When most people think of what makes a strong skater, they think of someone who has good balance and who is light and quick. They don’t typically think of someone who is a good jumper, but, believe it or not, studies have shown, time and time again, that athletes who can jump high tend to be better skaters. The same also holds true for athletes who are good, fast sprinters.
As such, it might not be a bad idea to add in some sprints and jumps to your hockey training regimen. Of course, that is not to say that you should do away with strength training; that is important for young players too since it will make them stronger and protect their joints. However, adding some sprints and jumps in with the strength training exercises definitely isn’t a bad idea.
While there are all kinds of ways to add jumps into your routine, most of the jumps that you incorporate should look, to some degree, like skating. Any jumps should involve bent knees with the thighs parallel to the ground, and abduction, which, just as in skating, involves thrusting to the side using the hips.
As for sprints, adding in a few short sprints, around 15 meters each with maybe a few longer ones thrown in, is all you need to do. If you make sure that your players are starting their sprints while facing to the side with their feet perpendicular, this will help to make the move more amenable to good skating.
While it isn’t extremely common to see hockey players doing sprints and jumps, it should be. These moves not only provide good cardiovascular exercise and increase endurance, but they are also great at turning young hockey players into better skaters and, by extension, better athletes.