5 Best Ice Hockey Skating Drills
The 5 best ice hockey skating drills are designed to increase your speed, your fluid motion and your ability to start and stop as accurately as possible. Good skaters know how to use the ice to their advantage, and following the 5 best ice hockey skating drills will help you to become a more powerful and efficient skater.
- Underwater exercises. Pushing weights, running and squatting exercises all help to build leg muscles which is advantageous to powerful skating. In order to condition your muscles to skate strong on the ice you should also include underwater running as well. This exercise requires a pool that is filled no lower than your waist. Run at full speed from one end of the pool to the other, as many laps as you can do each time. You will find that the water helps reduce the feel of the resistance between your skates and the ice.
- Getting low for speed. Sprinting exercises are used by runners to develop speed in a race. Hockey sprints are done for the same purpose, but they are done a little differently than running sprints. Start at one end of the rink and get as low as you can. On someone's mark, start sprinting for the other end of the ice staying low the entire time. When you reach the other end you stop, turn and come back. Sprint as many laps as you can making sure to stay as low as possible. Staying low on the ice not only helps you increase your speed, it also makes it difficult for defenders to see you in a crowd of players.
- Cross-over drills. When hockey players take a corner, the fastest way to move is cross one foot over the other as you take the turn. Cross-over drills in hockey are essential to developing good hockey skating skills. To do this drill you simply need to do laps around the rink. Start out slowly, and pay close attention to your cross-over. If you are going in a counterclockwise lap, then as you reach a corner you would cross your right foot over your left to make a smooth turn. A clockwise direction requires a left foot over right foot cross-over. As you feel comfortable with your cross-overs, you should increase your speed.
- Backing up. Defense men are generally better backwards skaters than any other kind of player, but learning to back up properly is important for every player. Backwards skating drills are done in phases to help the player get comfortable with skating backwards. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and allow yourself to go backwards. To stop, slowly bring your feet together. Do this several times until you feel comfortable with the sensation of skating backwards. To gain speed while skating backwards, you need to swivel your hips from side to side. The faster you swivel, the faster you will go backwards. To turn and move while going backwards, you simply need to lean in the direction you would like to go in. Do all of these drills each day to become more familiar and comfortable with backing up on skates.
- Jumping and landing. At some point during the course of a hockey game, most players will have to jump. Whether it is to avoid a collision, or to escape a persistent defensive player, jumping and landing are important skills for hockey players. Jumping and landing properly on ice skates is not nearly as easy as it sounds. The proper drill for jumping and landing in hockey skates is to stand on the tip-toe of your skate blades and then jump quickly in the air. You will fall, so be sure you have protective equipment on. As you get better at leaping in place, start to do a drill where you skate in a straight line and then jump one or two feet in the air. Once again, you will fall. But becoming comfortable with jumping and landing on skates is important in playing the game of hockey.