Great Slide Board Workouts… Even if You Don’t Play Hockey!

If you’re reading this article, you’ve likely got a friend or family member who plays hockey and owns
one of HockeyShot’s Slide Boards. You may have admired how agile they are, or the muscle tone
they’ve developed on their legs since they bought it. In any case, HS Slide Boards provide hours of
fun and fitness for any athlete to enjoy.



Here are five exercise routines you can do with any of our Slide Boards, suited for any lifestyle. Pull
on your booties and get ready to sweat. If you’d like some help with these, click on the various links
throughout the article to see a YouTube video from Bench Boss, Jeremy Rupke. The “How to
Hockey” and “The Hockey Movement” marvel is well-known for helping customers get all that they
need out of their training, so allow him to demonstrate:

1. Speed Skater/ Dab Slide

If you’ve watched speed skating during the Olympics or World Championships, or if you know the
Dab pose, you’ll pick this drill up quickly. Start off on the Slide Board with one foot flush against a
bumper and the other foot on the Slide Board runway. Push off across the slippery surface, bend
your knees slightly, and glide until the inside foot ends up against the other bumper. Sway your arms
conservatively as if you were skating. If you have a medicine ball, you can carry that and sway it
towards the opposite bumper as you slide.

Hardcore Advanced Drill:

While you glide, swing your arms until the inside arm ends up bent under your neck, and extend your outward arm in an upward angle. Maybe pretend you’re Batman, pulling up his cape as you glide. This will help you balance and have a few laughs. Repeat this movement as you glide back and forth across the Slide Board. Push off with more force and speed as you build confidence and balance. You have about eight to ten feet to cover from bumper to bumper, so you can build some good momentum.

2. Mountain Climbers

For this move, you can place your hands on the floor (or on the bumper) at one end of the Slide Board. Crouch over the bumper, and pretend you are a sprinter setting up in the starting blocks. Then, rise, up on your toes and start sliding each foot back and forward alternately, ending in a full leg extension each time. You wouldn’t make a great mountain climber doing this, but you’d get a good workout.

Hardcore Advanced Drill:

Push both feet out, then pull them in at the same time. Feel the burn in your core and you’ll know you’re doing it right.

3. The Tantrum Drill

If you have ever taken a four-year-old child to a toy store and didn’t buy them everything in sight, you may have seen them perform this drill. Lie flat on the Slide Board, with your arms spread out to your sides. Next, draw your feet towards your butt, and push your pelvis skyward. Then, slide back to the starting position. Repeat multiple times for a good workout. The further apart your arms, the more work it will be. Try one legged drills for more exercise.

Hardcore Advanced Drill:

Take your child (hopefully they’re grown up now) and your Slide Board to that same toy store. Do the drill as described above, while shouting, “I want action figures! I want a new bike!” Feel free to substitute the script with Hockeyshot products.

4. Gravity Challenged Pullups

Lie face down on the Slide Board, and grip the bumper as if it were a chin up bar. Point your toes and keep your forearms against the floor as you prop yourself parallel to the floor. Simulate a pull-up as you slide up and down as if you were doing a natural pull-up. The further out you push before pulling up, the harder it gets.

Hardcore Advanced Drill:

Have someone place a cat, small dog or human being on your back. Make sure you capture their facial expression as you complete the drill. Ensure the pet is declawed before trying this.

5. Preacher Reverse One Legged Lunges

For this drill stand about midway up the Slide Board, with your arms bent, and almost in a prayer position. Slide a foot slowly backwards, with your leg slightly bent as far as you are comfortable while maintaining balance. Alternate legs and do as many reps as you are able.

Hardcore Advanced Drill:

If you aren’t married, do this drill in front of your girlfriend or boyfriend with a ring box in your hand. Their love for you will dictate how hardcore this drill is.

Remember, these exercise routines are a great way to make the best of your Slide Board Pro, or if your sibling or roommate has one in your home. You will improve your balance, agility, muscle tone and knowledge of how much you need to vacuum your home.

Hockey Skills: 5 Exercise Regimens to Elevate Your Game

To excel in a fast, endurance-testing game like hockey, you need to adopt and stick to a comprehensive exercise routine. Activities like couch luge, TV-to-fridge sprints and laundry hamper 3-point shooting are fun, but they really won’t improve your hockey game. You need to schedule time to:

  1. Build strength in key muscle groups
  2. Increase your aerobic fitness so you can play hard, even in overtime
  3. Improve your balance and stability
  4. Enhance your ability to skate hard from a stand-still
  5. Condition your body to resist injury and heal from it

dryland-training-sklz

Though it may seem like a tall order to get all of this knowledge from a single article, you’ll find links to other resources where you can find detailed instructions on how to complete these exercises. Some of these resources are right here on the HockeyShot website, others are from trusted sources. Grab a bottle of water and make sure you’re wearing your workout gear, because we’re about to take you through your paces.

1. Hockey Strength Training

To skate fast, shoot hard and evade the opposing team, you need to build strength and flexibility in your shoulders, arms, chest, abs, core, legs and glutes. You also need to build emotional and mental strength, but we’ve saved that for another article. You’re probably tired already since I’ve mentioned just about every muscle group, but hockey’s that kind of game. Make sure you start with a good warm up, including:

  • Arm swings and circles
  • Trunk rotations, twists and stretches
  • Walking lunges, prisoner squats and leg swings
  • Burpees and stride jumps
  • Medicine ball tosses and cross crawls

If your heart skipped a beat when you read prisoner squats, don’t worry. They are an excellent way to warm up your quads before strength conditioning. There are video demonstrations of these exercises available at the “warm up” link above.

