Are You Training Your Hockey Mind?

Train Your Mind for Results On the Ice

Consider this first-hand example…

About 24 months ago, we got a call from a concerned Dad about his teenage elite hockey player. There were fundamental problems with the two critical keys of high-performance – enjoyment and achievement. Both were missing. No fun and no results. His son had become frustrated with the sport, it was a chore going to the rink, games were filled with anxiety, confidence was low and results were negligible. The drama around the sport was also becoming negative with the impacts of some unprofessional coaching, social media, and the burden of expectations. It was time to either quit and find something else to do … or do something about it.

Fast forward 24 months after a mental/ emotional development process that developed the critical skills the young hockey players needed to both achieve his targets, add great value to the team and have fun playing hockey again …

From Dad … “I can’t believe the turnaround and the change in attitude from not wanting to go to the rink to now putting everything he’s got into hockey. His goal of playing in college is now achieved and he made the all-rookie team and is dominating on the ice.”

Mental/ Emotional High-Performance Development Can Be the Difference in Your Hockey Career


I have the wonderful privilege of working with some of the world’s leading athletes in many different sports (including the National Hockey League). These athletes leave no stone unturned when it comes to training and performance. They understand that performance starts in the mind – so building their mental and emotional muscles is a priority toward maximizing their abilities. Spending equal time on all the key areas of performance enables them to have a healthy, proactive approach to their sport.

In an athlete performance model – there are four key areas:

Technical – your skill development – fundamentals

Physical – physical development to support your technical skills

Strategic – hockey sense and understanding how to play the game

Mental/ Emotional – critical fundamentals and tools that drive the physical performance

It has been my experience in the sport of hockey that with the emphasis on year-round training and complete commitment to bigger, faster, stronger physical development, the training of the player’s mind is secondary. The lack of training in the mental/emotional component inhibits the player from truly bringing maximum value to their own game and the game of the team. The player does not truly develop into a happy, healthy athlete.

The traditional nature of the hockey culture has created an environment of late adoption to new approaches compared to other sports. Players and coaches have not embraced the exponential benefits of mental and emotional high-performance development. Non-stop technical and physical training has been the priority with the hockey mind far behind.

This late adoption is potentially being fuelled by some myths about the area of performance that is maybe not completely understood. These myths may be ultimately holding players back from progress in the quest to reach their potential and fully maximize their experience in the sport.

A Few Myths that Might Be Holding Your Playing Back

Uncover The Facts appearing behind torn brown paper.
Uncover The Facts appearing behind torn brown paper.

I’d like to dispel a few myths that may cause you to hesitate and prevent you from working on developing your mental & emotional muscles – and ultimately preclude you from being the best player you can be …

Myth: There is something wrong with me if I need to work on mental/emotional skills in my sport.

Fact: Mental and emotional high-performance development in sport is not about fixing an athlete. It is completely about developing skills that are required to maximize abilities. It is an educational process. Like building your technical, physical and strategic skills each day, the same effort must be made to develop the mental and emotional aspect.

Myth: Mental and emotional high-performance training is for athletes who are mentally weak.

Fact: Mental and emotional training is for all athletes. Any athlete, at any level should be developing the skills that more fully allow them to express their technical and physical training. Consider that every great athlete is coached – no matter what level. Why? So they can continue to improve and insure sustainability and consistency.

Myth: Mental and Emotional high-performance development is only for elite players.

Fact: Any level of hockey or age can benefit from mental & emotional high-performance development. Parents and coaches can also benefit. Not only will mental & emotional high-performance development help you on the ice – but the skills are highly transferable to all areas of life like school, business, leadership and relationships.
Myth: Mental & emotional training is a quick fix and a short-term thing.

Fact: Mental and emotional training in hockey is a process to build independence and confidence in the client athlete. Like any skill, it takes time and repetition to build competency and confidence. Tricks and tips never work. Mastery of mental/ emotional fundamentals and a great process does.

Myth: Mental & emotional training is too much like therapy, lying on a couch talking about my feelings.

Fact: Mental and emotional training in hockey is about high performance and developing performance skills. A great performance expert has a defined, quantifiable process that includes assessment, building detailed plans, communicating with coaches and using the latest technologies to help the hockey athlete improve. The work is done through conversation, watching, reviewing and planning at a convenient location or at the rink.

Why Mental/ Emotional High Performance Should Be Important to You


Forward thinking NHL executives like Brad Treliving understand the benefits of mental/ emotional high-performance development and that it’s the next frontier in hockey. His club is looking for players, in environments like the NHL combine, that have both physical and mental/ emotional capabilities …

“The mental aspect of the sport is 90 percent of it,” says Treliving. “Physical deficiencies can be addressed,” but he indicates mental skills can’t be so easily tweaked.

