Are you interested to play hockey? Do you have a question about, How to become a better hockey player? Is this thought always running in your mind? Are you looking for a guide to help you become a pro player? If yes, you have landed in the right place.
Becoming a pro hockey player that’s not something you can achieve overnight. It takes years of practice, dedication, and hard training to reach that level. However, you can gradually improve with daily practice. But often, players are lost thinking about where to start and which training to take. Are there any tips to follow for a better result?
Well, sir, tight and get ready for an informative journey. We will give you complete guidelines to help you pave your way to the top as a professional hockey player. Let’s start without any delay, shall we?
How To Become A Professional Hockey Player?
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If you have started hockey with an aim to make it a profession, there’s no way but to become the best at your game. No one will spare you a place unless you earn it yourself. And you can only do it by polishing your skills, techniques, and gameplay.
So, how to become a better hockey player? There’s only one answer to that question, practice. Yes, you have to work hard and practice every single day. But, the practices must be specific, planned, and well-organized.
1. Regular Practice
Practice, practice, and practice; there’s no escape or shortcut to that. You have to practice every single day without skipping. You can do it on the field with the guidance of your coach. Or you can simply hit a gym and do the exercises your trainer has instructed. Or you can just practice at home!
Also, you don’t always have to practice with the stick and pluck/ball. You can do normal push-ups, sprinting, running, swimming, or other exercises to improve your muscle power. It is one of the most important elements of hockey.
2. Specific Training
Field hockey vs. ice hockey, depending on whichever you play, you must undergo specific training. For example, a field hockey player needs to be good at running and have enough speed and high stamina. On the other hand, an ice hockey player needs to be very good at skating, having control over his balance, etc.
Also, the training pattern differs depending on which muscle of your body you want to focus on. Do you want to improve your shooting skill? Do you think you need more hand power to tuck the pluck inside the net? Well, try weightlifting. It may not seem so, but weightlifting improves your balance, hand power, and overall stamina.
3. Watch More Games
Learning by watching that’s one of the most effective techniques. Professional players always study the games of their opponents before jumping into the ground to play. If possible, attend more games and watch attentively how the players move. Try to observe as much as you can. Do you see how they are dodging their opponents? Or could you predict his next move?
If you can’t attend live games, watch videos of those later. Repeat the videos, focus on each player differently, and try to find out their strategies. If you see a new technique, try to learn it to try it out later.
4. Learn To Use Your Mind
Hockey may seem like a physical game only, but your mind has to be as active as your body. You must constantly rack your brain to understand your opponent’s next move. You must also be smart enough to deceive your opponent without letting him find out.
Watching games, reading books related to hockey, studying the strategies of famous players, etc., can help you in this matter a lot.
5. Play In Team
In a team game like hockey, you cannot move as an individual, according to your wish, without considering your team’s benefit. After all, at the end of the game, the team’s victory is all that matters.
So, a good understanding among the team members is necessary in this case. Communicate with your teammates, and find your own language that you can use to fool the opponent. Help each other find the parts you are lacking and mend them. Finally, attend as many team games as possible and get better as a team.
6. Hockey Coordination Training
If you ask what makes a great hockey player, I will say a player who is well-coordinated. What do you mean by coordination? It simply means the ability to use different body parts efficiently without any trouble.
You will have to learn to switch from running to a stable stance and shoot with all your power to send the ball where you want. Your mind has to be continuously thinking of the next step. Players often find trouble keeping their moves coordinated. Practicing with hurdles may help in this matter.
7. Maintain A Proper Diet
Hockey drains a lot of muscle energy and strains your stamina. If you don’t follow a proper diet plan, it will only make you suffer in the game. Focus on protein in your meals and avoid junk foods and extra carbohydrates. But fast carbohydrates just before the game may be helpful to give you instant energy.
Dehydration is one of the major drawbacks during games for a hockey player. So, drink plenty of water and keep your body hydrated all the time. Make sure your body has enough water to prevent heatstroke during a game.
How To Become A Better Field Hockey Player?
There are two types of hockey. Ice hockey and field hockey. Till now, we have discussed how to improve your hockey performance from a general perspective. Players of both categories can follow them and get better at their games.
Now, let’s focus on each type of hockey separately. To become a better field hockey player, follow the instructions we have mentioned below.
1. Improve Your Leg Power
In field hockey, you are always on your feet, running. Your leg muscles need to be in proper shape to give you continued strength in a long game. The last thing you want is a sleeping muscle during a game.
Doing some simple exercise every day can help your muscles to become stronger. Sprinting, running, and swimming are the best options when you have no equipment to practice with. You can also do some squats, as it also focuses on the core muscles of your leg and gluteal region.
