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Off Ice Hockey Training Helping Kids Reach Their Potential

What has hockey training done for the professional sport? Lower level leagues are helping players train for the best hockey leagues in the world and now we're starting to see the fruits of their labor.

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Off-Ice Training: What It’s Done for the Game of Hockey

If you play or have played hockey, and depending on your age and where you grew up, you have likely noticed that today’s younger players are much more dedicated to the game of hockey and specifically to year-round training regimens. Players (and this includes kids playing in lower level leagues) now work at their game during the off-season, mostly by attending hockey camps and clinics, but also by working on their own performing hockey dryland training to improve their general athleticism and conditioning.

One of the major benefits of this off-season dryland hockey training, aside from the improved physical condition, is the ease and low cost factor to the training. With equipment costs, travel, and ice time fees all showing no sign of coming down in price, providing a low cost avenue for hockey training can be a real boon for players and for parents.

Assuming you have access to some sneakers, shorts, a t-shirt and some open space, anyone can supplement their on-ice training regimen with relatively little effort and expense.  A quick internet search can offer several excellent websites, full of tips and hints on hockey dryland training. There are also other websites, not specific to hockey, that offer dryland training techniques for athletes. Most of the techniques shown will be doable by a person dressed in workout clothes, but you can also add an element of difficulty by using devices like parachutes, plyometric bands and weight vests.

Training aids like the aforementioned weight vest add extra weight to the athlete, thus increasing the effort needed to conduct the conditioning exercises and consequently improving both the level of fitness achieved and the speed at which it is achieved. The benefits are concentrated in an athlete’s stamina, core power and leg strength, each of which is an aspect of physicality absolutely essential to the success of any hockey player.

Looking at each individual aspect of improvement offered, we see that the weight vest improves speed essentially by tricking your body and your muscles into believing that you are heavier than you actually are. By tricking your muscles to believe in the increased weight, the muscles will be unaware when you take the weight vest off, giving you a quicker first step and a higher top speed since the muscles are accustomed to propelling a heavier body.

 The same essential principals hold true for the legs. Since your leg muscles are working harder to carry the extra 12 (or 6) pounds, they are able to improve your quickness and speed.

Moving on to the benefits to the core and the legs, the weight vest provides resistance to the core while the rest of your body , specifically the limbs, are working on either agility exercises or weight lifting. By providing the extra resistance to the core, you are able to build up strength in all areas of your body.

On a cautionary note, it is important that you realize you are carrying more weight when working with the weight vest. Be sure to start with a few simple movements and exercises before starting strenuous workouts. The added weight can cause slower reaction times as well as different movements in your body, which can lead to injuries.

The weight vest, which looks something like a small version of a bullet-proof vest, offers a close fit so as to not interfere with your workout. The precise fit allows you to use the weight vest when running, jumping or even when practicing on-ice drills. Made of a durable and washable fabric, the weight vest tips the scales at 12 pounds (6 pounds in the women/youth version).

 

 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Hockey Player at the Collegiate Level. Played over 20 years of organized hockey.



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