Players in the future will need a strong mental & emotional framework as hockey catches up to other sports and places more emphasis on what’s under the helmet.

Here are a just a few benefits of mental/emotional high-performance development that you might not have considered:

  1. Building self-awareness. Working with the world’s leading athletes everyday, one of the critical keys to sustainable high performance is the competency of self-awareness. When we assess athletes at all levels, results show that 8/10 performers do not have an adequate level of self-awareness to be a high performer. It therefore must be developed for a hockey player to maximize abilities. Development of self-awareness through hockey will also enable high performance in other areas of your life.

  2. Building confidence. What is confidence? How do you build it? How do you keep it? A great mental/emotional development plan will insure you understand confidence and you bring it with you every time you step on the ice!

  3. A clear path forward. A detailed, concise athlete plan is required including a vision for your hockey career and a plan in place to reach your targets. Most athletes have no plan, no fundamental structure, no defined path to reach targets and therefore most often get lost along the way and don’t reach targets.

  4. Awareness and regulation of emotion. Human beings are emotional. Often your emotions direct you and pull you in a variety of directions. Awareness and regulation of emotions is a key element in mental/emotional high-performance development. With development, emotions can be channeled in the right direction and used to maximize enjoyment and achievement.

  5. Building focus. We live in a world of distraction – phones, social media, big events, expectations. In order to maximize abilities, a level of mindfulness must be developed to centre the focus on what’s important. Mental/emotional high-performance development builds a new level of focus.

  6. Insuring enjoyment. The ultimate result of your hockey career is you enjoy yourself and have fun. Many players lose perspective of the primary reasons for playing and get caught up in traps that do not enable them to enjoy the sport.

So, what are you waiting for?

There are hockey players all over the world who have technical and physical talent – but they never reach their targets or gain full enjoyment from the sport. Be like players in the NHL who are now embracing mental & emotional development, building their mental & emotional muscles and achieving more.

I encourage you to be an early adopter and take the next step to maximize your hockey abilities – and more fully enjoy the sport you love. Be proactive and don’t wait for issues to arise. Take a developmental stance and build the skills to maximize your abilities and gain an edge over your competition. And, as a major added benefit, you’ll take these skills and become a high performer in everything you do!

2017 BTNL – HockeyShot Development Camp

Here we have NHL pros using HockeyShot’s Danglers in drills on-ice. Although they’re used mainly for stickhandling, players are also using them here to make their passing more challenging, and they can act as cones for players to manoeuvre around as well. A number of drills are being used in the video and shows the versatility of the HS products in many situations.

Another on ice (multi-player) drill shows us how passing with HockeyShot’s Extreme and Mini Danglers can prove very challenging in motion! More NHL pros are using these danglers to stickhandle quickly in between strides while also releasing and receiving passes in motion. HockeyShot products remind players to never watch your pass and keep moving!

This stickhandling drill with the HS Danglers emphasizes the importance of having light touch with the puck in tight spaces while going full speed. Players often stick handle to slow or too fast for their own good and that leads to losing possession. Dan’s intensive training starts at sunrise and ends at sunset so players make sure they get it right! Top-level players understand the need to continue intensive training even after the season.

Keeping with the on-ice training, we have more NHL pros using the Mini and Extreme Danglers in their drills. Here we have pros using their slick hands to sauce around the danglers before sniping one for the kids. The importance here is how they move at full speed while manoeuvring around them, and that they use their body to protect the puck while moving. In tight situations and working the corners, staying low to keep your centre of gravity and protecting the puck using your body is essential to fight off those big and slow defenders! For more info on HockeyShot products, check out their Instagram page @HockeyShotStore.

Finally, we have a behind the scenes look at Dan (at centre-ice recording) some drills using HockeyShot products. Remember, be careful sharing your on and off ice recordings. No one wants to slip or run into anyone mid recording so make sure you take all the right precautions. Thankfully Dan has the balance of a fox and didn’t slip on the ice (close though!), but always share with care 😉

The HockeyShot Playground – Where Men Become Boys

This Summer HockeyShot has teamed up with Professional Instructor, Dan Ninkovich to run his leading edge BTNL HockeyShot Development Camp. Beyond the Next Level is an innovative program and gym geared for top level hockey players. Let’s have a look at some video work in Dan’s newly renovated gym that includes HockeyShot’s training aids!

