicker reactions and better positioning on the ice. It also helps you make faster plays and get to loose pucks before the other team.
To achieve increased speed, it’s important to focus on exercises that improve leg power and core strength, as well as agility and footwork drills that will help with quick changes in direction. Improving overall fitness is also important—incorporating cardio, strength, and flexibility into your training routine is essential for any hockey player looking to take their game to the next level.
Agility, Acceleration, and Speed
Your on-ice speed is determined by a combination of factors, including agility, acceleration, and top speed. To improve your skating performance in each area requires specific strategies:
Agility is the ability to change your speed and direction quickly. Improving your agility requires practice in sharp turns, crossovers, and other agility drills. You can also try using an agility ladder or cones to work on quick stops and starts.
Acceleration is the speed you can reach in the first few strides away from the start. You can improve your acceleration by engaging your lower body muscles and using explosive movements. To increase your acceleration, practice sprints, quick starts, and backward skating drills.
Your top speed is the maximum speed you can reach while skating. To increase your top speed, focus on strengthening your legs and core muscles. Plyometrics, such as jumps and hopping exercises, can help you increase your leg power and skating speed.
Tips for Becoming a Faster Skater
If you’re looking for ways to improve your hockey performance, then improving your skating speed should be at the top of your list. Here are 7 strategies you can employ in order to increase your skating speed:
- Get stronger and more powerful
- Run faster off-ice drills in order to transfer those gains onto the ice
- Practice pushing hard for success
- Learn advanced skating techniques such as crossovers, turns, stops etc.
- Work with a qualified coach or trainer who can help identify areas of improvement
- Incorporate better nutrition into your lifestyle in order to maximize performance levels
- Practice game-like situations often in order to prepare for game-time scenarios.
The Bottom Line
Improving one’s skating speed can make them a better hockey player by increasing their speed on the ice which allows them more time on attack or defense during play.
With increased strength, power & agility plus advanced technique knowledge & game like situation training—any aspiring hockey player will have all they need for greater success on the ice.
Remember that developing an effective training program that includes strength, speed, agility technical skill work & cardiovascular endurance components will help maximize performance levels—and lead you one step closer towards becoming an elite athlete.