Speed Tests

I have an 11-year-old son who is a pretty fast skater   --What's fast?

I have heard of places that time and can give you a comparison of what fast is worldwide

Then my next questions would be how to develop more speed on a daily basis --both dryland and on ice

Thank you
David R 

Thanks for the questions Dave.

First off what really is fast? Yes there are companies that do time you in various distances and will compare you to others of the same age from across the world. One such company is called Sport Quest out of Canada. Go to their website for more info:
http://www.sport-quest.com/index.htm

A couple of things you need to keep in mind however. A timed sprint speed is much different then game speed.

  1. A timed sprint speed means everyone starts at the same time. In a game of hockey not everyone starts at the same time. One of the things I like to point out to my players is that although speed is important, being able to read a play and beating your opponent to an area is far more important then being able to beat them in a race to where the puck is. Yes you will have your all out sprint to where the puck is and yes speed will win out in this case but overall in a game of hockey it is much more important to know where to be and when to be there.
  2. Game speed requires power. This means not only are you fast but you can skate through a check and you can use your body to get position on another player when necessary.
     
  3. Rarely in a game are you going to skate full speed to a puck that is 40 feet away. Most of the races in a game are 4-5 feet away so it is almost more a game of quickness and positioning then it is speed.

 

  1. Rarely are you going to skate straight ahead in a line. Game speed requires lateral speed not to mention that it is a game of stopping and starting. You therefore must not only be fast but agile.

 

Now on to your next and what I feel is your more important question. The reason I say this is because no matter how fast you are now you can always get faster. Hockey is a game of speed and although I do make an argument above that speed is not as important as you might think it is, all things being equal, a faster team does have a better chance of winning week in and week out.

Let’s start with dryland. I am very often asked if a hockey player can get faster by training off-ice. The answer is ABSOLUTELY!!!! Speed is speed whether on dryland or on ice.

There are two main issues that deal with speed.

  1. Rate of stride turnover- in other words how fast you can move your legs.
  2. The amount of power associated with each stride. In other words how far do you move with each stride?

 

Exercises off-ice for each:

    1. Frequency /rate of stride turnover
      1. Sprints. There is a saying in the field of strength and conditioning that states if you want to run fast…. then run fast. The more you run fast the more your body will get acclimated to that speed, make the necessary changes in order to move at that speed and develop habits to help you move that fast again and again. The easier it becomes will only allow the body to move faster.
      2. Overspeed Sprints. This exercise will help to teach your body to move faster then normal therefore hopefully developing a memory in the muscles to move faster. Use caution here however because if these exercises are not performed properly then you can develop bad habits which may in turn slow you down rather then speed you up. (See more about bungee cords here
        https://sobkowsecure.com/bhockey/ItemDetails.aspx?item_id=238)
      3. Agility Ladders. The first few steps here are crucial especially in the game of hockey. I love to use the agility ladder for a whole host of reasons. There are a million exercises you can teach to help players develop quicker feet. (See agility ladder here
        https://sobkowsecure.com/bhockey/ItemDetails.aspx?item_id=232 )
      4. Agility drills. Simple drills such as running to a cone and back to the start or running forward to a cone then running backwards back to the start are basic example of some good agility drills. (For more agility drills see our members only area here
        http://www.betterhockey.com/page.aspx?page_id=4 )

 

    1. Power/the amount movement associated with each stride

 

      1. Stride lengthening exercises/flexibility. I use a group of exercises prior to games and practices and off ice training sessions to help my athletes teach their joints, muscles etc to move with longer strides. As this muscle memory is developed players will naturally skate with a longer stride and as I ask my athletes, do you think I am going to be faster or slower with a longer stride? Examples here are high knee walks, high knee skips, straight leg toe touches, butt kicks and others. (For a complete example of these exercises see our members only area http://www.betterhockey.com/page.aspx?page_id=4
      1. Power Exercises. We are talking here about explosive lifts in the weight room for older players and or explosive exercises on dryland for older or younger players. These can include a whole assortment of exercises including tuck jumps, squat jumps, squats, dead lifts, medicine ball throws, hang cleans, push press and many others. The focus here is on developing fast twitch muscle fibers in the lower extremities but also in the core muscle group areas (hips, back extensors, hip flexors, abs and obliques as well as the deeper muscles of the core). (For pics, explanations of exercises and video clips see our members only area http://www.betterhockey.com/page.aspx?page_id=4

 

Exercises on-ice for each

  1. Frequency/rate of stride turnover
    1. Just as the off ice exercises…if you want to skate fast. …skate fast. Skating as fast as you can in practice. I often have my player pick someone on the team who is faster then they are and to try to keep up with that person during drills
    2. Overspeed Sprints. Robby Glantz of the LA Kings/Atlanta Thrashers does a great job of using bungee cords on the ice to teach kids to skate faster then normal.
    3. Agiliation Drills: Steve Serdachny of the Edmonton Oilers has some great drills to help teach you to move your feet faster while skating. 

 

  1. Power
    1. Resistance Skating: This can be done with a resistance cord and a partner or by simply using two sticks with a partner.
    2. Power Jumps: Steve Serdachny does a drill where he has his players jump over an obstacle forcing players to use power to make it over these objects.
    3. Push/Pull resistance. There are a couple of great drills you can do with a partner and one stick to help work on power.

 

One last thing I want to mention about power and speed on the ice. It does not matter how much you develop your fast twitch muscles fibers on or off the ice. When you mention speed in the game of hockey you must have proper technique and you must be able to use your edges properly!!!

I hope this has answered your questions. For more information about developing speed make sure you check out our members only area of Better Hockey at
http://www.betterhockey.com/page.aspx?page_id=4

Here you will find articles, videos, audio interviews and more to help your players /team reach their full potential.

Dr. Clint Steele, DC, CSCS

Dr. Steele is President and Founder of Better Hockey and www.betterhockey.com the worlds largest hockey development website.

 

 







 
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