To actually build strength and explosive power, you’ll want to follow a plyometric exercise routine and use free weights and resistance equipment. In many cases, you can use everyday objects around your home, at school or even at the office.

There are many different exercises and devices to build a stronger shot, stronger skating strides and stronger arm strength with dumbbells for building up stick flexion, grip strength for stick control and for goalies, stronger quads for those acrobatic stops in the crease.

2. Aerobic Fitness

Keeping your heart and lungs fit for the hockey season doesn’t necessarily require a gym membership or an expensive treadmill in your home. Find a public building like a football stadium with a set of stairs you can run at your own pace. Take up jogging, ride your sister’s bike, or take a hike in the forest when your sister finds out you’ve been riding her bike.



Building up respiratory and circulatory health is important for hockey fitness, and variety keeps you engaged. Former Toronto Maple Leaf’s forward Gary Roberts now trains pros like Connor McDavid and Steven Stamkos. In an article in the Toronto Star, Gary said: “it’s important to have variety in your workout, to eat right while being consistent with scheduling. A good mix of sprints and endurance running is good for hockey agility, speed and resilience for extended shifts.”

3. Balance & Stability

When you are streaking down the ice as fast as Gary Roberts could back in the day, keeping on your blades requires excellent balance and stability. As kids grow into adolescence and adulthood, maintaining balance in their growing body and hormone-pumping brain requires a lot of practice. On the ice, players can work on edge training and shooting the duck (gliding on one foot) but off-ice they can do single-leg step ups and Russian dead lifts.

You’ll find many balance, edgework and stability exercises from our friend Jeremy Rupke on his coaches page.

4. Skating from a Standstill or a Turn

Whether you are taking a penalty shot, or a reacting to the drop of the puck at center ice, building the ability to skate fast from a standstill is important for fast acceleration. Just like you need a powerful engine with lots of horsepower for a car to go from 0-60 MPH quickly, players need a strong heart and leg muscles to be able burst into a fast skate. Using equipment like the Slide Board Pro can build the quads and calf muscles needed to skate hard and fast, both going straight or changing directions.

slide-board-hockey-training

5. Avoiding, Preventing & Healing Injuries

There are many precautions hockey players can take, exercises they can do, and lifestyle habits they can adopt to prevent injury, or heal from it faster if it happens. They include:

  • Keeping your head up on the ice, and generally exercising safely, at your own pace
  • Ensuring you are hydrated, rested and following a nutrition plan
  • Wearing protective equipment and exercising caution when on synthetic ice, slide boards or practicing slap shots.
  • Protect others with a hockey tarp or backstop.
  • Seeing a physician for or a fitness trainer to get an assessment of your baseline fitness, existing injuries and setting realistic goals/workout regimens

Healing from minor injuries can be helped by rest, heating or cooling pads, and doctor-prescribed medication. Having an RMT, or your significant other massage your back to comfort are both good options (return the favor).

There are many ways a comprehensive exercise program can help you be a better hockey player, a better teammate and a healthier person overall. If you need help finding hockey fitness equipment or training tips to help you build your hockey skills, contact our knowledgeable experts today: customersupport@hockeyshot.com

Taking Your Skills Beyond the Next Level!

With Professional Instructor, Dan Ninkovich

Off-season training is an absolute must to make it to the next level. Like most sports, rigorous training and the development of fundamental skills are becoming the norm with the influx of competition both at a national and international level. Dan Ninkovich is one of the leaders in competitive, high-end training for not only the up and coming prospects of tomorrow in the CHL and NCAA (Division 1), but at the NHL level as will with the likes of John Tavares, Phil Kessel, and many more. Beyond The Next Level training is designed with Ninkovich’s expertise.

Based in Oakville, Ontario, BTNL caters to the serious-minded players wanting to get to the next level and maximize their potential. Providing sport-specific motions in strength training and drills, along with professional rehabilitation for the body’s muscles combine for a comprehensive and personalized regiment that hockey players require. With his vast experience and professional accolades, Ninkovich is one of the most qualified trainers on the globe specifically for hockey players. He combines demanding training with a focus on the very motions players use in game-time situations. The science is clear and practical: using core strength exercises and drills with in-game motions to build on dexterity and power.

Ninkovich also incorporates HockeyShot products within most of the training. HockeyShot is undeniably the complimentary piece to many of Ninkovich’s training since they’re industry-leading products gives players the proper on and off-ice training needed. Whether for warm-ups or demanding training, HockeyShot has the product.

Check out some of the videos below to see a glimpse of CHL and NCAA players integrating HS in their training:

Here, Jesse Barwell is using the HS Extreme Dangler on the ice for warming up. This piece can be used on and off the ice as well as the HockeyShot Synthetic Ice. A great product for improving stickhandling speed and accuracy!



This OHL player shows us the importance of footwork and stamina in the one-handed focus drill using the HS Extreme Dangler and Puck. He has adjusted the moveable center legs to provide a wider gap, while using evenly spaced sticks to keep his footwork honest. The variety of drills players can utilize with the Dangler is endless!