In our first video, HockeyShot gets a quick tour of Dan’s new facility. BTNL has renovated their gym and has added a complete setup of the HockeyShot Goal and Backstop along with the Extreme Shooter Tutor. As you can see, the NHL pros have beaten the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of the net the past few months while practicing shot-power, speed and accuracy day in and day out! For one-timers and passing development, there are HockeyShot Extreme Passer Pros on each corner that STILL rebound passes perfectly. Lastly, to add a more genuine feel to stick handling and shooting, Dan has also integrated HockeyShot’s Synthetic Ice for a smooth surface.

Here, HockeyShot got an inside look at the renovated facility for Beyond the Next Level. We’re able to see the state-of-the-art locker room that, with the help of sponsors like Pacific Rink and MuscleMilk, is fully loaded with a flat screen TV for video preparation, speakers, and plenty of room, even for a Ping-Pong table! What you are not able to see is the hot-tub around the corner which had players soaking in it.

This short video shows HockeyShot’s Mini Danglers in a square formation (can use in circle formation too) for an on ice warm up drill. This gets the creativity and hand-eye coordination flowing correctly before getting out in high tempo drills. Adjustable and high quality, this simple accessory will most definitely improve your dangles and dekes!

HockeyShot’s game-changing Synthetic Ice Panels are being used in this video where our player is stickhandling seamlessly with HS Mini Danglers as well as quick passes to the HS Extreme Passer Pro. The synthetic ice panels are very smooth giving players a near identical feel as the ice itself. Although he is in sneakers, you can skate on this surface! All HS products serve for flawless off ice training tools!

In this video, we have HockeyShot’s Extreme Danglers stacked on one another to make a Celtic Cross formation. The drill aims at improving stickhandling, hand eye coordination and speed. Mainly, it helps tremendously with speed in relation to hand-eye coordination as you need perfect touch in these tight spaces. Also, Dan loves to share videos and stories on Instagram so make sure to post and have a look for more on his page @deejbtnl

HockeyShot Passer Pros are a great way to practice not only one-timers, but also quick-release shots. In this video, we have an elite prospect using the Passer Pros in a quick release drill. On the HockeyShot Synthetic Ice this drill is seamless in transition and gives the shooter a similar feel to the challenge of releasing the puck nearly immediately after receiving it.

Finally, we have some youthful talent using two Extreme Danglers lined up in rows for a stickhandling drill that forces the player to not only sick handle but also transition in motion to the other Dangler. This challenging drill should be done at the player’s full speed to improve on hand eye and of course stickhandling speed. Don’t forget, share your videos with Dan on Instagram @deejbtnl

Working on Bad Angle Shots – Summer Skills Series

Jeremy Rupke is back with another Summer Skills Session! This is another off-season sniping drill for sharp angle shots where players can improve on speed and accuracy. Players like John Tavares and Phil Kessel don’t just wake up and snipe from impossible angles in game-time situations. They practice those situations constantly because they know that the only way to get those past the goaltender is by visualizing those open spaces at high tempo. There is no better way to do this than situational drills like this one. Jeremy provides a tweak in this bad angle shooting drill that will save the shooter from moving constantly and let’s them see realistic game-time angles that are challenging. He also shows two key sniper tips to improve on add that much more accuracy to your shot. Like Jeremy explains, players will quickly understand that the center area of the slot is often protected so the shooters must improvise. Tight-angled shots are something players have to get used to if they want to see the puck in the back of the net more often than seeing it rimmed around the boards and out the zone. Here, Jeremy explains how this drill works and why it will help your accuracy:

In the video, Jeremy (who shoots right) shows how tight-angle shots are possible with practice and if you want to pad your goal tally, tough angle shots are a must. From the left side, Jeremy starts with the right top corner, which is natural as he shoots right. Start with what you’re comfortable with, and then move on to more challenging angles (like the left corner for a right-handed shooter) afterwards. When Jeremy moves to the right side, it gets tougher for him because of his right hand shot. One easy tip that helps with the flow and accuracy of the shot is to toe the puck (control with the toe of your stick) and squaring your blade before the release. Dragging it closer to you adds accuracy and allows you to look at the target before the quick release. Jeremy also tweaked his speed of his release on the second round to add more speed to his shot. Putting more speed on the squared-release shot will add that much more accuracy to where you’re aiming. On your strong side tough-angled shots are more difficult so try this tip out!

Jeremy ends the video by explaining the importance of drill equipment. Unless you own a hockey rink, players are often at the mercy of paved driveways and garage doors, which usually doesn’t end well with the parents. Jeremy loves HockeyShot’s Products because they are in line with what coaches need for training – simple, adjustable, and high quality. If you’re looking for long lasting and innovative hockey accessories, then have a look at for products that are guaranteed to give you the edge in off and on ice training!

