The Speed System

Enhancing Skate Speed: The Impact of Sprinting for Hockey Players

As a sports performance specialist, I’ve encountered various sports in need of speed improvement. One memorable instance was in 2008 when an 11-year-old hockey player caught my attention. Despite his young age and slender build, his dad sought assistance to boost his skate speed. With no prior experience training hockey players, I was determined to excel. Recognizing the importance of balance, strength, and speed, I realized sprinting held the key.

The Art of Sprinting

Contrary to common belief, land sprinting significantly aids skate speed enhancement. Sprinting demands the ability to generate, absorb, and swiftly reproduce forceā€”a skill vital for skating. Furthermore, both activities engage similar muscle groups such as the hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core.

The Recipe

In conjunction with strength training, outdoor sprint sessions became a staple. First, I honed sprint mechanics, emphasizing foot placement under the hip to maximize force upon contact. Next, I focused on achieving full leg extension for maximum power generation, teaching the glutes to activate rapidly. Additionally, plyometric exercises like broad jumps were incorporated to enhance power production, absorption, and reproduction, followed by sprint intervals.

The Result

After two months of dedicated training, the moment of truth arrived during tryouts. Eager to outpace his peers on the rink, the young athlete achieved remarkable results. Not only did he secure a second-place finish in races, a significant improvement from his previous standings, but he also slashed two tenths of a second off his skate time.

Final Thought

While hockey players benefit from land training, the key lies in the meticulous “how” and “why.” Properly instructed sprint training on land can substantially elevate skate speed. Teaching athletes the precise mechanics of sprinting greatly influences their skating prowess. Thus, instill the importance of sprint training to empower your hockey player’s performance.