This NCAA Division 1 Goalie is using the HS Slide Board Pro to develop in-game motions and timing from post-to-post. Goaltending is demanding in angling, precision and the constancy of up-and-down movements, so working on these in-game motions is essential to build on stamina.





Using Grip Strength to Develop Your Shot

The funny thing about a shot is that there is no guaranteed way you can look at a player and know right away if he has a hard shot or not.

Sure, if he looks pretty muscular you can start to think he might have a howitzer.

On the other hand, if a player is super skinny you can get the idea that he/she is unlikely to have a hard shot.

But the thing is, you just don’t know. Sometimes those big guys have pretty standard shots, and there are plenty of smaller guys out there on the ice that have an absolute rocket of a shot. I’m sure a few are already coming to mind for you right now.

hockey shot training area

A lot of this comes down to technique (of course), and hand grip strength.

Those guys who appear small but have an excellent shot normally have crushing grip strength. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a strength coach and nutrition specialist and have worked with a lot of professional athletes in my career. Last summer, I was running a crew of both NFL and NHL players through some offseason training in California and was blown away by one player’s grip strength.

This guy is a well-known name in the hockey world and from a “gym strength” perspective, you could say he was pretty average. Average on the bench, squat, deadlifts, row, etc. Keep in mind average for a pro-athlete is a different definition of average, but, what blew me away was two things:

  1. How hard his shot was
  2. How his grip strength far exceeded every other hockey player there, and even every single one of the NFL players there who were 250lbs+

That was incredible. I have already written extensively about the mechanics of grip strength and how that can improve your hockey shot power in several blog posts, spoken about it in some YouTube videos, and even made a full hockey specific program around strengthening your grip to create massive increases in shot power. One summer, we had a player contact us that he improved his shot power 10mph by the end of his offseason.

But, even with all the work I had done in this area this was the craziest example that I had seen of it. Studying something and seeing it work are two dramatically different areas for sports development. A geek in a lab can tell you a lot about muscle, but a well experienced coach knows what really works and what really doesn’t.

Today, I want to give you a free hand grip workout that is going to translate into you having a harder shot. It will be run in two different complexes:

  • Complex 1 will be for your hand specific strength.
  • Complex 2 will be for your forearm specific strength.

Complex 1

  • A1: Plate pinchers x 20secs
  • A2: Hex DB holds x 20secs
  • A3: BB hold x 20secs
  • Rest 2mins, repeat circuit 3 times.

Complex 2

  • B1: EZ bar levering x 6-8 reps per hand
  • B2: Behind the back BB wrist curls x 6-8
  • B3: Pronated grip seated BB wrist curls x 6-8
  • Rest 2mins, repeat circuit 3 times.

You can perform this workout 2-3 days per week, I recommend performing it at the end of your workouts as a “finisher” due to the fact that having a burnt-out grip would affect all your other lifts if you did it first. You might have to get your daughter to help you open jars the day after this one.

shooting pad

But, any good coach and any good player knows that performance feedback is a must to make sure you know that what you are doing is having a positive impact on your performance, which is why I recommend picking up the HockeyShot Professional Shooting Pad and the HockeyShot Extreme Hockey Radar to both practice and measure your shooting power this offseason. Without data you’re just hoping your training is working, with these tools you can take the guesswork out of your offseason and become a better hockey player for it.

What Is Synthetic Ice & What Are the Advantages

If you are a coach, avid hockey player or community center manager, you are fortunate enough to be investigating artificial ice when the product is better than it ever has been! Imagine the floor of your basement, garage, or a fitness room covered in a pure white material. It is made of interlocking panels which are made of a material called VHMW-PE (Very High Molecular Weight Polyethylene). Read and remember that well, there will be a quiz later!

kids shooting on synthetic ice

If you are looking for other options, our Dryland Flooring Tiles work quite well for hockey practice. You can drive on it, but you can’t skate on it. It is slick though, so you can simulate skating when you wear socks or special booties. There are other Synthetic Ice products on the market, but our customers, partners and pro athletes who have tried it tell us our product delivers greater value and a greater skating experience. If you want to become a better hockey player, HockeyShot has you covered.

Here’s how our Synthetic Ice conversations often go…

You: “Great. Pure white flooring tiles. I can just imagine all the scratches, stains and bumps in it. My storage barn isn’t exactly level either.”

HS: “Actually, our Extreme Glide Synthetic Ice is very resilient to skate blades, scuffs and scratches. It is self-lubricating, so you don’t have to wax the floor, or use liquid chemicals to condition it like some other artificial ice surfaces.”

You: “Is it even close to the smoothness and slipperiness of ice? Or will I feel like I’m skating through beach sand or oatmeal?”

HS: “Our Ice That Doesn’t Melt is made with the best (technical details alert) coefficient levels of friction on the market. The hardest part of skating on it is the takeoff, once in motion, it feels like the real thing! Our Synthetic Ice has been tested at 10-15% more friction than natural ice. The Ottawa Senators, one of only eight teams to make it to the second round of the 2017 NHL playoffs use it. EA Sports is a video game company. They use it for when they want to study how real hockey players play the game!

You: “You said the surface is made of interlocking panels. Won’t my skates, or my team’s’ skates rip open the tiles at the seams?”

HS: “Nope! Our Dovetail interlocking panels stay locked tight, far better than other artificial ice products on the market with spline or square edge connections. Once you get a few skate marks on the ice you can’t even tell where the seams are.”

