Looking for good hockey training aids can feel like a bit of a challenge. That being said, there are a few types of these aids that are commonly used by hockey players of all levels. Finding the right ones for you will help you become the best hockey player you can be.
There are training aids that can help with just about any skill. Speed, strength, accuracy, stickhandling, balance, the list goes on. If you need help getting better at a particular skill, you can find the right tool to help you out with it no matter what it might be.
There’s no shame in getting training tools to help you train. In fact, even professional hockey players use aids to help them make sure that they’re isolating specific skills and improving upon them so they can be even more competitive in the years to come.
Today we’re going to look at a few things that you could need improvement on and then look at the aids that can help you properly train those skills. Most of these will be pretty easy to find so you’ll be able to get onto your training regimen as soon as possible.
Hockey games are intense. In games where you’re evenly matched with your opponent or even less skilled than your opponent, you’ll probably be in a full sprint for the duration of the game. That kind of full-on effort takes a huge toll on you, and not being able to keep up can cost you the game.
So, what kind of training tools are available to help you keep your energy up for the duration of the game? You have a few options and a few exercises to choose from, and all of them are going to work wonders on your stamina. If you don’t want to get any fancy tools you can try a few different things, for instance:
- Wind sprints
- Inline skating
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
All of those are going to work wonders for your stamina, and that extra stamina is going to help you out a lot when you’re in real games. Now that we’ve covered exercises that can help you build up your stamina, what kind of tools do you have available to you? Let’s take a look at your best option.
In our opinion, your best bet is going to be a slide board. Slide boards are pretty much what they sound like, a board that you can slide on. These boards are wide, or long depending on your perspective, and you just slide your feet back and forth on the board.
This doesn’t sound like there’s much to it, but it can actually be a really good workout while also establishing the basic motions of moving on the ice into muscle memory. That can make a huge difference on the ice.
If you don’t have to think about how you’re moving, you’ll be able to do so with a lot more ease. That leaves your thinking power available for more critical things that are happening at the moment during the game, and that makes a huge difference.
Some people even use their hockey sticks along with the board in order to train their stickhandling as well, but that’s entirely up to you and if you want to train both at once. If you do, you have some tools available to make it easier.
Stickhandling is one of the most important things for hockey players. If you can’t handle your hockey stick or the puck, you’re going to have a bad time. Every single position on your team needs to be able to handle their stick properly, even the goalie.
If you need to practice your stickhandling but can’t get on the ice practice time, you’re going to need another option. You, fortunately, have a few options for this, and today we’re going to be taking a look at what we consider to be the best option you have.
In our honest opinion, we think that you should go for stickhandling balls for this kind of training. Stickhandling balls are small balls that you can hit on regular flooring or street that automatically give a similar experience to hitting the hockey puck on the ice.
These are great because they get you used to the feeling of the puck on the ice while allowing you to practice pretty much anywhere you want, and when we say anywhere we mean anywhere. For example:
- In the garage
- At the park
- On the street, as long as you’re careful about cars
- On a paved patio
- In a room that doesn’t have breakable things in it
- At school
The list goes on, but these are just a few good places where you can use your stickhandling balls to get the kind of practice that you need. The flexibility of these tools is what makes them such a good choice no matter your skill level.
You can also get dryland hockey pucks that serve a similar purpose. These pucks are designed to be used on the asphalt, which makes them pretty flexible. You can get a pretty good training session out of the dryland hockey pucks, but they do have one disadvantage to the balls.
That disadvantage is that the dryland hockey pucks don’t have quite the same level of glide as the balls, and it only makes sense that they wouldn’t by design. That being said, dryland pucks can still be great training tools and we recommend them if the balls don’t work for any reason.
You have to use your balance every single day, no matter what you’re doing. Even something as simple as walking down the street can become incredibly complicated if you don’t have the right balance. This is especially true on the ice where you don’t have the luxury of dry ground.
Your body has to work pretty hard to keep you on your feet, whether you realize it or not. Our feet were designed to keep our balance as good as possible but that doesn’t mean that it’s not something that our bodies have to adjust constantly.
That’s a big reason why babies need to learn to walk and can’t just get up and start sprinting on the first day they get home from the hospital. It’s kind of fortunate that babies can’t get up and start running, could you imagine how much trouble they would cause?
In any case, even if you’re not an infant you could probably still use to get some practice for your balance. Staying on your feet during hockey games is important if you want a fighting chance of winning the game.
Our suggestion for balance training? A balance board. These are boards that come with a small cylinder that is commonly referred to as a roller. All you have to do is set the board on top of the roller and try to keep your balance. Here’s what a typically balance board session looks like:
- Put the board on the roller.
- Stand on the board.
- Try to keep the board parallel with the ground.
- (Optional) Add your stick to get some stickhandling practice while you’re practicing your balance.
- Stop whenever it feels right to you.
- Put the balance board and roller back up.
It’s really that easy, and it can get you a great deal more balance. No one has ever said “wow, look at the hockey player. They are too balanced.” which means that there’s a good chance that you could use some practice, no matter how good your balance is.
Training the complicated processes in our body that keep us balanced to help us stay more balanced can help a lot both in the long term and in the short term. Not only will it help you stay on your feet during hockey games, but during your regular everyday life.
In fact, it could even help you do some really risky maneuvers on the ice that will certainly dazzle and amaze those that are watching. Is there any feeling better than seeing the opposing team in disbelief about how you just managed to juke them?
This is an incredibly important skill and with just a little work you can be sure that you master it in what will feel like no time at all. That’s great if you’re looking to be an asset to your team and an active threat to any team that you’re going up against whether in the near or distant future.
Getting a Level Up
Training is hard, and it should be. When you get the skills that pay the bills, it wouldn’t be as satisfying if you didn’t spend hours and hours working as hard as you can to ensure that you got to that point.
That being said, using some tools to help make your training more efficient can help you out a lot in your venture to improve your hockey playing skills and bring home more victories than ever before.