Two hockey strength experts weigh in on the basics of training agility for the ice.
1. “Hockey players must be balanced athletes,” Chicago Blackhawks S+C coach Paul Goodman says. “Agility is being able not to lose your balance. You fall, you waste time.” Renowned industry leader Mike Boyle echoes Goodman: “Massive [single-leg] force and strength are required to turn and corner, since two blades are rarely in contact with the ice.”
2. Keep in mind the single-leg physics of hockey when training, like Boyle, who uses variations of the Single-Leg Squat and Lunge to work his players. These increase lower back, butt and core stabilization, which directly improve a player’s maneuverability. Goodman also places his players in unstable and compromising situations in the weight room. “Off ice, I put my athletes in positions that require even greater ranges of motion than they actually experience on the ice.”
3. Goodman works his players’ focus, too, as it significantly affects balance. “[Eye] focus [in a game] is away from your center of gravity, so there’s a lot of room for you to become unbalanced very quickly,” he says.