The FASTEST way to fix your speed on the ice
If you had to pick the one ingredient that would help you be a better hockey player even if nothing else changed, most of you would say ‘speed’. In fact I am sure I have never met a goalie or skater who replied to the question “What do you need to do to be better on the ice?” without mentioning something related to speed.
So our off-season hockey training program dedicates a lot of time to the pursuit of speed.
Before getting into the FASTEST way to fix your speed, let’s look at the fastest skaters and the fastest runners on the planet. Picture them in your head. Picture them at top speed charging down the ice or track.
What do you notice?
- they are strong, you can see the sprinter’s muscles and the fastest skaters are the same, they are just buried under their equipment.
- they are efficient with their movement – they move with efficient technique
Do you remember when John Tavares was drafted to the Island and he had a good first year but everyone had something to say about his speed? The speed it takes to be a good junior hockey player is completely different from the speed it takes to be a good pro player.
Do you remember what John did?
He worked out you say? Well yeah, he worked out, but that was not new to him, he had been working out during the off-season before. He probably did change some things and as he matured was able to move more weight so that definitely had an impact. But that is not what I am thinking of.
He worked on his skating. He got on the ice with a skating expert (figure skating champ Barbara Underhill as a matter of fact) and practiced his skill. He became more efficient.
I am not sure how ‘being on the ice’ during the hockey off-season has become taboo. I definitely don’t want players on the ice practicing and playing games like it is the in-season.
I want younger players to be out playing different sports during the summer and developing athleticism. But there is nothing wrong with getting on the ice 1-2 times per week for 45-minutes to work on skating skill and speed. It will not hurt you and if you need to be faster on the ice, then you better get on the ice while you are getting faster.
Do you think a soccer player who needs to be faster to the ball, spend his off-season skating or riding the bike to avoid running?
Not an excuse for a bagger…
Just make sure you find an instructor who really knows how to teach the skill of skating, some like to use it as a good excuse for a bag skate and that is not the purpose in this instance. Find someone who will help you with your technique, using your edges and getting low in your legs so you can use the power you are building in the gym when you get on the ice.
Naturally, you can still train speed as part of your off-ice hockey training program, we do that all the time – in case you missed hit, here is the exact off-ice speed workout our HockeyStrong athletes did a few weeks ago, but if you need to be a better skater, you better be fine-tuning your skating skill.