Scientific Method of Shooting Pucks – Summer Skills Series

Welcome to Summer Skills Sessions! Jeremy Rupke (How to Hockey) is here with HockeyShot and True Hockey every Saturday to drop a new video on offseason drills, tips and challenges for all players! Rupke wants you, fellow snipers, to join him in some awesome summer off-ice drills that players can use in their own training. In this first edition, Jeremy shows us a simple yet efficient drill for all shooters to implement in their training to improve shot accuracy and add more goals to the stat sheet. Just like in a game, this drill puts the shooter in realistic locations that with practice, a shooter can improve on accuracy and strength. In the video, Jeremy explains not only the drill and why it helps, but also the science of how our brains calculate accuracy and why it is important to vary distances. Let’s watch and listen Jeremy’s hockey instructions:

As you can see, Rupke explains through scientific case studies how improved accuracy does not necessarily mean focusing on the exact distance you’re targeting to improve. Instead, research in sports science suggests shooting closer and further away from the actual target is more impactful than shooting at the direct target location over and over again. For example, if you’re target distance is 10 feet, Rupke suggests shooting from 5 and 15 feet away, to force your brain to adapt to the varying distances instead of just one “perfect” spot (i.e. the slot). In a sport as fast as hockey, you’re chances of getting constant slot opportunities will dissipate with age and level of skill. That’s why it is essential to train your brain and adapt to real game-time situations. Here Jeremy is using the above dimensions to practice his accuracy. He uses roughly 5-9 pucks in each location and fires them at various locations, not just one. A shooter should never resort to only one go-to!

In Jeremy’s case, he was solid in close but he could work on his accuracy for 15-foot shots. To improve on that, Jeremy knows his target distances should be even further (20-25 feet) so it forces his mind and muscles to adapt to the variety of possible game-time scenarios. Varying your shot type with wrist shots as well as slap shots will also add to the difficulty. If you’re looking to turn that shot into a snipe, then try this simple trick that is guaranteed to improve on your shot’s accuracy and power!

Jeremy also had an array of very helpful products from HockeyShot. HockeyShot’s Shooter Tutor is perfect for this drill as it provides the shooter with 11 realistic scoring options. It also has a tough elastic material that provides realistic rebounds! For an even more authentic feel, HockeyShot’s Dryland Flooring Tiles give the player an improved surface that adds to the challenge. And let’s face it; we all can’t be snipers overnight and as a result you’re going to be chasing after those biscuits more than shooting them. To avoid that, HockeyShot’s Goal and Backstop is the perfect net to protect your home, garage, cars and even neighbours. The net is extremely easy to install and the backdrop provides great protection. Last but not least, picking up all those pucks can get tiring if you’re firing on all cylinders. To solve that problem Jeremy uses the handy HockeyShot Sauce Catcher that can act as a puck bag (easily holds up to 40) when you’re not using it for saucer passes!

Must Have Hockey Training Gear of 2017

For hockey enthusiasts like us, it could be 38°C (100°F for our American friends) with the humidity in July, or -38°C (-36°F) in February; we’re always looking for opportunities to pass and shoot the puck! You can’t always gather enough friends for a game of 3 on 3, and sometimes your kid sister is the most talented kid in the neighborhood to strap on the goalie pads. If you’ve got the right gear, then it’s game on, right?

… Unless you’re playing road hockey, and a CAR comes. First, you let it pass. Then it’s game on again!

The HockeyShot team, with help from our loyal customers and friends voted for our top products for 2017. Take a read through our list – these products are proven effective for rookies and pros alike.

HS Synthetic Ice Revolution Tiles

Just because the hockey season is over, and the pond thawed a couple of months ago doesn’t mean you can’t strap on your skates and play shinny with your buddies. Our Synthetic Ice Revolution Tiles are lightweight, snap together fast, and don’t need any lubrication – you can skate on them right out of the box. If you lay Revolution Tiles out in your garage for rainy days, you can park your car right on them. Don’t risk leaving your 1971 Mustang Sports-roof (A.K.A. Eleanor) outside at night – somebody might take it for a 60-second joy ride!

You don’t need to set up boards for a friendly game – you can keep the puck in play with our Puck Stopper Edging. Whether it’s hot or cold outside, you can practice power skating, stopping, take shots on net and feel like you’re skating on a smooth sheet of ice. Want more details on Synthetic Revolution Ice Tiles? Jump on this link for a demonstration video, dimensions, and answers to some of the questions our customers asked before they bought their set of tiles.

hockey skatable tiles

Both the tiles and edging are available with quantity discounts, so the bigger your synthetic ice surface, the more you save. The tiles are 18” x 18” in terms of coverage area, and about a half an inch thick, for a durable surface to practice.

