Training hockey player

Published on February 11th, 2014 | by Joe Starks

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Exercise Spotlight: Hockey

We know that far back in human history there were games played that resemble modern hockey. Using a stick to throw a ball around a field is quite a basic game, like football and basketball, thus it is no surprise that ancient Egyptians played their variation of hockey back in 4000 B.C. The Irish and the ancient Greeks also played hockey-like games. In Greece it was usually played with horn-like sticks and hard balls. It is no surprise then that hockey remains popular so many years later, to the extent of being part of the winter Olympics. In this article we’ll look into why hockey is a great sport, how it is played and what drawbacks playing hockey might have.

What is Hockey?

Simply put, hockey is a game played with a stick and a ball (or a puck when it comes to ice hockey). The purpose is to bring this ball (or the puck) with your stick into the opposing team’s goal. You can hit the ball, slide it and follow it around with your stick.

There are two main types of hockey: the more traditional field hockey and ice hockey.

In field hockey you play on sand, grass or another dry surface, while in ice hockey you play in an ice rink. The latter of the two games is the one that is featured in the winter Olympics, because of its ice component. In field hockey you have a round, hard ball and in ice hockey you use a disk like object called a puck.

The sport is just as popular among women as it is among men. Ice hockey is particularly popular in northern countries, like Canada, England and Finland (among many others).

How to Train for Hockey

Training for hockey is quite similar to training for football. You need to be strong, have a decent balance and good agility. Training often includes obstacle courses, where you have to navigate in an agile manner over training ladders, around cones and over short obstacles. In ice hockey you have to do the additional skating training. It takes immense balance and self control to stay upright on the ice while also holding a heavy stick and carrying all your gear.

You can’t become a good hockey player over night and talent is never enough.

It takes years to develop the muscles needed to be such a strong ice skater. Field hockey is simpler in this way, but it also demands strong muscles and peak agility.

What is crucial in hockey is that you have strong legs, arms and core. You can’t favor one over the other. This is why exercises that train the whole body are preferred, for instance:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Squats
  • Sprints
  • Push ups
  • Lunges

These are all good indicators of what you have to go through to be a good hockey player.

Since it is a team game it can be extremely fun, for all ages and offer you more than just training. Team games can be great to teach children cooperation, to relieve stress from adults and to give the elderly something to lift depression.

Drawbacks of Hockey

Hockey can be quite a dangerous game. Especially ice hockey can even become deadly, because the sticks used do have bladed ends. It is not a game for aggressive people and one should be responsible when holding such a weapon-like tool.

If you have a weak skeleton you should really not play any sports in ice rinks at all. Ice is too slippery for people with weak balance and bones. Accidents will happen and you have to be in top shape for them.

While ice hockey is more ideal for the healthy, young adults, field hockey is by far a safer choice for young children and older people. Field hockey needs less balance and control. You can play field hockey at your own pace and enjoy it more that way.

It is important to behave properly when playing hockey. Remind yourself that it is just a game and never attack another player in any way. Pushes might be acceptable to some extent, but never be violent or hit your opponent with your stick in any way.

All in all, Hockey is a very enjoyable game if played by the rules. Field hockey can be learned at any age, while ice hockey is best to start when you are a teenager. Both games are equally exciting and pleasant.

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