The question above pertains to hockey players and the training aids they own or have acquired over the years of their playing. Do you have a Swedish Stickhandling Ball? The most common stickhandling aid on the market. If you’ve been around the hockey block you’ve seen players of all ages using these training wooden balls to hone their stickhandling skills before practice or at their home.
Why a Swedish Stickhandling Ball?
These stickhandling balls are a perfect size for traveling and don’t cost much to own. The attributes of the Swedish Stickhandling ball give you the chance to be creative with your hockey moves while increasing the quickness of your hands.
This stickhandling ball is great for off ice hockey training. As listed above, the wooden ball gives hockey players a tool to increase their stickhandling movements and develop thier soft touch. You’ll notice below that the USA Hockey Development Team uses the Swedish Ball to work on multiple aspects of their stickhanlding skills.
Hockey Stickhandling Drills
A variety of hockey stickhandling drills are readily availability online. We have listed a couple off ice stickhandling drills that will help improve your confidence with the puck.
Remember, practice makes perfect.
Pair the Swedish Ball with the Steel Ball and see big gains in your hockey skill!
With the off-season approaching, I took some time to put together a few videos that incorporate the slide board into your workout. These slide board workouts consist of high-intensity exercises that combine speed and conditioning drills, as well as balance and coordination drills. The slide board is an excellent training device that can offer a variety of drills and exercises to help you become a better athlete.
Multiple Upper & Lower Body Workouts
21 Slide Board Exercises
Weighted Reverse Lunges on Slide Board
Hopefully these slide board workouts give you a few more ideas on how the slide board can be used to increase your games speed and balance during the off-season.
Dryland hockey workouts can be a bit boring, and that’s why we need to focus on making hockey training workouts fun and more interesting for kids now a days. Only a small percentage of kids will perform off-ice workouts with high effort and proper technique, unless you make the workouts FUN!
Here are a few off ice training drills that could help you entertain your young hockey players and provide a solid dryland hockey workout you can be proud of when they’re finished. These dryland drills come from a past NHL pro who has been coaching for over 25 years, and teaches middle school now. His idea is to make the workouts FUN, to help the kids gain an interest in off ice training. Let me ask you this, what good is a workout if the athlete doesn’t give their best effort or go hard? It’s not a very good workout. That’s why introducing different and interesting workouts can help capture these young athletes attention and let them ease into off ice hockey training as they grow older. Hopefully as kids start to see improvements in their strength, agility and overall hockey game, they’ll begin to enjoy the benefits off-ice hockey training can bring them.
HERE ARE THE TWO OFF ICE HOCKEY WORKOUTS:
The Tire Throw: Stack tires in two piles, 5 on each side. Player will stand, feet facing the stack of tires with a wide-base. Have the player twist at the hips and throw the tire as far as they can, hopefully in a straight line. The idea is to work the lower and mid-section of your body. The twisting at the trunk should mimic a hockey shot. This will work on the players shooting muscles as it’s mostly working out the core of their body. This is the best video I could find of the tire toss. Make sure to use good form before you try to overdo it. Try to tossing 10 tires as far as you can, for five sets. That should be a total of 50 times! Here’s a video showing other advanced things that can be done with tire training.
Weighted Squats/Hill Sprint: This off ice hockey drill is short and sweet. Five weighted squats, and a short 10 yard sprint up hill. (The slope of the hill should be around 45 degrees). The weighted squats should be done with plyo-tubes or another lighter lifting object that can rest on the players’ shoulders. After your five squats, toss the weight to the ground and sprint up the hills or stadium seats. Shoot for 10 sets of this workout. Leaving you with 50 weighted squats and 10 sprints. This is good for leg explosion and quick bursts of speed!
These two off ice training drills are just different enough to make it fun. They aren’t inside, and it lets the kids workout with different objects beside the typical weight. Another good idea to have competition built into the drills. Choose teams and make up a point system to encourage hard work and team work.
These two drills are very simple and may not seem as though they workout your player. However, I’ve noticed that when players are doing these drills correctly they are benefiting from it. Off-ice training can burn kids out, but if you keep it entertaining, and let the kids enjoy working out, hopefully coaches and players will both reap the rewards.