HS Dryland Flooring Tiles – Allstar Edition

We’ve been selling Dryland Flooring tiles for quite a while now, and we’ve sold a lot of them. Since they’re so popular, we’ve raised the quality bar even higher with the Allstar Edition. You don’t have to be an elite hockey player or skater to use them, but it will help you down the road to being one. You won’t lose the use of your basement if you install these tiles on the floor because they are resistant to stick handling and textured for resilience. Also makes for a great rec-room surface.

hockey training surface

Whether you set up your tiles in your garage, basement, or the gym at school – these Allstar Edition Flooring Tiles are good for inside, outside and are weather-resistant. They assemble fast so you can spend less time building your practice surface, and more time training to be an all-star when you can’t get to the arena. You don’t need to smear liquids or goops on these tiles, they are ready for use once fastened together, with or without the Puck Stopper Edging.

Here’s a link to find out more about these Allstar Dryland Flooring tiles

HS Extreme Hockey Radar

Do you ever get tired of neighborhood kids walking by when you’re taking shots on net in your driveway? You know the type, they say “Gosh, Mister, how fast was that shot? You must have been in the NHL, or something. I’ve never seen anyone shoot that hard!” Whether you are tired of that, or maybe you wish they would start saying that, the Extreme Hockey Radar is a great way to showcase your shooting prowess.

You could be sniping shots alone, or maybe you’re a coach training your team to score more goals. Either way, the bright LED display and announcement features make it easy to discover your shot speed, and the speed recall feature lets you compare up to ten shots to track or compare your progress vs other players.

multi sports radar

Want to see how the Extreme Hockey Radar device works, with its sturdy tripod and bold digital display? Here’s a link, but you’ll have to check your internet speed somewhere else, our radar’s for hockey pucks and lacrosse balls.

HS Slide Board Pro

To build up your leg muscles, enhance your balance and endurance, and improve your skating skills, you can’t go wrong with the Slide Board Pro. It’s fun to use, adjustable to different lengths, and comes with a cool set of booties for extra slide-y goodness. You read that right – bootie, bootie, booties!

The Slide Board Pro iis a great way to practice your stride in your hotel before a game, in the lobby before a game, and in front of the fridge after a game. There are many workouts you can source from our friend Jeremy Rupke at How to Hockey, so you can increase your leg strength, balance, agility and even muscles in your core and arms. Get the deets on the Slide Board Pro, and its big brothers the G1 Extreme Slide Board and G1 Goaltender Edition Slide Board.

hockey slide board

If you want to improve your skating technique and power, we have Slide Boards in all sorts of shape and sizes. You can add passing kits and other accessories too for a more comprehensive workout.

DIY & Mini Sauce Combos

If you want to work on your shot targeting, hacking away at a regulation sized net with a standard puck or a biscuit is pretty limiting. If you dragged a regular net to your local park, you’ll have lots of fun, but who wants to drag a big net home when your arms are rubbery from sniping shots for hours?

Or if you’re playing on your driveway on asphalt, your stick will be a tape shredded, wood-splintered mess in no time. Our DIY Sauce Combo and Mini Sauce Combo sets include a shooting pad to protect your stick, the Sauce Catcher to catch your pucks, a lightweight biscuit and a set of HockeyShot standard pucks. At poolside? Rock the Mini Sauce Combo and shoot biscuits into the Sauce Catcher. Try that with your regulation net, and you’ll have to play scuba hockey. At the campground, beach or the cottage? Bring your Sauce Kit for hours of fun. Think you’d do that with your traditional net? Not likely.

hockey sauce kit

Improve your sharpshooting skills with the Puck Catcher and play games like Hockey Golf, H-O-R-S-E or just impress your friends with your speed and accuracy. Got a family barbecue coming up? Everyone will want you to bring the DIY Sauce Combo, and you’ll get out of doing dishes!

Do you agree that these products are the best hockey training gear for your needs? If you’ve found something else which has raised your on-ice or off-ice training routine, let us know. We love hockey as much as you do, and we want to continue to bring you the equipment and advice which helps you meet your playing performance goals. We will see you on social media!

Great Slide Board Workouts… Even if You Don’t Play Hockey!

