The physicality of hockey heightens when the puck is along the boards. Players use their full physical strength and power to fight off opponents and gain possession of the puck. You can see this skill demonstrated at its best by watching Boston Bruins wingman Milan Lucic battle along the boards and in the corners during the Stanley Cup Finals.
Lucic lacks the pure speed and finesse of players like Sidney Crosby or Daniel and Henrik Sedin. But he is able to use his power and strength to win battles for the puck and give himself opportunities to score, make passes and fight off defensemen, even those who outclass him in size.
To improve your board and corner puck possession skills, focus on developing explosive power, full-body strength and a solid lower body foundation. And there’s no better time to start than now. Incorporate the following three exercises into your off-season training program to make opponents fear your physical presence when you skate along the boards.
Benefits: An explosive movement that develops power from the ground up through the hips and the upper body. Helps you drive off the ice when making contact or absorbing a check so you can gain or maintain possession of the puck.
Lateral Resistance Band Squat
Benefits: Develops lower body strength while forcing your abductors to fire to maintain a solid base. Ensures that your lower body can support you when an opponent uses his speed, strength and size to knock you off the puck.
Benefits: Full-body movements that activate the hips and core to power upper-body action. Will help you secure a puck-protecting position against your opponent while maintaining balance and stability.
Sets/Reps: 3x10 each side
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