You: “My daughter and I are hockey players, but my son and wife are into figure skating. Can they use it to practice their double loops and camel spins?”

HS: “Absolutely! Skaters of all levels can use the Extreme Glide Synthetic Ice. For beginners though, we recommend they wear a helmet and protective gear like elbow and shin pads. Our materials are between ⅜ and ¾ of an inch, but between the slipperiness of the surface and the hardness of the ground beneath it, safety precautions are recommended just like on natural ice. They can skate backwards, forwards, and make hard stops. We do recommend not using the picks on figure skates to maximize the longevity of your synthetic ice setup.”

passing on synthetic ice

You: “OK, so I imagine you can take a shot on Synthetic Ice, and make a pass. But is it possible to stickhandle? And if I put this outside, will it be damaged from the sun or weather?”

HS: “You can definitely stickhandle like you do on ice. You should check out our YouTube video. It will amaze you what you can do. Our Synthetic Ice is denser than other products on the market, and for the most part, all you have to do to maintain it is sweep/ vacuum it occasionally to keep sand and other materials off it. You could even use a pressure washer and it wouldn’t damage your panels. Plus, stay stress-free if you install your synthetic ice panels outside because our panel is UV protected.”

You: “How long will the artificial ice last? We have a lot of skaters in the family.”

HS: “Usually our product will last between seven and ten years, per side! That’s right, you can use both sides of the panels, and they are quite resilient over the long term. Depending on frequency of use, and the number of skaters that use it of course.”

You: “What if I have to trim some of the panels for installation? Do I need to hire a pro, or buy special tools for that? I’m not really good with ceramic tiles or hardwood flooring. Could I install this with my brother? He’s a little handier than I am, but not much.”

HS: “Yes, you can install our Synthetic Ice product quite easily. If you have a rubber mallet, a measuring tape and a skill saw, you can install HockeyShot Synthetic Ice easier and faster than you might think. We provide you with clear instructions, and our interlocking tabs makes it easy. If you check out the HockeyShot web page, you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions, videos, pricing guide, and information about our Incentive Program promotion.”

You: “Sounds great! Thanks for all the information. I can’t wait to install Synthetic Ice in my storage barn. My family and friends will love it. Let’s get started.”

The Cost of Building a Synthetic Ice Rink

Do you want to set up a practice surface in your basement for hockey workouts year long, or are you tired of mowing your back lawn? A synthetic ice rink can be an excellent way to organize a great environment for skating practice or for keeping your hockey skills sharp when you can’t book ice time at your local rink.

You might be skeptical of buying and installing Synthetic Ice, but if you compare these alternatives, the price will seem a lot more affordable!

Consider the cost of:

  • Renting an ice surface
  • The time required to build, maintain and take apart a backyard rink in the winter
  • Playing roller hockey in an organized league
  • Not playing hockey at all, and playing golf (with players eliminated from the playoffs)
  • Getting an expensive gym membership and personal trainer
  • Sitting on a lawn chair all off-season, on the couch between games and practices, and being cut from competitive play

In all seriousness though, there are many options to purchase the materials you need to build a Synthetic Ice practice surface. There are variables, and associated costs for:

  • Total synthetic ice rink area, typical size ranges from 8’ x 20’ and 20’ x 40’
  • Synthetic Ice thickness between ⅜ of an inch and ¾ of an inch, depending on whether the rink is going to be set up in a residential or commercial setting
  • Whether you are looking for a Synthetic Ice rink you can use skates on, or Dryland Flooring Tiles which you would use with your sneakers and frictionless booties.

building a tile ice rink

With these different options, you can purchase the materials for a Synthetic Ice rink for prices starting at $1,230 (CAD) for an 8’ x 20’ surface which is ⅜ of an inch thick to $6,675 (CAD) for a ½ inch thick, 20’ x 40’ surface. The HockeyShot team wants to help as many of our customers as possible to elevate their game with Synthetic Ice that we offer an Incentive Program (Earn 5% Back) to customers which enables you to get free products from HockeyShot to get even more value for your Synthetic Ice investment.

Since our Extreme Glide Synthetic Ice lasts on average 15-20 years, we know you will need lots of training products to keep active!

Dryland Flooring Tiles – Allstar ★ Edition

If Synthetic Ice surfaces are out of your budget range, or if you are interested in an indoor/ outdoor surface which can be assembled, disassembled and reassembled with ease – you should check out: HockeyShot’s Dryland Flooring Tiles. Not everyone can monopolize their basement for hockey practice, or skating practice for Elvis Stojko wannabes. Dryland Flooring Tiles range in price between $940 CAD for a 8’ x 20’ and $4,420 CAD for a 20’ x 40’ space.

If you are looking to lay down tiles in your garage where you park your car, or in a basement where people will be walking on it, these Dryland Flooring Tiles are extremely durable and highly resistant. No need to pay for a garage extension, and these tiles are easy to clip together and maintain inside or outside (weather resistant and UV protected).





Is Synthetic Ice Worth the Price?

