Off-Ice Classes for Figure Skaters
Improving Play with Off-Ice Conditioning
Ice hockey is very physically demanding and tests a player’s stamina. It requires players to be in good health, be able to work very hard for short periods of time (anaerobic conditioning) and be able to recover quickly from physical activity (aerobic conditioning). What’s more, strength, quickness and agility are also desirable. Players must learn to develop their physical abilities in all areas.
It is not uncommon for players to feel tired during or after a game. Feeling tired is normal; players can overcome much of their tired feeling by focusing their mind on the game and ignoring the fatigue. However, if players are feeling pain they should talk to their coach or parents about it. Without a good aerobic conditioning base, it is difficult to adequately develop the other areas. Each layer builds the necessary physical abilities to improve performance at the next level. Skills such as skating and stickhandling are dependent on the body’s ability to do the work. Good physical conditioning is a foundation for everything else and becomes more important as a player gets older. Playing ability improves as players upgrade their physical shape. Skating cannot be improved with just on-ice exercises.
Aerobic conditioning is the body’s ability to convert oxygen into energy. As muscles work, they get energy from two sources: food and oxygen. The better a body can use oxygen, the quicker it recovers from hard work. Performed for at least 20 minutes and three times a week, the following activities improve aerobic conditioning: jogging, brisk walking, swimming, biking, ice skating and roller skating.
Anaerobic conditioning is the body’s ability to work very hard for short periods of time. A single shift on the ice should be played at full speed and tests a player’s anaerobic conditioning. For example, when players skate as fast as they can down the ice, the longer the time before they feel tired, the better anaerobic shape they are in. It is tougher to develop good anaerobic abilities because the only way to do so is by exercising harder and longer with high intensity and high-speed exercises. The following exercises improve anaerobic conditioning: sprinting, foot racing and skating full speed down the length of the ice.
Strength Training, Quickness and Agility
Most doctors agree that children under the age of 10 should not weight train. Nonetheless, exercise that builds stamina such as running and resistance training provide a good way to exercise muscles without risking injury. Resistance training is using the body like a weight set. Common resistance type exercises that help build strength are: pushups. chin-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts and squats.
To build quickness, look at exercises that involve rapid feet movement. Good ways to build quickness include jumping, bounding, hopping and skipping rope.
Agility is the ability to start, stop and change direction quickly. Agility is built by moving the feet quickly in a variety of movements such as quick turns and cuts. Agility can be increased by obstacle courses, zig-zag running, side shuffles and playing tag.
Iceberg Training Center
Youth Strength and Fitness Program
Dr. Daniel Ramirez - NCCPT Personal Trainer, NCAA Ice Hockey Athlete, Doctoral Student of Physical Therapy (FIU) Daniel is the owner of the Iceberg Training Center and comes with over eight years of youth athletic coaching experience. Daniel is a former hockey player and will focus on strength, power, flexibility and agility with improving hockey skills as the goal.
(Private and Semi-Private Lessons are available by contacting the office).
Check with your Hockey Coach to learn about "Off-Ice" Programs appropriate for you!