If you’re reading this article, you’ve likely got a friend or family member who plays hockey and owns
one of HockeyShot’s Slide Boards. You may have admired how agile they are, or the muscle tone
they’ve developed on their legs since they bought it. In any case, HS Slide Boards provide hours of
fun and fitness for any athlete to enjoy.

Here are five exercise routines you can do with any of our Slide Boards, suited for any lifestyle. Pull
on your booties and get ready to sweat. If you’d like some help with these, click on the various links
throughout the article to see a YouTube video from Bench Boss, Jeremy Rupke. The “How to
Hockey” and “The Hockey Movement” marvel is well-known for helping customers get all that they
need out of their training, so allow him to demonstrate:

1. Speed Skater/ Dab Slide

If you’ve watched speed skating during the Olympics or World Championships, or if you know the
Dab pose, you’ll pick this drill up quickly. Start off on the Slide Board with one foot flush against a
bumper and the other foot on the Slide Board runway. Push off across the slippery surface, bend
your knees slightly, and glide until the inside foot ends up against the other bumper. Sway your arms
conservatively as if you were skating. If you have a medicine ball, you can carry that and sway it
towards the opposite bumper as you slide.

Hardcore Advanced Drill:

While you glide, swing your arms until the inside arm ends up bent under your neck, and extend your outward arm in an upward angle. Maybe pretend you’re Batman, pulling up his cape as you glide. This will help you balance and have a few laughs. Repeat this movement as you glide back and forth across the Slide Board. Push off with more force and speed as you build confidence and balance. You have about eight to ten feet to cover from bumper to bumper, so you can build some good momentum.

2. Mountain Climbers

For this move, you can place your hands on the floor (or on the bumper) at one end of the Slide Board. Crouch over the bumper, and pretend you are a sprinter setting up in the starting blocks. Then, rise, up on your toes and start sliding each foot back and forward alternately, ending in a full leg extension each time. You wouldn’t make a great mountain climber doing this, but you’d get a good workout.

Hardcore Advanced Drill:

Push both feet out, then pull them in at the same time. Feel the burn in your core and you’ll know you’re doing it right.

3. The Tantrum Drill

If you have ever taken a four-year-old child to a toy store and didn’t buy them everything in sight, you may have seen them perform this drill. Lie flat on the Slide Board, with your arms spread out to your sides. Next, draw your feet towards your butt, and push your pelvis skyward. Then, slide back to the starting position. Repeat multiple times for a good workout. The further apart your arms, the more work it will be. Try one legged drills for more exercise.

Hardcore Advanced Drill:

Take your child (hopefully they’re grown up now) and your Slide Board to that same toy store. Do the drill as described above, while shouting, “I want action figures! I want a new bike!” Feel free to substitute the script with Hockeyshot products.

4. Gravity Challenged Pullups

Lie face down on the Slide Board, and grip the bumper as if it were a chin up bar. Point your toes and keep your forearms against the floor as you prop yourself parallel to the floor. Simulate a pull-up as you slide up and down as if you were doing a natural pull-up. The further out you push before pulling up, the harder it gets.

Hardcore Advanced Drill:

Have someone place a cat, small dog or human being on your back. Make sure you capture their facial expression as you complete the drill. Ensure the pet is declawed before trying this.

5. Preacher Reverse One Legged Lunges

For this drill stand about midway up the Slide Board, with your arms bent, and almost in a prayer position. Slide a foot slowly backwards, with your leg slightly bent as far as you are comfortable while maintaining balance. Alternate legs and do as many reps as you are able.

Hardcore Advanced Drill:

If you aren’t married, do this drill in front of your girlfriend or boyfriend with a ring box in your hand. Their love for you will dictate how hardcore this drill is.

Remember, these exercise routines are a great way to make the best of your Slide Board Pro, or if your sibling or roommate has one in your home. You will improve your balance, agility, muscle tone and knowledge of how much you need to vacuum your home.

Hockey Skills: 5 Exercise Regimens to Elevate Your Game

To excel in a fast, endurance-testing game like hockey, you need to adopt and stick to a comprehensive exercise routine. Activities like couch luge, TV-to-fridge sprints and laundry hamper 3-point shooting are fun, but they really won’t improve your hockey game. You need to schedule time to:

  1. Build strength in key muscle groups
  2. Increase your aerobic fitness so you can play hard, even in overtime
  3. Improve your balance and stability
  4. Enhance your ability to skate hard from a stand-still
  5. Condition your body to resist injury and heal from it


Though it may seem like a tall order to get all of this knowledge from a single article, you’ll find links to other resources where you can find detailed instructions on how to complete these exercises. Some of these resources are right here on the HockeyShot website, others are from trusted sources. Grab a bottle of water and make sure you’re wearing your workout gear, because we’re about to take you through your paces.