2. Push Stick Instead Of Slapping
We often see hockey players slapping and hitting on opponents’ sticks to snatch the ball or stop them from moving around. But why so aggressive when you can do it more simply? Instead of hitting their sticks, lower your own stick a little more and push your opponent’s stick strongly. It will help you get control of the ball without losing your own balance in the process.
Also, when you raise your stick to hit the opponent’s stick while the ball is in your control, you give them a golden chance to steal it from you! You also increase the chance of committing a foul which can cause heavy damage to you and your team.
3. Master The Dribbling
In field hockey, dribbling the ball is the main part. A slight break of concentration or lag of motion, and the next second, you will find the ball snatched from you. Practice with multiple hurdles and blockers to increase your dribble capability to break free even with multiple opponents.
Along with dribbling, making correct passes to your teammates is a must when you are in a game. You don’t want to lose the ball in a crucial moment due to a bad pass, do you? While passing, bend your knees, and get a little low for better body control and stick movement.
4. Keep Your Eyes Up Ahead
One of the common mistakes new hockey players make is that they don’t keep their eyes up while dribbling. You need to continuously see what’s around you, where you are going! When you are running and dribbling without your eyes focused on the ball only, there’s a high chance for you to run into other players. It can cause not only foul but also physical damage.
Hands-on the stick, eyes ahead, scanning the area, and brain running at full speed to calculate your next move- that’s how an ideal hockey player should be in the field.
5. Attend Field Hockey Camps
Big clubs and companies often arrange Hockey camps all around the year. Some of them are free for all; some are paid. If you have a chance, attend these camps as much as possible. Renowned coaches from around the world come and train the players in these camps. They all teach with their own style and strategy. And as a player, you get to know various moves and gameplay.
How To Become A Better Ice Hockey Player?
Ice hockey is very popular nowadays. Especially youngsters are taking quite an interest in the game. Some even want to make it a career. However, it’s not that easy. Ice hockey needs way more training than field hockey. Here are some suggestions that will help you be a better player on the ice.
1. Play With Proper Equipment
Ice hockey requires specific gear and equipment so players don’t get hurt while on the ice. You have to be properly equipped to be inside the ice ring. Make sure you have tour skates fitted and secure with the laces done properly. Wear helmets, gloves, and other stuff that comes with your hockey kit.
The next thing is your hockey stick. It should be customized according to your height. Loo large or too small hickey sticks can hinder your performance to a great extent.
2. Be A Good Skater First
Before being a good hockey player, you must be a decent skater. If you are new to ice hockey, spend as much time as you can skating on the ice. Make your moves swift, and learn to control and balance your body.
Master staking to the point that you can race on the ice and stop anywhere and anytime you want. More importantly, practice making turns without losing your footing.
3. Specific Exercise For Speed, Balance, And Agility
Maintaining balance on ice is not something you can achieve overnight. It takes years of practice to do that. Along with that, specific exercises like lifting weights can be helpful. It also helps you skate faster, stick the plaque harder, gain muscle strength, etc. That’s why most coaches include weightlifting in their training program.
Agility refers to your body’s physical and mental reactions to a situation. You have to keep your focus on the plaque but, at the same time, keep your peripheral vision awake. Medication and weightlifting can help a player strengthen their mental state.
4. Practice Shooting Regularly
You need to have a steady grip on the stick to make a perfect pass to your teammate or score a goal by shooting the plaque in the net. Learning to control the plaque is a must for your eligibility to call yourself a hockey player.
Do the exercises to improve your hand muscle strength to strike the plaque with force. But the force must be controlled. You don’t want to hurt a fellow player with a flying plaque, do you? So, practice shooting regularly and master it.
5. Off-Ice Practice
Practicing outside the ice ring is as important as practicing inside it. On holiday, free time, when you don’t have access to an ice ring, should you pause your practice for the day? Well, not necessarily. You can just practice at home or in a gym.
Take your hockey stick and plaque and practice passing, dribbling, and shooting in the ground. Or just do regular stretches or other exercises.
1. How to strengthen muscle for hockey?
Exercises like weight lifting, squats with or without weight, bench presses, push-ups, running, and swimming are some effective exercises that will improve both your hand and leg muscles.
Wearing a comfortable pair of socks is a must to save your ankles inside the ice skates. Woolen or synthetic knitted fabric is ideal for skates.
Peel 3-4 inches of tape and start taping just below your kneecaps first. Then wrap the tape around your shin and secure it under your garter belt.
Hockey is a team game that needs both individual also team development. You can only achieve that with more practice and gameplay. But additionally, some exclusive exercises and tricks inside the field can also be of great help.
So, have you got your answer for how to become a better hockey player? Hopefully, you did. We wish you to achieve your goal of becoming a professional hockey player. Good luck!
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