Lessons Learned In Dryland Training Translate To The Ice

Emily West

Like it or not, we are living in an era when kids spend more time in front of a computer, television and smart phone than they do playing outside with their friends. With so many schools cutting recess and gym class from the curriculum, it's important that coaches incorporate regular dryland training sessions into their seasonlong practice plans.

Any chance hockey coaches have to get kids up and moving is a good thing. Even the most basic exercises can help our young athletes develop their overall athleticism, which will pay dividends on the ice.   

Keep it simple. Dryland training sessions don't have to be long or complicated ordeals, especially at younger ages. A 30-minute session is sufficient to get your players moving. You don't want to turn practice into a three-hour session for players, parents or coaches. 

Keep it consistent. It's important to create a regular schedule so that your players know that dryland training happens at the same time and place every week so that as soon as mom and dad drop them off at the rink they are ready to go. They know it's going to be 30 minutes of dryland and then get dressed and hit the ice.

Bring the energy. Whether it's a dryland training session or an on-ice practice, players feed off a coach's energy. You don't want to turn dryland training into Marine Corps boot camp. There are a ton of age-appropriate drills and fun games you can do that will have your players working hard, but doing so with a smile on their faces.

Go with the flow. Don't be set in your ways. If you notice that your players aren't responding to a drill or seem to be dragging, don't be afraid to mix it up. It's also a good idea to get your players involved in creating some fun drills and activities. That creates energy and a fun environment so they don't feel like they're just doing something because they're told to do it. 

Never one and done. If you want to see results and help improve athleticism it has to be consistent throughout the season. You can't just run dryland training the first couple of weeks and then drop it. This can be a challenge as you reach the dog days of the season and everyone is dragging a bit, but this is when you have to be at your creative best.

Make them want to be there. Don't make your dryland training sessions mandatory, especially for the younger ages. If you make it fun your players will want to come out early for dryland training and buy into the process.

Emily West is an ADM manager for female hockey.




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