Jeremy Rupke from How To Hockey & The Hockey Movement says Extreme Glide Synthetic Ice is “awesome” for stickhandling, shooting and passing and great for skating on. You can use both sides of HockeyShot’s Synthetic Ice, it’s self-lubricating, and lasts between six and ten years, depending on frequency and severity of use. Competing products are often inferior and require special lubrication liquid, the material shreds with use, and dulls skate blades faster.

in home synthetic ice rink

Coaches, community centers and other commercial organizations can purchase the thicker grade synthetic ice for heavier use. Spreading the cost to more people can help to purchase larger surfaces with thicker density, especially where arenas have abundant amounts of floor area.

Ready for an off-ice hockey workout that is as close to on-ice as you can get without the cold temperatures? Check out our website or contact us for a custom quote.

You won’t regret purchasing The Ice That Doesn’t Melt!

How to play hockey, and have fun doing it

Learning how to play hockey well is a great way to learn how to succeed at life. Some of the lessons hockey teaches kids and even adults include:

  • Teamwork
  • Confidence
  • Being gracious in defeat and humble in victory
  • Discipline
  • Trust
  • Goal setting (and achievement)

If you are a parent, or a coach helping children or young adults learn how to play the game, it’s important to keep these important lessons in mind. Building skills like skating, passing, shooting and stickhandling is a great way to reach all these goals.

Here are seven fundamental areas of the game of hockey which will make for great players, and awesome people.

1. The Ice Surface

Just like how Daniel had to learn to paint a fence and wax a car before he became the Karate Kid, a hockey player needs to know the ice surface before they can become a competent player. Most rinks in North America follow NHL specifications of 200 feet × 85 feet and a corner radius of 28 feet. It’s got Zamboni doors on one end, penalty boxes on one side, and team benches on the opposing side. The boards are about 40-48 inches high, and topped on most of the perimeter (except for in front of the player benches) by panes of glass.

aireal view of outdoor rink

There are several lines separating the zones on the ice surface:

  • The center red line, which splits the rink in half
  • Blue lines which mark each team’s end, and the neutral zone between the red and blue lines. The blue lines are 25 feet from the centerline, making the neutral zone 50 feet deep.
  • The face-off circles, one at centre ice for faceoffs (more on that soon) at the beginning of each game, period and after goals. There are four other face off circles, two in each end to the left, right and in front of the goal nets
  • Four face-off dots in the neutral zone for when players are offside (you’ll read about that too) and/or play is stopped in the neutral zone for a penalty

You’ll often see colorful team logos or corporate advertising on the ice. When a player scores three goals, you will often see hats float to the ice from adoring fans.

2. Zones and Creases

You’ve already read about the neutral zone. The defensive zone is the area within the blue line back to the goal and beyond to the end boards, at each end of the rink. Goal nets are 4 feet tall x 6 feet wide (between the goal posts). The crease, (meaning the painted ice area immediately in front of the goal net) is 6 feet in diameter. Players are typically not supposed to enter the crease unless they are forced in by another player. The crease is meant to be a safe place (from players not slapshots) for goalies to play. The area immediately behind the net is called the trapezoid.

The goal lines (which cross the crease and when a puck crosses them, a goal is official) are 64 feet from the blue lines, and 11 feet from the end boards.

3. Player Roles

There are five active players on the ice at any given time, and each team can have as many as twenty players. The NHL allows as many as 23 players on each roster, and 16 players on the bench and ice combined. There are six players on the ice per team at any given time.

  • Three forward offensive players, including a Center (who handles faceoffs) and Left Wing and Right Wing players. Offensive forwards play defensively when required. Their responsibility is to get the puck up the ice, deep into the opposing team’s zone.
  • Two defensive players, who assist forwards in keeping the puck out of their end during the game, and work to keep the puck in their opponent’s end during the game. If they have a clear shot at the goal, they can take a shot and try to score, though they often move the puck to a forward, who are usually closer to the goal, and more likely to put the puck behind the person in the next bullet.
  • The goaltender, otherwise knowns as the goalie, netminder and other fond nicknames. They keep the puck out of the net, using their blocker glove, catching glove, stick, goalie leg pads, mask, chest or any part of the body (hopefully) protected by padding or hard plastic. Common target areas which forwards often snipe for are between a goalie’s legs (known as the 5-hole), as well as at the four corners of the goal net.

player-roles

Most of these players (except for the goalie) rotate on and off the ice with other sets of players who play similar roles. Each time period on the ice is called a “shift”, which varies in time between about forty seconds and two minutes. Coaches usually delegate when players are on and off the ice.

4. Rules and Penalties

One of the ways hockey generates character is by having a set of rules, and penalizing players who break those rules. The rules forbid actions like the following infractions which generally result in a player sitting in the penalty box for two – four minutes, depending on the severity.

  • Tripping a player with your hockey stick by hooking a skate leg with the blade of the stick
  • Hooking, which is slowing a player by placing the blade of your stick against an opposing player’s torso or arm.
  • High sticking is raising your stick above an opponent’s shoulders and striking their head, neck or shoulder area. If the player gets cut and draws blood the penalty doubles to four minutes. True story.
  • Cross checking is when a player holds their stick at the bottom of the shaft and at the knob end, and they push an opposing player to move them off the puck or just to be mean.
  • Delay of game, such as purposely flipping the puck over the glass, and into the bleachers during game time. Doing so before a game, to a child or attractive fan doesn’t incur a penalty. That only incurs smiles.
  • Fighting with opposing players can carry a penalty anywhere from five minutes to a full game misconduct or more, based on referee and/or a league executive’s discretion.
  • Boarding is when a player checks another player from behind into the boards, which can be dangerous and end in concussion or further injury.