The ability to play with both sides of your stick-blade is crucial to making plays happen on the ice. The backhand is a difficult skill that is often left forgotten and most coaches ask players to stay on their forehand as this is the easy play. The lack of practice and patience by the coaches give youth players little chance to develop their backhand and become one dimensional players because of it. A one dimensional player is easy to defend and that’s why developing your backhand at a young age is very important.
Hockey Backhands – Why are they important?
- The ability to play on your backhand leaves defenders guessing which way the puck will go. (Always playing on your forehand lets them cheat to your strong side.)
- A backhand shot is tough for a goalie to read. Goalies don’t face a lot of backhands during practice or a game. A strong backhand can catch goalies by surprise and off balanced.
- Playing fast is key as you improve levels. Moving the puck from your backhand to forehand for every play gives the opposing defenders time to make a play on you.
College Hockey to Pro Hockey
As a former college hockey player it was difficult for me to see players continuing on to higher levels of hockey while I eventually hung up the skates. It wasn’t because they were faster than me or smarter than me on the ice. It was the smaller skills that set them above the rest of the normal college players. The backhand is a skill that separates good players from great players. Being able to shoot, pass, and catch a pass on your backhand gives you an added dimension to your game and allows you to play at a faster rate. Watch NHL players and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
So How Do I Improve My Backhand Skills?
That’s a great question and one that can be answered. It’s simple really, but it’s not easy. The art of the backhand can only be learned through practice and repetition. It’s the players that are willing to fall off the horse over and over again until they get it right that will prevail. So practice stickhandling on your backhand. Make sure to shoot twice as many backhand shots as your forehand shot. Experiment in practice by catching passes on your backhand and shooting backhand shots. These smaller, and less obvious skills will be what separates a good player from a great player. I hope this message is received by future hockey stars out there! Now get practicing.
What exactly is interval training? It is a type of physical training that involves bursts of high intensity work. These high intensity bursts are alternated with periods of low intensity training. It can be any type of physical training; running, biking, skating, etc. Doing this kind of training will build speed, quickness, and power, as well as improving your aerobic capacities and cardiovascular fitness for hockey.
To develop the skills and athleticism required to succeed in hockey, time and energy must be spent in the most efficient of ways when training. Pushing yourself to the limit for short periods of time, just as you do in a hockey game, is essential in your efforts to become the best player and be in the best physical shape you can be. To play in the NHL and other elite hockey leagues requires agility, quickness, leg strength and explosive power. Ricki Dugdale has written a great article on what you can do to become a better hockey player through workouts in just four weeks. Just one of the many ways Hockeytrain can help you out is with our amazing Slide Boards!
Three things must be true about the training to be effective in anaerobic interval training. They need to be high quality, intense intervals, and show much greater power output than usual aerobic exercises. Doing this will increase your metabolism (the chemical conversion of dietary fuels to supply ATP). Muscle cells burn this much faster when they go through intense workloads. Getting your metabolism up will result in more calories burned and get your heart in better shape so you can go harder every time you step onto the ice.
Learn more about the differences between aerobic and anaerobic at bodybuilding.com Hours and hours of training on and off the ice using solid, high speed intervals are imperative to becoming a great hockey player. Using this type of training also will better your aerobic endurance over the long run. Maybe you can have your cake and eat it, too!
Slide boards aren’t difficult to use but can take time to feel comfortable on if it’s your first time. We always recommend a 6ft slide board for first time users. If you’ve mastered the 6ft board than an 8ft slide board is always an option.
2. How tall am I?
If you’re a tall person with longer legs than we would recommend an 8ft slide board. What is tall? 6’4″ is a good measuring stick for first time users. But remember if you can’t get across the board your slide board workout won’t be very fun.
3. Will my family or friends use my slide board?
If you plan on having different people use the slide board it may be best to get an adjustable slide board. We offer a great adjustable slide board (Powerslide slide board) that is perfect for multiple users and hockey camps.
4. How often will I be using the slide board?
If you’re committed to training on the slide board we’d recommend purchasing the Supreme Slide Board or Elite Slide Board for a higher quality product. If your purchasing it for a younger child the Pro Slide Board would be your best option to keep price in mind.
Hockeytrain.com Daily Deals!
Make sure to check out our daily deals page for some great products to help out in furthering your skills and training. We love to help families find the perfect hockey training aids for any situation. Feel free to email or call (952)746-0034 with any questions regarding slide boards or any other product we have on our site! We are happy to help.
