Training for Three Key Elements…Through the Eyes of a Hockey Player

By Andrew Ojeda (BS, NASM)

Microsoft PowerPoint - Presentation1This week I’m going to kick off the series with an article written by RPP coach Andrew Ojeda. Andrew played hockey at Suffern High School and at the collegiate level.  He continues to play today.

Hockey is said to be the fastest sport played on two feet, with athletes skating 15 to 20 miles per hour, taking slap shots topping out at 100 miles per hour and sacrificing their bodies into the boards without second guessing themselves. How are these athletes capable of safely performing at this high level?  The coaches at RPP believe that in order to attain the physical demands of this sport, one must enhance their on-ice performance with off-ice training in the weight room. At RPP, we have developed a full body program that will help young athletes reach these goals safely.

There are many things that are needed to become a great hockey player. The three that I will cover today are:

  1. Overall strength
  2. Change-of-Direction Quickness
  3. A Powerful Shot

At RPP, we have included specific movements and drills within the programs to help the athletes improve upon each of these parts of their game.

1. Overall Strength – As the athletes bodies mature, progressing from Mite to Squirt, Peewee, and eventually Bantams where checking is now allowed, the game is not just fast but has also become very physical. The players must be able to keep their heads up to see the ice while at the same time brace their body for a hit. When the athlete is not physically prepared to take that hit that’s when most injuries occur. Part of being ready for this physical aspect of the game is muscular strength. Here at RPP, we focus on overall strength training, making sure the athletes are performing exercises for all parts of their body (legs, arms, shoulders and core). A great example of a full body exercise we use is hang cleans. This movement teaches the athlete to be explosive, using their legs to apply force into the ground, transferring their power through their core and then bracing themselves to catch the bar in the proper position.

(Hang Cleans)

2. Change-of-Direction Quickness – In a hockey game, a player must be able to efficiently change direction by stopping and starting, crossing over or by making sharp turns. Being able to change from one direction to another with as little delay as possible is key. At RPP we incorporate transitional sprint drills to improve this extremely valuable quality. Here Matt Willows with the Florida Everglades (ECHL) demonstrates by working on two separate movement patterns.

(Lateral Side Shuffle to Sprint)

(Lateral Backpedal to Sprint)

3. A Powerful Shot – Of course every young hockey player wants to have the hardest and fastest shot. Shooting a puck, whether it be a wrist shot, snap shot or slap shot is a movement that requires an athlete to transfer his weight from their feet up through the hips and into the torso at the same time having proper rotation in their mid-section. Enter medicine ball drills. One of our favorite is the medicine ball shovel pass. It’s great for teaching transfer of power through the core.

(Med Ball Shovel Pass)

I hope you all enjoy reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it.