You may have a Happy Gilmore slap shot, but if you can't skate fast enough to get to the puck, it doesn't matter how fiercely you fling it. Speedy skating skills are essential for every hockey player to master.
Solid skating skills don't develop overnight, and practicing on the ice is the only way to really acquire them. However, once you've nailed the basics, off-ice training focused on improving leg drive will help you skate faster so you can have an added edge over an opponent.
To help his players improve their skating skills, University of Minnesota men's hockey strength and conditioning coach Cal Dietz applies dry land training through plyometric exercises, like the Russian Plyo. It's used to increase lateral leg drive and enhance speed by mimicking how a player skates.
Russian Plyo [see diagram for set up]
- Set up six plyometric boxes at 45-degree angles, staggered in two rows of three each [distance between boxes from top to top is approximately 10 to 12 feet]
- Standing on ground, use left leg to quickly lunge laterally onto middle of first box
- Laterally lunge onto next box with opposite leg; repeat pattern in zigzag fashion
- Push off boxes as high and as far as possible, absorbing the force as you land; keep deep bend in leg as you lunge
Sets/Rest: 2/ 60-90 seconds rest
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