When you start playing hockey, almost anything you can do that is related to skating can improve your skills on the ice in a big way. A big issue for everyone in Australia is that ice time is really expensive and hard to get. ( at a reasonable hour )
So how can we improve skating, without actually skating?
In this post I've put together the basics, a few videos that I believe will help you on the ice. Some require inline skates, while others can be done at home.
Most skaters don’t realize how much single leg balance is required in skating. It’s a fact that you will be required to balance on one foot hundreds of times either playing a game or during a practice session. Every stride, crossover, and transition requires that we lift one leg and glide, rotate, or shift our weight while balancing on a thin piece of steel on the ice. For this reason I highly suggest improving single leg balance and strength at home.
Below I have embedded a great routine that was designed for Henrik Zetterberg. You can adapt some of these exercises (less weight or less height) to practice at home
You might not be able to get the glide feeling around home, especially in Australia but you can still replicate the motion. This exercise is called the lateral bound or a skater hop. This can be a great hockey specific plyometric exercise.
In the first set of exercises with Zetterberg most of the weight was carefully balanced over a single leg. In hockey we are constantly being pushed, hooked and shoved around. This exercise incorporates a moving weight while balancing on one leg.
The hockey stride evolves as we skate. We start by pushing almost straight back, and as speed increases, the legs push out more to the side. We can simulate this with the 360 lunge, or as Kevin Neeld calls it, the lunge matrix!
Another great exercise from Kevin Neeld involves a lateral squat and a slideboard. If you don’t have a slide board you may be able to perform this on a smooth surface and a fluffy sock under your foot – Be Careful!
One feeling that we can’t get at home is the feeling of gliding on the ice. Luckily, you don’t need to be on the ice for this motion either. Practicing on inline skates is a great way to target specific skating movements. In the video coach Jeremy from 'How to Hockey' shows you the progression for transitions in hockey.
I hope this collection of videos and info will help you improve your skating, without actually skating and once you get on the ice hopefully you will notice the difference!