Other penalties occur, such as knee on knee contact, too many players on the ice and unsportsmanlike conduct, which don’t happen as often. Some of these penalties incur more severe penalties or suspensions, depending on the level of play, and age of players in the amateur or professional tier of the game.

Penalty shots sometimes are delegated to a player who is unfairly removed from their attempt to score. Penalty shots offer a player a chance to challenge the goalie, one-on-one without interference from other forwards or defensive players. Penalties result in one of the five players outside the net to be removed from play, which often causes an unbalanced ratio of players, known as a power play (five players vs four). Teams that score goals when they have a player in the penalty box get a “shorthanded goal” which is much more impressive. Power play goals happen when the team with more players takes advantage of that situation and buries the puck in the net while the penalized player feels like a complete dummy.

5. Shooting, Stickhandling, Passing and Blocking the Puck

Moving the puck up and down the ice, and keeping it out of the ice takes some skillful stick work, weight transfer and hand-eye co-ordination. Shooting the puck occurs in either a slapshot, wristshot or snapshot. There are many techniques involved in shooting the puck, including building up potential energy in the stick and creating optimum shot velocity. We have many tips from experts and training equipment to help players make great shots at all experience levels. Scoring a goal, as indicated above, is getting the puck into the net behind the goalie.

shooting on synthetic ice

Stickhandling helps players to move the stick off the ice, while protecting it from opposing players, and creating confusion in a goaltender’s mind as to from which direction the puck will come from, and when the shot will take place. We’ve got many tips and tools for players to build their stickhandling. Passing the puck is how players move the puck to each other, vying to get the best possible angle and proximity to the net to score a goal. We’ve gathered stickhandling and passing tips and gear together to make things convenient.

Goalies need a whole set of specialized skills, practice gear and personality. We’ve gathered training tips and gear together under our Goalie section.

6. Mind, Body and Discipline

Hockey players need a healthy body to play their best game, and they need a sharp hockey mind. You can find some excellent advice and training aids to improve both by clicking on these links. Hockey players need strong muscles to skate quickly and explosively. They need aerobic stamina to perform well on the ice over a longer period. All these senses are important to hockey

  • Sight, to see the puck, other players and the net
  • Listening, for the whistle, teammates, referees and coaches.
  • Smell, to know when a sweaty defenseman is pursuing you on a breakaway
  • Touch, for the grip on the stick and the high fives when you score a goal
  • Taste, for the hot chocolate, hot dog or other celebratory food or beverage after a great game

7. Coaches and Referees

Taking direction and feedback from coaches, referees, senior players and parents is great practice for working with superiors and elders throughout life. Sometimes you just have to take a knee, swallow your pride and do what the coach tells you to win a game. Good practice for your future career.

hockey-referee

Hockeyshot’s goal is to help players at all levels to improve their skills, get more enjoyment from the game, and enhance their mental and physical fitness. Hockey is often called the “fastest game on Earth”. Improving your skills and reflexes for the game takes lots of practice, study and learning from your mistakes. We’ve got some great experts who know how to make improving your skills fun, and awesome gear to practice with.

Think we’ve missed something in our “How to Play Hockey” overview? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Instagram. We’ve probably got the advice on one of our other channels, or our editor will add it here soon.

Off-Ice Hockey Training Gear for Goalies – Useful During Summer & Year-Round

When you watch an elite hockey goalie like Braden Holtby from the Washington Capitals, Frederik Andersen of the Toronto Maple Leafs, or Carey Price from the Montreal Canadiens, you know those guys hone their skills all year long. Goaltender summer training – or any off-ice conditioning program – requires specialized equipment which can be used at home, or on the go.

If you are a goalkeeper during the season, there are three good reasons you want quality off-ice hockey training gear:

  1. You want to impress your friends, so they will train with you more often.
  2. It’s best to train with equipment which will keep you safe, and simulate an ice rink experience, while sharpening your skills in the off-season.
  3. You want your gear to last as long as possible, and stand up to wrist shots, slap shots and wicked backhanders.

Thinking of gearing up like Casey Jones from the Ninja Turtles and challenging local kids to a game of road hockey to enhance your skills? Think again! Strap on some real pads, and enhance your workouts with some of these awesome off-ice goalie training tools:

G1 Extreme Slide Board – Goaltender Model

At the beginning of most hockey games, goalies like to get comfortable in their crease by pushing back and forth between the posts in front of their net. Not only does it look cool, but it’s an effective way for goaltenders to enhance their technique at gliding across the crease to stop the puck. The G1 Extreme Slideboard – Goaltender Model, with its slippery surface, sliding booties, push off stoppers, rotating blocks and leg pad sleeves are a great way for goalies to train their side shuffles, butterfly poses and other puck control maneuvers.


goalie_slide_board

Goalies know that on a surface like concrete or asphalt, they are impeded by friction and fear of road rash. The Slideboard is a close simulation to rink ice, and is great to practice stacking the pads, cutting off a rushing forward or closing that five hole. Remember that the Slideboard is quite slippery, so use caution and protect your head in case of a fall. A few sessions on this equipment is sure to make you a better hockey player.

