Using Ergogenic Aids to Develop Ice Hockey Players
Joseph Cole provides examples of 'off-ice' skill development programmes for ice hockey players
The continuing problem that faces many ice hockey players, at all levels of development is the opportunity to improve on skills when ice time is not available. Like many winter sports, ice hockey athletes have traditionally needed to have a speciality environment, the ice, to improve or develop their 'game time' skills.
Over the years, I have improvised and customized skill programs from many other sports where many of the mechanics are similar. Here are some examples.
Skating skills can be broken down into three areas: speed, strength and backwards skating.
Stick/Puck Control Development
The single most neglected skill by hockey development 'schools' and 'camps' who offer 'off-ice conditioning' is puck control. Too many hockey players, off the ice, are undertaking cardio work such as running or static exercises. Some coaches have tried to incorporate the use of tennis or street hockey balls or pucks. This invariably fails because the use of such equipment does not reinforce good skill technique.
The lack of available and affordable ice, especially in Canada, has forced coaches to explore new ways of developing elite athletes. Although traditionalist often sees these off the ice/dry land sessions as fake or filler; the results speak for themselves.
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About the Author
Joseph Cole is an NCCP Advanced Level I Coach, with more than 20 years on the bench. For the past five years, Coach Cole has been developing player and coach programs throughout Canada's National Capital Region.