1. Hockey Strength Training

To skate fast, shoot hard and evade the opposing team, you need to build strength and flexibility in your shoulders, arms, chest, abs, core, legs and glutes. You also need to build emotional and mental strength, but we’ve saved that for another article. You’re probably tired already since I’ve mentioned just about every muscle group, but hockey’s that kind of game. Make sure you start with a good warm up, including:

  • Arm swings and circles
  • Trunk rotations, twists and stretches
  • Walking lunges, prisoner squats and leg swings
  • Burpees and stride jumps
  • Medicine ball tosses and cross crawls

If your heart skipped a beat when you read prisoner squats, don’t worry. They are an excellent way to warm up your quads before strength conditioning. There are video demonstrations of these exercises available at the “warm up” link above.

To actually build strength and explosive power, you’ll want to follow a plyometric exercise routine and use free weights and resistance equipment. In many cases, you can use everyday objects around your home, at school or even at the office.

There are many different exercises and devices to build a stronger shot, stronger skating strides and stronger arm strength with dumbbells for building up stick flexion, grip strength for stick control and for goalies, stronger quads for those acrobatic stops in the crease.

2. Aerobic Fitness

Keeping your heart and lungs fit for the hockey season doesn’t necessarily require a gym membership or an expensive treadmill in your home. Find a public building like a football stadium with a set of stairs you can run at your own pace. Take up jogging, ride your sister’s bike, or take a hike in the forest when your sister finds out you’ve been riding her bike.

Building up respiratory and circulatory health is important for hockey fitness, and variety keeps you engaged. Former Toronto Maple Leaf’s forward Gary Roberts now trains pros like Connor McDavid and Steven Stamkos. In an article in the Toronto Star, Gary said: “it’s important to have variety in your workout, to eat right while being consistent with scheduling. A good mix of sprints and endurance running is good for hockey agility, speed and resilience for extended shifts.”

3. Balance & Stability

When you are streaking down the ice as fast as Gary Roberts could back in the day, keeping on your blades requires excellent balance and stability. As kids grow into adolescence and adulthood, maintaining balance in their growing body and hormone-pumping brain requires a lot of practice. On the ice, players can work on edge training and shooting the duck (gliding on one foot) but off-ice they can do single-leg step ups and Russian dead lifts.

You’ll find many balance, edgework and stability exercises from our friend Jeremy Rupke on his coaches page.

4. Skating from a Standstill or a Turn

Whether you are taking a penalty shot, or a reacting to the drop of the puck at center ice, building the ability to skate fast from a standstill is important for fast acceleration. Just like you need a powerful engine with lots of horsepower for a car to go from 0-60 MPH quickly, players need a strong heart and leg muscles to be able burst into a fast skate. Using equipment like the Slide Board Pro can build the quads and calf muscles needed to skate hard and fast, both going straight or changing directions.


5. Avoiding, Preventing & Healing Injuries

There are many precautions hockey players can take, exercises they can do, and lifestyle habits they can adopt to prevent injury, or heal from it faster if it happens. They include:

  • Keeping your head up on the ice, and generally exercising safely, at your own pace
  • Ensuring you are hydrated, rested and following a nutrition plan
  • Wearing protective equipment and exercising caution when on synthetic ice, slide boards or practicing slap shots.
  • Protect others with a hockey tarp or backstop.
  • Seeing a physician for or a fitness trainer to get an assessment of your baseline fitness, existing injuries and setting realistic goals/workout regimens

Healing from minor injuries can be helped by rest, heating or cooling pads, and doctor-prescribed medication. Having an RMT, or your significant other massage your back to comfort are both good options (return the favor).

There are many ways a comprehensive exercise program can help you be a better hockey player, a better teammate and a healthier person overall. If you need help finding hockey fitness equipment or training tips to help you build your hockey skills, contact our knowledgeable experts today:

Taking Your Skills Beyond the Next Level!

With Professional Instructor, Dan Ninkovich

Off-season training is an absolute must to make it to the next level. Like most sports, rigorous training and the development of fundamental skills are becoming the norm with the influx of competition both at a national and international level. Dan Ninkovich is one of the leaders in competitive, high-end training for not only the up and coming prospects of tomorrow in the CHL and NCAA (Division 1), but at the NHL level as will with the likes of John Tavares, Phil Kessel, and many more. Beyond The Next Level training is designed with Ninkovich’s expertise.