SKLZ Reaction Ball

Most off-season hockey training is pretty predictable. Your buddy takes a shot, and based on his or her foot alignment, body positioning and your knowledge of their habits, you can often telegraph where many shots will go. The SKLZ Reaction Ball makes off-ice goalie practice less predictable, and is sure to keep you on your toes.


sklz-reaction-ball

Looking like a cross between a molecular model and a stress ball, the SKLZ ball can be used like a game of handball against a wall, like a bouncing game of catch off the ground by taking advantage of the six “sides” of this bumpy ball. It’s no standard sphere, and the SKLZ ball is sure to improve your hand-eye coordination, reaction time and generate lots of laughs in the process.

RollerFly – Goalie Slide Plates

Are you a goalie that likes to rock n’ roll all night, and play hockey every day? RollerFly – Goalie Slide Plates look a little like legwear out of a 70’s KISS costume, but they, like the Extreme Slideboard, ease friction for off-ice practice. You can butterfly to stop a ball or puck, and the sturdy ball bearings on the Side Plates roll so you don’t wear your pads down to foamy leg lumps. You just strap the plates on the sides your pads, ensure you don’t have any puck-munching gaps and stand between the pipes.

RollerFly – Goalie Slide Plates are great for roller hockey or other off-ice training exercises.

Blocker Sleeve Kit

When you were a kid, did you play catch with a tennis ball and a Velcro baseball mitt? The Blocker Sleeve Kit is a similar idea, but with a goalie blocker and options for a “hook and loop” trapping surface and a traditional non-stick surface for faster action. Like the Reaction Ball, you can play with a friend, or solo against a wall. Great for improving hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, reflexes, skill and speed. Become a better hockey player one save at a time.

blocker-sleeve-kit

When you purchase the Blocker Sleeve Kit, make sure to pick up a set of balls for the best experience. You’ll have so much fun, you’ll want to allow your originals to drop to the ground and take more shots.

Slide Board Pro

As a goalie, you may not skate far beyond your crease too often, unless you dare to challenge a pesky forward, or need to revel in the accolades of the post-game “3-Star” selection. Yet skating ability, and the muscles the Slide Board Pro builds are great for building up the strength and skill necessary to excel as a goaltender. Great for practicing that important post-to-post shuffle-slide, or cutting off angles during a penalty shot.

Where the G1 Extreme Slide Board – Goaltender Model tends to be ideal for home, on a tennis court or in the garage, the Slide Board Pro can be used just about anywhere, like in a hotel room on vacation, during a slow church service or while waiting for an opening in the men’s room at a concert.

Off-Ice Hockey Training for Goalies is a great way to keep fit, stay sharp and ware off that off-season bloat from barbecues and beach beers. Many of the components from the goalie training tools mentioned above can be purchased separately. Use them safely, but you’re sure to have fun while you build up speed, skill and strength for next season.

If you need help finding the perfect goalie workout gear, you can use the chat function on our website, or contact us through the information on our web page found here.

The Grateful Hockey Player

The Grateful Hockey Player

What are you grateful for?

That might seem like a strange question to ask a high performing athlete, but the emotion of gratitude can help take your performance to the next level. We have seen performance shifts with some of the world’s leading athletes by adopting a grateful attitude.

Let me explain …

Research has linked the emotion of gratitude to better overall physical and mental health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression. Athletes are more satisfied with their teams, less likely to burn out and enjoy better well-being overall.

In my work with athletes, and in previous articles I have written, I highlight the importance of “enjoyment over achievement”. Making sure that enjoyment is at the forefront of performance in hockey with achievement following. The player who pursues achievement in hockey so diligently that they forget about one of the key purposes of the game, enjoyment and fun, can often end frustrated and miserable. The athlete who pursues enjoyment first, with a deep commitment to excellence and improvement is the athlete who lasts and achieves.

So why can focusing on gratitude be so beneficial to you as a hockey player?

Well consider that it is impossible to have two emotions at once. And, the same goes for thoughts for that matter – we can only handle one thought at a time. As an athlete, this is important for you to know. When you do feel negative emotions that limit your performance, you have the option of changing your state to a positive emotion – and gratitude is a great one to make the shift.

A few characteristics of grateful hockey players …

Grateful hockey players appreciate what they have

While some players complain, make excuses and don’t appreciate the fantastic opportunity of sport, grateful players are excited to have the opportunity to play a sport they love and all of the benefits that go with that sport (fitness, relationships, life lessons, joy of winning, the learning from losing and the opportunity to challenge and test your abilities).

hand shake

Grateful hockey players are grateful for competitors

Appreciate your competitors! Competitors can bring out the best in you and without them you do not have the opportunity to play and test your limits. Competitors give you an opportunity to bring out your best. In his autobiography, former Olympic track star Carl Lewis reports that he chose to embrace his competitors as essential in the quest for performance excellence rather than as enemies meant to be beaten down. Lewis won 10 Olympic medals, nine of them gold. You may look at your competitors as threats, but they are important to your development and you need them!

Grateful hockey players appreciate the journey and struggle

They know that there will be difficulties and hockey performance often goes in cycles – ups and downs. Grateful players learn from these struggles to always move forward. There is an appreciation in the value of their struggles and an ability to look at the big picture and know there are brighter days ahead.

