If you’re someone who loves the sport of hockey, you know that training is essential for your success. But training can be challenging, especially if you’re trying to do it on your own. That’s where hockey training aids come in.
These devices help you to improve your movement and skill, making it easier for you to achieve your goals. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best hockey training aids on the market today, and explain why they’re such a valuable addition to your arsenal.
Not everyone fully understands the power of these training aids, and if you’re reading this article there’s a good chance that you’re part of that group. G.I. Joe is quoted as saying “knowing is half the battle.” So, today we’re going to be looking at why these training aids are so important.
There’s more to training aids than meets the eye, and you might just be surprised at how powerful these tools actually are. Plenty of hockey players use training aids to help their hockey training go that much more smoothly, so let’s find out why that’s the case together once and for all.
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Why Training is Important
Hockey training is important for many reasons. Not only does it help improve your skating skills, but it can also help improve your strength, agility, and endurance. Additionally, hockey training can help you learn how to play defense and midfield, as well as how to shoot and pass the puck. So if you’re looking to improve your overall game, hockey training is a great way to do so.
There are a few different types of hockey training that you can do to improve your skills. Here are the four most common:
- Running drills
- These drills involve running at a slow pace on an ice rink and using your hockey skills to beat opponents. This type of training is great for improving agility, speed, and stamina.
- Ice skating drills
- These exercises focus on honing your technique while skating on the ice. They help improve your skating skills, control of the puck, and shooting accuracy.
- Strength training
- This is important for any athlete, but especially for hockey players. Training muscles in a way that helps them use less energy is key to playing at an elite level.
- Stickhandling drills
- If you play hockey you’ll need to be able to hit the puck around and handle your stick well enough to keep the puck on your team’s side while keeping it away from your opponents.
All of these types of training are going to be very important for ensuring that you’re improving the skills that you need the most when you’re on the ice. Of course, you don’t need to be the very best in every category, but you do need to be able to hold your own through a combination of these skills.
How Training Aids Help Your Hockey Training
If you’re looking to train your hockey skills you’ll need to train regularly. Training not only helps improve your hockey skills, but it can also improve your fitness level and coordination. However, training can be expensive, and it can be difficult to find the time to train.
That’s where training aids come in. They allow you to train without having to leave home or go to a gym. In this section, we’ll discuss how training aids can help you improve your hockey skills while you get to practice both on and off the ice.
Training aids give you a chance to pinpoint specific areas where you’re having issues so you can improve upon them more easily. There are a variety of different types of training aids available, and each one provides you with a unique set of benefits.
Each one also gives you a chance to further develop fundamental skills into muscle memory which can easily make you a stronger hockey player in general as well as a generally more athletic person.
Let’s say, for example, you have a hard time with your stickhandling and coordination. You’d simply want to get training aids that can help you with those skills so you can isolate them and practice them without the distraction of the other skills.
There are a variety of aids that can be used both on and off the ice, and we’re going to be taking a look at them in the next section. Just keep in mind that the sky is the limit and you could realistically find training aids that we aren’t about to cover.
Common Training Aids for Hockey
Just like with everything else, there are training aids that are used very commonly for hockey training and there are aids that are used less commonly for hockey training. Just because an aid is uncommon doesn’t mean it’s bad, just that not as many people use them.
We wanted to preface this section with that because there are thousands of types of training aids, and we won’t have the time nor the space to get into every single one of them. We will, however, have the time to cover a few of the most common ones and what they’re good for. For example:
- Balance boards.
- Balance boards are boards that are put on top of a long cylinder. You just stand on top of the board with your hockey stick and try to keep yourself balanced. This is typically best done somewhere where you can fall onto something a little softer than the asphalt. Maybe wear a helmet if you’re doing this in your driveway!
- Dryland pucks and hockey balls.
- Both of these are incredible tools for stickhandling training when you’re off the ice. Both dryland pucks and hockey balls are designed to give you the best possible experience hitting the pucks, and will give you a sensation close to hitting a puck on the ice.
- Stick weights.
- Adding some weight to your hockey stick can help you train your endurance by quite a bit, making hockey stick weights an invaluable addition to your hockey training regimen.
- Puck passers.
- This aid is pretty simple but can get some pretty incredible results. It’s a simple little metal triangle that has rubber edges. It’s designed to bounce your pucks back to you when you hit the pucks against it, making it a great tool for passing training.
- Gym equipment.
- Going to the gym is a great way to improve your athleticism, and it can also make you stronger, faster, and more resilient on the ice. Going to the gym isn’t only good for hockey, but for every sport.
Even just those five things cover the vast majority of the skills that you could need for playing hockey, which makes them very useful for furthering your training. There are even more out there that could also be used, you’ll just have to research them yourself. Some of them even take a bit of creativity to implement, but they can add great benefits.
The Cons of Using Hockey Training Aids
While using training aids for hockey is incredible, there are a couple of drawbacks. Keep in mind that none of the drawbacks are that bad and we aren’t going to cop out and say something like “you could end up being too good at hockey.” as if we’re in a job interview trying to flip a weakness into a strength.
The biggest drawback is the cost. Training aids, such as stick-handling trainers and shooting targets, can be expensive. They may also require regular maintenance, such as oiling or replacing the target. There’s also the potential for injury. For instance, anaerobic drills and generally rough play in training can create fatigue through accidental injuries such as sprains or bruises.
The potential of injury can be somewhat circumvented if you properly stretch before training and are very careful, but injuries can still occur. That’s why accidents are called “accidents.” They’re rarely intentional.
The second drawback is that using training aids can be self-defeating. For instance, if you use a stick-handling trainer to improve your stickhandling but don’t practice with the puck as well, then you’re not going to get good at handling the puck. You need both skillsets for success on the ice.
Nevertheless, these drawbacks are relatively minor and should not prevent you from using training aids to improve your hockey skills. You could realistically see your skills explode with the use of the right aid, and that makes a big difference, just be aware of what you’re doing and don’t let some skills suffer while you improve others.
Finding the Best Training for You
Everyone is a little bit different, including hockey players. We all have different backgrounds, upbringings, and body types. That means that knowing how to train best for you might not be the best way to train for someone else.
That being said, a good hockey training aid that isolates specific skills can make a whole world of difference when it comes to your hockey training. The better training you get, the more of a threat you’ll be on the ice to the other team. There’s no better feeling than knowing that the other team is specifically planning around you, and using the right training can help you get to that point.