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By: Sean Skinner
It is crucial for a team to use effective drills so as to improve its gameplay. There are already hundreds of books about ice hockey drills that address different aspects of the game, and which have been used over time, but it is always advantageous to apply new tricks. After all, if all teams apply the same old techniques then the level of the game will become low and dull. Luckily there are sources that keep on improving the game by coming up with new and innovative hockey techniques every so often. These instructions are made public courtesy of symposiums, coaching, and as learning material in the form of DVDs and video tapes.
Ice hockey drills are divided into two i.e. on and off the ice. Those based on the ice involve skating with the puck, dribbling, faking, toe control, footwork, puck protection, cupping the puck, expansion or reach, advanced movements and puck tricks. These dry land training exercises are mainly focused on fitness and building players’ power gliding skills. Here, resistance strength training takes centerstage to ensure that the muscles in the arms and wrists are optimally developed and conditioned. Some techniques are borrowed from on-ice drills but which are complemented with obstacle work.
We cannot forget the essence of hockey training equipment in making these drills more effective. The Swedish Stick-handling ball for example is used in dryland training to develop lithe and quick hands. Unlike the puck this ball is spherical and so it presents control difficulty. In trying to master it, a player’s neurological motors become more stimulated to instill a higher degree of stick handling skills. This ball is excellent for pre and post practice.
There is also box hockey, and which is a great skill builder. This is a 6’ by 3” box whereby players battle to drive the puck through its four sections. The box hockey helps to develop hand-eye coordination, as well as building strength for the forearms, wrists and the upper body.
Teams can also effectively learn new hockey drills and their essence in particular aspects of the game by attending hockey academies. Here the players are taught hockey skills, systems, tactics, strength conditioning, positioning, dryland training and general hockey sense. This sort of classes normally target athletes who are on course to join college and professional hockey teams.
When looking for new hockey drills we need to opt for those developed by ice hockey professionals as these have a greater probability of bearing positive results. Considering the numerous DVDs about these exercises in the market, opting for those that have been adopted by different ice hockey countries and federations is perhaps the best way forward.

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