Grateful hockey players “sweep the shed”

Like the great World Champion New Zealand All Blacks who tidy up their dressing room after every training and game, and believe humility is aligned with greatness, grateful players appreciate everyone around them. They appreciate everything they receive – there is no attitude of entitlement.

all blacks

Grateful hockey players enjoy pressure

Is there pressure in sports? Yes! But, grateful players recognize the incredible opportunity they have to demonstrate their skills and test their limits. You play a game you love often with people engaged and cheering what you do. Grateful players appreciate the meaning that pressure gives their experience. They know pressure is a privilege. Grateful players look around and appreciate the challenge that is being given to them.

Grateful hockey players do not rely on winning

Because they are so focused on a great process and appreciate great competition, the joy of grateful players is not dependent on winning. They want to win, but really appreciate their process, the competition and the challenge.

Grateful hockey players let go

When it’s time to play and practice, it is done with purpose, intention and efficiency. Grateful players work hard with intention but also appreciate and enjoy their time away from practice and competition – appreciating all parts of their life.

So, what can you do to become a grateful hockey player?

Here’s a start …

  • Realize how lucky you are to be playing a sport, having the opportunity to express yourself and having the opportunity to give your life meaning.
  • Remember you can only feel one emotion at once. Replace anxious feelings with feelings of gratefulness – make the decision to change your state with a shift to being grateful for this great opportunity to participate in your sport and test your abilities.

    “I can’t do this” or “what will they think if I lose” shifts to a grateful attitude…

    “How lucky am I to do this and test my skills”
  • As an exercise, at the end of each day, think about two things you are grateful for from the day. Get in the habit of being grateful for things in hockey and in your life away from hockey.

Remember to be grateful for what you have including your opportunity to play hockey. Hockey is not something you have to do, but something you get to do!

Do You Know Your Hockey Blind Spots?

Blind Spots

I was inspired to write this article by a quote I come across from a friend of mine, Melinda Harrison, a former Olympic swimmer who specializes in helping athletes transition from the world of sport to their next great venture.

“If you do not see the wave coming, it can smack you down and pull you under leaving you feeling tossed around, upside down, gasping for breath and picking out sand from areas you never knew existed,” she wrote.

I knew this feeling well in my professional sports career. I was tossed around often. In fact, these waves were blind spots that eventually derailed a professional sports career that had promise. I found myself metaphorically picking sand from areas I never knew existed (far too many times), and I didn’t understand how it was happening.

What are the blind spots in your game? Those waves you don’t see coming that leave you tossed around and falling short of your capabilities.

Right now is a great time of the year to roll up your sleeves and reflect on what happened during 2016 — and what you might do in 2017 to get more enjoyment and make some positive strides in your game. How was your hockey year? Happy with it? Wanting more?

In a reflection exercise, I highly recommend you consider your own blind spots, and what might be unconsciously holding you back from moving forward and getting more out of your game.

Blind spots damage performance

Working with world-class performers every day, I can assure you that understanding blind spots is important in performance. Almost every performer I have worked with has them, and I expect you do, too. Part of my job is to help these world-class performers identify their blind spots, making sure they have a clear view of what’s beneath their awareness and might therefore be holding them back.

blind spot warning

Let’s highlight the idea of blind spots by using my own professional sports career (professional golf) as an example. This may help you start thinking about your own blind spots and get the wheels turning. I had a few tendencies that were constantly beneath my awareness that kept me on the treadmill and not striding forward on a steady, consistent career path.

A few examples:

  • Focusing too much time on the long game in golf, obsessing about it and not allocating more effort to the game from 100 yards and in from the green. I neglected to keep the object of the game in mind (shooting the lowest score possible!).
  • Failing to develop my self-awareness. I had limited awareness how my emotions were knocking me around and creating a blurry focus, especially under the pressures of professional golf.
  • Not fully understanding the critical impact of others’ expectations on my day-to-day performance.
  • No clear path forward. I did not have a well-defined vision or detailed steps in place to guide day-to-day progress and development.

goalie-visor

You can imagine how these blind spots could make sustainable progress in my career difficult. Each of the areas above needed attention in order for me to have a better opportunity to reach new levels.

What are your hockey blind spots?

What is holding you back that may be beneath your awareness? In the next short while, I encourage you to think about your own blind spots, and also consider some feedback from others who may know your game. Chances are an honest assessment of your blind spots, and some outside feedback, will shed some light on the factors that are limiting you.

To help you further, here are a few, common hockey blind spots that I have seen in players I work with at a variety of levels. Could any of these apply to you?

  • Always having to be coached and not putting time in on your own to develop your skills – individual training and skill development is a key to excellence.
  • Getting far too caught up in the technical aspect of the game and neglecting the creative component.
  • Allowing small dips in performance to greatly impact your confidence.
  • Not having the discipline to work on weaknesses – working on strengths is fine but weaknesses need to be developed so they don’t limit you.
  • Effort in practice is nowhere near effort in games – when effort in practice should be higher than games.
  • Having trouble taking your game from the practice ice to the game ice and not understanding why.
  • Losing focus over small mistakes and not being able to get it back on track the rest of the game.
  • It’s either perfect or nothing – you insist on perfection and are never happy with your performance.
  • Not enjoying the game as much as you should and not knowing why.

These ideas should help you get started on your own assessment. What might be holding you back that you are not aware of? Take some time to think about it in the the next while. Reflection is an important characteristic in high performers and a key to improvement. Identifying your blind spots is a great first step in understanding what may be holding you back in your game on the ice.