Being on the ice and trying new things out there is essential for young hockey players. However, time at the rink is expensive, and you can’t always get as much of it as you might like. As such, it’s important to use dryland training techniques at least some of the time. And, while this might seem like merely a substitute for time spent on the ice, the fact of the matter is that dryland training can actually be very effective in its own right, especially when it comes to improving overall conditioning and fitness, providing you make the most of it and train in the right ways.
To start off with, one of the most effective things to do with dryland training time is to incorporate aerobic drills and exercises. These are some of the best ways to improve cardiovascular strength and overall endurance in young players.
You can do simple things, like pushing your players to run one or two miles, depending on the endurance level they’re starting out at. If you want to make things a bit more fun and challenging, you could try out an obstacle course made from pylons. Sprints are good, simple exercises too, and, while these activities may prove challenging at first, they can be extremely helpful for creating stronger, more capable young players.
Another way to create stronger, better players is through weight training. All you need is access to a gym with weight training equipment, or, at the very least, just some simple dumbbells.
Believe it or not, even the youngest hockey players can engage in weight training by using dumbbells weighing between two and three pounds. Kids, with appropriately sized weights, are generally just as capable as adults of doing bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, lateral raises, squats, and more. Older kids may even be able to do some bench pressing with enough guidance and the right equipment.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to weight training, and you can do a variety of activities and exercises to help build strength in young players.
Finally, keep in mind that not all training has to be active in nature. You can devote some of your dryland training time to educating young players on issues that are important to them. Why not, for example, devote some time to a nutrition class?
You could have an expert come in and educate your players on how to eat healthily and on the best foods to eat to help them develop as young athletes. This type of information will prove valuable to them not just in hockey but throughout life as well.