Based in Oakville, Ontario, BTNL caters to the serious-minded players wanting to get to the next level and maximize their potential. Providing sport-specific motions in strength training and drills, along with professional rehabilitation for the body’s muscles combine for a comprehensive and personalized regiment that hockey players require. With his vast experience and professional accolades, Ninkovich is one of the most qualified trainers on the globe specifically for hockey players. He combines demanding training with a focus on the very motions players use in game-time situations. The science is clear and practical: using core strength exercises and drills with in-game motions to build on dexterity and power.

Ninkovich also incorporates HockeyShot products within most of the training. HockeyShot is undeniably the complimentary piece to many of Ninkovich’s training since they’re industry-leading products gives players the proper on and off-ice training needed. Whether for warm-ups or demanding training, HockeyShot has the product.

Check out some of the videos below to see a glimpse of CHL and NCAA players integrating HS in their training:

Here, Jesse Barwell is using the HS Extreme Dangler on the ice for warming up. This piece can be used on and off the ice as well as the HockeyShot Synthetic Ice. A great product for improving stickhandling speed and accuracy!

This OHL player shows us the importance of footwork and stamina in the one-handed focus drill using the HS Extreme Dangler and Puck. He has adjusted the moveable center legs to provide a wider gap, while using evenly spaced sticks to keep his footwork honest. The variety of drills players can utilize with the Dangler is endless!

This NCAA Division 1 Goalie is using the HS Slide Board Pro to develop in-game motions and timing from post-to-post. Goaltending is demanding in angling, precision and the constancy of up-and-down movements, so working on these in-game motions is essential to build on stamina.

Using Grip Strength to Develop Your Shot

The funny thing about a shot is that there is no guaranteed way you can look at a player and know right away if he has a hard shot or not.

Sure, if he looks pretty muscular you can start to think he might have a howitzer.

On the other hand, if a player is super skinny you can get the idea that he/she is unlikely to have a hard shot.

But the thing is, you just don’t know. Sometimes those big guys have pretty standard shots, and there are plenty of smaller guys out there on the ice that have an absolute rocket of a shot. I’m sure a few are already coming to mind for you right now.

hockey shot training area

A lot of this comes down to technique (of course), and hand grip strength.

Those guys who appear small but have an excellent shot normally have crushing grip strength. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a strength coach and nutrition specialist and have worked with a lot of professional athletes in my career. Last summer, I was running a crew of both NFL and NHL players through some offseason training in California and was blown away by one player’s grip strength.

This guy is a well-known name in the hockey world and from a “gym strength” perspective, you could say he was pretty average. Average on the bench, squat, deadlifts, row, etc. Keep in mind average for a pro-athlete is a different definition of average, but, what blew me away was two things:

  1. How hard his shot was
  2. How his grip strength far exceeded every other hockey player there, and even every single one of the NFL players there who were 250lbs+

That was incredible. I have already written extensively about the mechanics of grip strength and how that can improve your hockey shot power in several blog posts, spoken about it in some YouTube videos, and even made a full hockey specific program around strengthening your grip to create massive increases in shot power. One summer, we had a player contact us that he improved his shot power 10mph by the end of his offseason.

But, even with all the work I had done in this area this was the craziest example that I had seen of it. Studying something and seeing it work are two dramatically different areas for sports development. A geek in a lab can tell you a lot about muscle, but a well experienced coach knows what really works and what really doesn’t.

Today, I want to give you a free hand grip workout that is going to translate into you having a harder shot. It will be run in two different complexes:

  • Complex 1 will be for your hand specific strength.
  • Complex 2 will be for your forearm specific strength.

Complex 1

  • A1: Plate pinchers x 20secs
  • A2: Hex DB holds x 20secs
  • A3: BB hold x 20secs
  • Rest 2mins, repeat circuit 3 times.

Complex 2

  • B1: EZ bar levering x 6-8 reps per hand
  • B2: Behind the back BB wrist curls x 6-8
  • B3: Pronated grip seated BB wrist curls x 6-8
  • Rest 2mins, repeat circuit 3 times.

You can perform this workout 2-3 days per week, I recommend performing it at the end of your workouts as a “finisher” due to the fact that having a burnt-out grip would affect all your other lifts if you did it first. You might have to get your daughter to help you open jars the day after this one.

shooting pad

But, any good coach and any good player knows that performance feedback is a must to make sure you know that what you are doing is having a positive impact on your performance, which is why I recommend picking up the HockeyShot Professional Shooting Pad and the HockeyShot Extreme Hockey Radar to both practice and measure your shooting power this offseason. Without data you’re just hoping your training is working, with these tools you can take the guesswork out of your offseason and become a better hockey player for it.