Hockey Dryland Training is an awesome way to improve your agility, acceleration, and conditioning without requiring ice or gym equipment. Dryland training refers to off ice training that can literally be done in any field or backyard, and can be supplementary to your weight lifting or on ice training programs.
If you’re a coach looking to use hockey dryland training before or during the season, the most important thing to consider is you need drills that are directly transferable to on ice skills. While running 5 miles will help improve your aerobic conditioning, a hockey shift is typically less than 1 minute long and requires high intensity anaerobic conditioning.
In this guide, we’re going to break down some of our favorite dryland training drills for agility, acceleration, and conditioning to help you put together your ideal hockey workout program. While hockey weight training programs are different for players depending on their age, hockey dryland drills are the same for players of all ages and skill levels.
Hockey Dryland Training Drills for Agility
One great aspect of off ice hockey agility training is that players of all skating abilities can easily improve from the same drills, where that is more difficult to manage for different caliber players on the ice. A huge aspect of hockey agility is reactionary, as the game is totally dynamic and players must react quickly to an infinite number of different scenarios.
Two Player Mirror Box
This is a really easy yet effective reactionary agility drill that can be done with essentially no equipment and just two players! In order to set this drill up, you will need to mark off two “boxes” as shown in the diagram below. You can adjust the size of the boxes, with smaller boxes the focus is more on quickness whereas bigger boxes will allow more speed.
The goal of this drill is for player 2 to mirror the movement of player 1, and the only rules are you can only move forwards, backwards, side to side, and you cannot leave the marked off area of your box. This dryland training drill is perfect for agility and conditioning, plus you can adjust the interval times anywhere from 15 – 45 seconds. After each interval, the players will switch who is mirroring and who is leading the drill. We suggest the following outline for this drill, which each player leading and mirroring once for each step and the rest period comes after each interval:
- 2X – 15 second intervals with 15 second rest period
- 2X – 30 second intervals with 30 second rest period
- 1X – 45 second intervals with 30 second rest period
- 1X – 30 second intervals with 30 second rest period
- 2X – 15 second intervals with 15 second rest period
This drill forces the player “mirroring” to keep his head up the entire time and react to the movements of the other player. With younger players, you may want to keep the interval times between 15-30 seconds as 45 seconds may prove to be too long for their stamina.
Two Footed Hops Dryland Drill
One of the most common dryland training agility drills for hockey players is two footed hops, where you set up pylons about 3 feet apart from eachother for the player to jump over. The key to this drill is to spring off the ground without stopping and planting your feet. So as soon as your feet hit the ground, your knees should bend quickly and pop off to jump over the next pylon.
In the beginner setup, the player will jump over 6 pylons in a row, faceing to the right. In the advanced drill, the player will have more pylons set up and the player must always face to the right even for the jumps that are sideways, diagonal, or backwards. This words on not just your forwards and backwards agility, but side to side as well.
With the advanced and beginner setup, you can have as many or as few pylons as you choose but we would recommend going with at least 5. The other thing you can vary is how far apart they are spaced, for younger players we recommend 1.5 – 3 foot spacing and for older players it is recommended not to go lower than 3 feet between each pylon.
This is an excellent training drill for working on your agility, as you don’t want to plant you feet on the ground and instead explode after each landing. If you want to challenge yourself, you can do these timed so you can see the improvement after each dryland training session!
Hockey Dryland Training Drills for Acceleration
Improving your acceleration on the ice is a combination of building power and becoming more explosive! Since skating is such a different movement than running, you can’t train the exact same way as players in other sports like football, baseball, or basketball. We’re going to run through some of our top hockey dryland training drills for acceleration that are easy to do on your own.
Skaters Hop with Knee Down Drill
The skaters hop hockey training drill is the perfect exercise that doesn’t require much space and can easily be done on your own! This dryland training drill builds power and strength in your quads while keeping your calves engaged with explosive movements.
- Line up in a skaters stance with your feet shoulder width apart, knees bent, and your head up
- With your knees bent, lunge straight out to your left or right side, keeping your feet pointed forward the entire time
- You want to land entirely on your outside foot, and bring your inside knee down to the ground. The outside foot would be the right foot if you are lunging right, and the left foot if you are lunging to the left.
- After you land, you’ll have one knee on the ground and the outside foot planted
- From here you will lunch in the other direction, using your outside foot to apply all the force
- Repeat 5 reps per side, with 4-5 sets
This dryland training drills works specifically on developing explosive hockey movements, which can directly translate to your skating stride. The important thing with this drill is to get low to the ground on the landing and keep your hips engaged so you can explode quickly as far in the opposite direction as possible. This is one of our favorite hockey dryland drills to improve your acceleration on the ice!
One Leg Hip Press Drill
This hockey training drill can be utilized for many sports, but it focuses on two key area that are essential for a hockey player to work on; the hips and the glutes. With skating being such a unique motion, the muscles you need to strengthen are very specific to improve your acceleration.
Getting stronger in the glute and hips is essential for improving acceleration on the ice, and the one leg hip press dryland drill is a perfect exercise to add to your training workouts.
- Lay on the ground, flat on your back with your knees bent and touching your glutes. Your feet should be planted squarely on the ground, spaced shoulder width apart.
- Using one leg, drive your heel into the ground and push your hips into the air until you make a “bridge”.
- Hold at the top for 3 seconds before slowly letting yourself back to the ground
- Switch legs and repeat
- Recommended 5 reps each leg, for 5 sets
This simple yet effective hockey training drill can be done almost anywhere as it only requires enough space so you can lay flat on the ground. Its a perfect drill for players of all ages, as it uses body weight resistance so it is totally safe and you don’t have to worry about what weights to choose.
Hockey Dryland Training Drills for Conditioning
The most effective drills will utilize explosive movements and not focus strictly on conditioning, while forcing the players to exert forceful energy as you would in a game. So sprinting drills should be accompanied by both accelerations and deceleration, while also forcing the player to move like he would in a hockey game.
The Diamond Sprints Drill
The diamond sprinting drill is a unique hockey training drill as it doesn’t focus solely on conditioning, but also strengthening key muscles that will help your skating on the ice. Players will complete high intensity, full speed intervals that require side to side movement, as well as forward and backwards acceleration.
This is designed to work specifically on anaerobic conditioning, but it has the added benefit of improving your acceleration and lateral strength!
- Start at the bottom pylon and sprint as fast as you can to the middle of the diamond (point 1) and come to a complete stop
- High step cross-over to the second pylon on the right (point 2) and come to a complete stop, stay facing forwards the entire time and keep your core steady
- Repeat step 2 to the other side the diamond (point 2), stop, and high step back to the middle (point 4)
- Sprint forwards as fast as possible to the top of the diamond (point 5) and come to a complete stop.
- Continue facing forwards and sprint backwards to the bottom of the diamond (point 6)
- Take a 10-15 second break or let your teammate go, and repeat 8-10 times
There is a lot of flexibility with this hockey training drill, as you can make the pylons spaced closer together (minimum 15 yards from the center) and do more reps or space them out further and decrease the repetitions. Its a great workout for your conditioning and also increasing acceleration with the stops and high steps crossovers.
Wrapping Up our Hockey Dryland Training Guide
We’ve gone through some of our top hockey dryland training drills out of an endless number of things you can do off ice, to improve your game on the ice. If you have any questions or want a more in depth dryland training guide customized to player specific needs, please reach out or leave us a comment below!