Do you want to get better at hockey fast? Do you want to improve your game in the next few months, so you can join the best hockey league in the world? Maybe you’re an experienced player who’s looking for ways to better their fame on the ice, or perhaps you’re a complete beginner who just wants to give it a try. If so, then this article is for you.
The Importance Of Drills
Hockey is a fast-paced sport that requires quick reflexes and an ability to read the play closely. Getting better at hockey means practicing and improving your skills systematically, and one of the best ways to do that is through drills. Drills are important because they allow you to practice and master specific skills while keeping the fun of the game alive.
Hockey is a team sport where success is largely dependent on working as a unit, so practicing in teams is crucial if you want to succeed. That is why you will often find people who play hockey competitively in the offseason as a way to work on their teamwork, communication, and individual skills simultaneously. In addition, it is widely accepted that practicing with a puck on the ice will improve your skating skills and overall puck handling greatly.
For those reasons, having drills is an important part of any hockey player’s offseason program.
Types Of Drills
There are three basic types of drills that you will find valuable as a hockey player: shooting, passing, and puck handling drills. While it is important to practice all three of these areas regularly, depending on your level of expertise you may specialize in certain areas and focus on developing your specific skills further. For example, if you are a beginner then handling drills may be all you need to improve your game quickly and efficiently if you want to become a decent hockey player.
The first and most fundamental rule of any hockey drill is to work on your weaker side first. This means that if you are right-handed then you will start with your right hand during shooting drills. Similarly, if you are left-handed then you will start with your left hand. The reason for this is that it is easier to correct your weaker side first before moving on to your stronger side. This also makes the drills more fun as you are constantly testing and improving your abilities, rather than simply practicing on a stationary position. For example, if you are right-handed and have a tight-knit team then it may be beneficial to start each drill with the right player passing the puck to the next person on the line, and so on, until it reaches the other team’s end.
Shooting drills are a great way to practice your hockey skills and get used to playing against the rush. This type of drill requires you to skate quickly and accurately toward a target while at the same time being aware of your surroundings, the other team, and the goalie. While most people think of shooting when it comes to hockey, these drills can be done with a hockey stick or even a ball. The idea is to hit the target with either a ball or a stick, depending on the level of complexity you are attaining, in order to improve your accuracy and dependability. This is a great drill to do with your goalie coach or a training partner, as you can practice making quick adjustments to your shots while working on your confidence and stability.
Puck Handling Drills
The puck is an important part of the game, as it is the only object other than the players that are on the ice when play is committed to. It is therefore vital that you develop the ability to handle the puck effectively both on offense and defense. The main purpose of puck handling drills is to improve your overall puck handling skill, while working on your speed, trajectory, and agility. There are several different types of puck handling drills you can do, but all of them work on the same basic principles:
- Shoot the puck towards the goal
- Protect the puck on the ice
- Maintain control of the puck
- Transport the puck properly
- Score a goal when you get the puck into the net
- Do all of the above accurately and in a timely manner
- Be careful not to overuse the puck
- Practice with a variety of pucks
Most hockey players, regardless of their experience, will do everything they can to increase their agility, speed, and maneuverability, and this is exactly what you should be working on during these types of drills. Taking time out of your training schedule to do these types of drills is crucial if you want to become the best hockey player you can be, so do not underestimate their importance.
Improving your passing skills is a crucial part of getting better at hockey, as it allows you to orchestrate the play on the ice and set up your team’s offense or defense. When it comes to passing drills, the basic principle is the same as with shooting or puck handling drills: you will have a target (usually a partner or a dummy) and you will pass the puck to that person, who will then take a shot or make a move toward the net. When you pass the puck, you should be thinking about three things:
- Where do you want the puck to go (i.e. the target)
- How fast do you want the other team to be able to respond (i.e. increase or decrease the pitch of the drill, depending on your speed)
- Where do you want to be when you pass the puck (i.e. behind the net, in front of the net, or between the dots on the ice)
As with all other areas of your game, specialization is valuable when it comes to passing drills. If you want to focus on developing your outlet passes then you can do that, but if you are looking to become a great playmaker then you will need to expand your horizons and do some research on the best techniques for creating plays.
One of the best things about having team-based drills is that they allow you to work on your strengths as a unit, rather than individually. While it is important to work on your strengths and skills individually, doing so in a vacuum will not help you improve your overall game. That is why you need to get teammates involved in your drills, so you can make the most of their strengths and work on your weaknesses together, as a team.
Having a scrimmage once or twice a week is a great way to do this. You can pick a partner from the same team to work with and adjust your techniques and strategies based on how the other person performed during the drill. Scrimmages are a great way to identify potential strengths and weaknesses in your team and how they can best work together, as well as allowing you to practice with a variety of players.
Consult With A Physician
Even the most avid hockey players need to take health precautions occasionally, so it is important that you get the all-clear from a physician before you start training again. When it comes to sports injuries, there are three basic things you need to do in order to get back on the ice as soon as possible:
- Remove the injured area from play
- Find a suitable physician to clear you to play
- Take pain medication as prescribed
Depending on the severity of the injury you may need to wait a few days to a week to get back on the ice. During this time, you have two options: