Every coach, general manager, and scout, craves fast players for their program.
If we dive in and shed some light on what that really means though, we have to ensure that a fast player is indeed effective, and properly utilizes that tool.
As a skills coach, my job is to offer players an opportunity to improve and expand their skill-set, but furthermore, channel all of that work so it transfers into their game. The goal isn’t to fill an ice session with cool-looking sequences or patterns, but rather, to repair skill deficiencies, perhaps with the use of specialized drills, and instil them in scenarios the athlete will encounter come game time.
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A common discussion I have with players, parents, coaches, and scouts, is in fact, how fast a player can play the game. I eventually felt enough of an urge to add some clarity to that topic in article-form.
With off-ice training programs putting an emphasis on speed and power, the game of hockey is faster than ever.
A misconception about speed that I am finding as I work with numerous minor hockey teams across Alberta though, is how a team or player, can be, and is classified, as fast. Many get drawn to foot speed, or skating speed, when they hear the term ‘fast’ in hockey. In today’s game, that is only a fraction of the necessary speed required to be an elite player.
You’ve done the proper hockey-specific training all off-season, pounded out your plyometrics, sprint work, Olympic lifts; and it is clear you have elevated your explosiveness and quickness on the ice. The golden question: can you translate that to make it an advantage for yourself?