Skating is the fundamental skill in hockey. Become a better skater and you will instantly become a better player.
But it’s not always easy or realistic to spend hours at your local ice rink each day. Just imagine the cost if you were to hire the rink out for an hour each day!
The good news is that you don’t have to spend time on the ice to become a better skater. In fact, you don’t even need to spend time outdoors. Yep, that means no rollerblades.
With a couple of spare hours each day, some space in your home and a slide board, you can become a better skater. Here’s how…
Start with your balance
Before you begin slide board training, you should start every session by practicing your balance. You probably don’t realize it, but you balance on one foot hundreds of times during a game.
To improve your balance, find a wooden box, chair or something else that can support your weight that lies about a foot off the ground.
All you are going to do is put one foot on the box and keep one foot on the floor. Then drive the foot on the floor upwards so that you put all your weight onto the foot that’s on the box. Return the foot that is in the air to the floor. Repeat this 10 times on each leg for three sets. Once you stop wobbling at the top of the drive, you can hold light weights (up to 10lbs) and repeat the exercise.
Once you have your balance sorted, you can begin to use a slide board as exercise equipment.
The first slide board training movement we are going to cover is the forward lunge. The idea here is to replicate your strides on the ice.
Position your slide board lengthways in front of you. Place one foot off the floor and one foot on the slide board. Lunge forward until your leg bends 90 degrees at the knee, and then bring it back. Complete 10 reps on each leg to start and progress from there.
The second slide board training movement we are going to cover is lateral slides.
This is similar to the first movement but this time we are going to position the slide board widthways to our left. Place your right foot on the floor and your left foot on the slide board, keeping both feet shoulder-width apart.
Now, slide your left foot out while squatting down until your right leg bends 90 degrees at the knee. Slide the left leg back and return to a standing position. Repeat this ten times to start and then turn around so that the slide board is to your right and repeat.
Becoming a better skater with a slide board
A slide board is a great piece of exercise equipment that can help you become a better skater without setting foot on the ice. But that’s not all it’s good for. It’s also fantastic for improving your shooting and your puck handling skills. Start becoming a better all-round player at home by buying a slide board today.
Ask anyone who loves the game and they’ll tell you that it’s possible to be a great player without a hard shot or amazing dribbling skills. But it’s not possible to be a great player without being a great skater first.
When most people hear this pearl of wisdom they want to get straight down to their local rink to practice. Of course, you can’t always find the time—let alone the money—to hit the rink. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to become a great skater.
With a pair of trainers, a hockey slide board and the correct slide board exercises, you can become a stronger skater without setting foot on the ice.
Drills to practice
There are a lot of factors that determine how strong a skater you are. Speed, strength and balance all play apart. Practice the drills below to improve every factor that determines your ability as a skater.
The more sprint training you do, the quicker you will become. The time to practice this is in the off-season when the weather permits. Make sure you are varying how far you sprint and make it relevant to a game. There is no point sprinting 100 yards in a straight line because you will never do it in a game
Full body strength training
Yes, to become a better skater you need to hit the gym. The stronger you are, the harder it will be for your opponents to push you off the puck. Think full body exercises such as squats and deadlifts rather than bicep curls.
Do you know how many times you balance during a game? It’s well into the hundreds. The better your balance is, the more control you are going to have.
Slide board exercises
Hockey slide boards let you recreate the feel of ice in your own home. Practice forward and lateral lunges to increase flexibility and power in your legs.
For forward lunges, position the slide board in front of you with one foot on it and one foot on the ground. Slide your front foot forward until your leg is bent 90 degrees at the knee, then slide it back.
For lateral lunges, position the board to one side of you, with one foot on it and one foot off it. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. Slide the foot that is on it along the slide board and squat down until your stationary leg is at 90 degrees. Slide your foot back to come into a standing position and repeat.
Becoming a better skater at home
There’s more to becoming a stronger skater than just skating. By hitting the road, hitting the gym and practicing the right slide board exercises, you can become a stronger skater without lacing up your skates.
If there’s one thing every hockey player wants to do more of, it is scoring more goals. How do you score more goals? Get better at shooting. In particular, get better at shooting wrist shots. Whether you are on the ice or using a shooting mat, practicing this shot is going to get you more goals.
