Dryland skating practice for youth hockey
Posted by Dean Holden at December 23rd, 2013
by Jack Blatherwick, 19 December 2013
Brooks Laich (Washington Capitals) improved his skating dramatically by emphasizing greater knee bend on the ice and off.
When Czechoslovakia was one country (under Soviet rule), they had thousands of hockey players with very limited access to arenas. So in order to optimize ice time, they practiced skating and other skills off-ice. It was effective because their national teams were among the best in the world each year.
Dryland skating practice had three objectives: 1) fundamental skating positions were repeated thousands of times, reinforcing the habit of excellent knee bend; 2) one- or two-legged jumps were added for explosiveness – always from a position of deep knee bend; and 3) they developed a kinesthetic feeling of efficient force application from one leg through the center of the body. Straight-line extension (SLX) is essential for powerful skating strides.
Speedskaters have the same objectives: Dryland training reinforces good skating habits and posture along with explosive strength. Keep in mind, this should be FUN, so don’t call it a “workout.” This is “Skating Practice.”
In-season sessions should be short (5-15 minutes). Save the intense training for offseason months, when strength development is a priority, and sprints are added for quick feet.
All jumps (one or two legs) emphasize deep knee bend and maximum height. Notice on the left, when his goal is to elevate his head as high as possible, this straightens the entire body. Straight Line Extension (SLX) is critical in an efficient, powerful skating stride.