While the 2019-20 hockey season was forced to an early end due to the
COVID-19 pandemic, there is no reason why the focus cannot begin to shift
to next season.
One positive of social distancing is the opportunity for players of all
ages and abilities to focus on improving away from the rink.
Off-ice training is just as important for hockey development as being on
the ice. It allows for athletes to focus on bio-motor abilities (speed,
power, strength, flexibility, conditioning) that will enhance their on-ice
Let’s break down the ways to improve these specific areas at home to make
sure players are ready to lace up the skates in the fall.
PART 1: SPEED
There are two main components of speed – acceleration and max velocity.
Hockey is a sport with a lot of stops and starts, which makes acceleration
an important ability. When training acceleration, there are a few key
concepts to consider:
1. Keep the sprints short and explosive (think about accelerating over
three-to-five steps, or short distances of five to 10 metres).
2. Vary the starting stance (forward facing, side-facing, laying down).
3. Rest is best! When training speed, give yourself time to recover between
repetitions. You are not conditioning, so make sure that each time you
sprint that your body is well-recovered and able to push with 100%
intensity and effort.
Stand with feet together, with the weight on the balls of your feet.
Keeping your body in a straight line (tall and tight), allow yourself to
fall forward (without breaking at the waist). When you feel like you can’t
fall any further, drive as hard as you can into a sprint. Challenge
yourself to fall as far as you can before you take off.
½ Kneeling Lateral Starts:
Start in a tall kneeling position on the ground (right knee down, hips and
shoulders stacked over the knee, left foot on ground in front of body).
Maintaining this ‘tall and tight’ position, drive off your front foot and
sprint in the opposite direction. By starting in this position, you can
mimic the direction of push that is similar to accelerating off the inside
edge of your skate blade.