Why practice your wrist shot?
The wrist shot is the bread and butter of any sharp shooter in hockey. It’s the first shot you’ll ever learn and the one you’ll use most often throughout your career. That’s why the pros spend hours upon hours each week honing their wrist shot and why you should too.
The shot step by step:
Balanced Stance: Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your bottom hand should be a little lower on the stick than it normally would. Keep your knees bent, have your shoulders square on and your chest up.
Shifting your Weight: The power of this shot doesn’t just come from your wrists, you should be using your entire body. Drag the puck behind your furthest skate to shift all of the weight to your back leg. Now you need to use your whole body to drag the puck forwards, shifting your weight from your back to your front foot.
The Snap: When you shift your weight forwards, you want to drag the puck so that it is just behind your front skate whilst having your hands in front of your front skate. This gap between your hands and your body leaves room for the ‘snap’. Lean into your stick to make it flex whilst pushing your bottom hand forward and pulling your top hand back. This will help generate the most power in your shot.
Take Aim: Just before the snap, aim the face of your stick in the direction that you want to shoot. The height of the shot is determined by your follow through. To aim high, follow through high. To aim low, follow through low.
How to practice a wrist shot off the ice
There’s only so much you can learn from reading instructions or watching video tutorials. The only way to get better is to practice. Of course, it isn’t always easy or convenient to get out on the ice. That’s why it pays to be able to practice virtually anywhere with hockey shooting pads and hockey shooting mats.
Shooting pads provide an excellent, portable surface for you to practice your shooting skills at home, in the park, virtually anywhere you want. You’ll want one that is around twice your shoulder width. This will allow you to practice the full range of motion we discussed above: dragging the back to your back skate and transferring weight through your back leg, and then shifting your weight and dragging the puck forwards.
For a more realistic experience, you may also want to invest in a passer that lets you recreate a pass from your teammate prior to shooting.
Today we’re going to break down two different ways to shoot a hockey puck. First, the wrist shot and then, the slap shot. We’re also going to look at how you can practice them at home using a ice hockey shooting pad or ice hockey shooting mat.
The Two Shots
In terms of body position, the two shots are largely similar. For both shots, the player needs to be standing square on with the puck, feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent and chest forward.
The wrist shot:
The wrist shot is all about sliding the puck and using your wrists to generate power at the end. The puck should start in line with your back foot. All of your weight should be on your back leg. Push the puck forward, towards the goal, transferring your weight through your body to your front foot as you move the puck. As the puck nears your front foot, make sure your hands are positioned towards the goal away from your body. This will give you room for the flick at the end of the movement. Flex your stick and push your bottom forward and pull your top hand away. This will cause you to flick your wrists at the very end of the shot, helping you to generate more power.
The slap shot:
The slap shot is less accurate than a wrist shot but much more powerful. You’ll want the puck in front of you but in the middle of your stance for this shot. Raise the stick so that it is parallel to your shoulders and then quickly bring it down towards the ice. Aim to hit the ice just before the puck. If you want the shot to be airborne, flick your wrist as you make contact with the puck.
Now you’ve got the basics of each shot down, the only thing left to do is practice, practice, practice.
Practicing Off The Ice
Practicing is most effective when it resembles a game scenario as closely as possible. This means that it will be most effective when you’re on the ice. It’s a shame then that finding time to hit the rink is hard, not to mention expensive.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t practice whenever you want. With a shooting mat or shooting pad, you can recreate the feel of the ice underneath a puck and practice your shooting whenever and wherever you wish.
Make sure you choose a shooting mat or shooting pad that is easily transported so you can practice in your basement, in the street or in the park. If you can’t move it, you’re less likely to practice.
You’re also going to want to choose one that is a good size for you. The bigger you are, the bigger the mat you are going to need in order to effectively recreate the shooting movement. Choose one that is at least twice as wide as your stance, if not a little bit longer.
Don’t skimp either. I wouldn’t hesitate to invest over $75 in a shooting mat. The more realistic the surface is, the better for training. Plus, they are a heavy duty hockey training product that typically lasts a player’s youth through high school. Also, don’t forget that by investing in a shooting pad, you’re also going to stop your $200 stick from getting damaged by concrete and other rough surfaces you may be practicing on.
These are just some ways for you to improve your game on the ice.