The game of Hockey has changed a lot over the years. What started as a simple pastime with few materials, has evolved into the action-packed sport we have today. And building that level of skill requires the right hockey training equipment.
This article will show you everything you need. From the basics to buy when you’re just starting out, to the intense stuff you’ll need if you want to become a pro. Including tips for how to use it all.
Read on for your list of must-have hockey training equipment for both offensive and defensive skills!
If you’re starting from scratch, there are two pieces of hockey training equipment that should be your first purchases.
1. A Hockey Goal
No hockey training equipment set is complete without something to shoot on. But you don’t want to buy just anything. Finding a standard-issue hockey goal will completely change your training game.
When you practice on the right-sized net, you ingrain the dimensions into your muscle memory. Over time, the angles of your shots and the speed of your wrap-arounds will become second nature.
If you have the room to set-up the area around your hockey goal to replicate the boards, even better. Ensuring your training mirrors the game environment is the best way to improve your on-ice skills.
2. Pucks vs Balls
Next, you’re going to need something to shoot with. Just like the net, you’re going to want pucks that give you the most realistic on-ice feeling possible.
Whether you’re training on paved roads or wood flooring, a dryland training puck is definitely your best option. This lightweight puck with built-in ball bearings creates a smooth, icy glide for your training.
A ball might seem like a good alternative, but the different shape and movement patterns will end up hurting your game. The bigger size will naturally keep your stick face open. Which will leave the puck open for poke checks in a game.
Stick Handling Must-Haves
Generally, hockey training equipment can be broken down into just a few basic categories. Stick handling is one of the most important ones. And the items listed below are your best bet for improving it.
3. Synthetic Ice
Synthetic ice may seem like a luxury, but it’s an essential part of your hockey training equipment. And there’s no better option out there than Polyglide. With their home ice-tiles kit, you can create a portable, indoor rink in seconds.
This one purchase will enhance every other piece of equipment you have. You’ll be able to practice with your skates on, with real pucks, in the convenience of your own home. Turning even basic training exercises into professional-level practices.
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Stickhandling is a skill that requires versatility. And the best way to become versatile is with obstacles like Danglers.
In their most basic form, danglers are specially-made cones with holes where you can insert aluminum bars. Depending on the amount you have, you can set up different courses for you to pass the puck around. More importantly, they give you something for your stick to avoid while doing it.
Unlike a basic cone, danglers will turn your stick into a second appendage. You’ll learn exactly how high to lift it to avoid your opponent and exactly where to place it to catch the puck afterward.
5. Balance Board
Balance boards on their own are a great way to improve your agility. Add in some stickhandling moves to bring a whole other level to your hockey training.
The board forces you to work your whole body as you’re stickhandling. Your concentration will be split between your center of gravity, as you flex and reposition your weight to stay standing, and the location of your equipment.
Practicing like this will give you the quick movements needed to get past your opponent and keep your eye on the puck. It won’t matter if you’re mid-fall or have both skates planted firmly on the ice, you’ll always be able to keep your stick on the puck.
Having a hockey goal might seem like the only hockey training equipment you need to improve your shooting skills. But there’s a lot more that goes into a good hockey shot than just hitting the net.
6. Net Tarp
A net tarp is a heavy mat that can be strung in front of your hockey goal. It usually has a picture of a goalie on it with holes along the sides and throughout the middle. The design is meant to cover the parts of the net that a goalie would normally occupy.
Getting a standard target that you can clip to your hockey goal will help with basic aim training. But only a net tarp will teach you which areas of the net are a goalie’s weak spots. And that’s where you should always be aiming for.
Once those spots become second nature, the likelihood of the puck getting past the goalie will increase exponentially.
Passers can be used to simply practice puck receival. But adding this piece of hockey training equipment to your shooting exercises will completely change your quick release.
A few passes back and forth before you shoot will teach you how to track the puck. And, as you get better and faster, you’ll be able to learn how to fire off a slapshot from a pass like nothing.
It also helps you practice moving from a passing stance into a shooting stance. Learning these changes will speed up your play and allow you to focus more on the aim and strength of your shot instead of what to do with your body.
8. Stick Weight
Lastly, a stick weight is the best piece of hockey training equipment for building your strength. If every shooting exercise is done with the weight, your shots are gonna be harder and faster in no time.
That doesn’t mean you should do all your stickhandling drills with it. It’s meant for strength not technique. If you get used to the weight, it’ll mess with your dexterity and you’ll start passing the puck too hard or lifting your stick too high.
The weight is for exercises that include nothing but shot after shot. Push yourself hard and focus on your aim and follow-through as you build the muscle.
When it comes to goalie training, there is some specific hockey training equipment you’ll want to get. But don’t overlook additions like synthetic ice, balance boards, and passers for goalie stickhandling exercises.
9. Leg Pad Sleeves
A goalie’s ability to move within and around their net can be a game-changer. Especially when it comes to beating the pesky wrap-around. And leg pad sleeves are the best equipment for practicing those movements.
The sleeves cover your entire pad to recreate the feeling of sliding on actual ice. With any smooth, hard surface you’ll be able to learn the exact force needed to get from one end of the net to the other and how to quickly recover your stance.
Leg pad sleeves will also help with your butterfly technique. Keeping your form tight and square to the puck on slippery ice takes practice. But these pads will soon make saving even rapid-fire shots seem easy.
10. Puck Tethers
As a goalie, training on your own can be hard. Especially when you want to practice your reflexes and catching. And tossing a ball against the wall doesn’t really recreate the quick response needed to save a slapshot in a game.
The addition of a tethered puck to your hockey training equipment will change that. With your blocker and catcher on, tie one end of the tether to your torso. Then you’ll be able to alternate hitting the puck away and catching it again.
If that still feels too easy, shorten your tether to speed up the training. Or challenge yourself to stay in different goalie stances for the entire exercise. You can also do a stick only drill to practice batting away the puck like a baseball.
Must-Have Pieces of Hockey Training Equipment: Summed Up
A full set of hockey training equipment might take a while to build. But, when it’s complete, it should definitely include these training must-haves. By providing the most accurate on-ice feel possible, this gear will have you playing like a pro in no time!
If you’re looking to perfect your hockey game in the off-season with a personalized weekly training schedule, check out our Complete Guide to at Home Hockey Training!