Athletes in sports like basketball or baseball are lucky they can do dry-land training like running drills without needing any modified gear. For years, if hockey players wanted to do cardio during the off-season, they either had to find ice in the summer, which could be difficult and expensive or settle for running on land.
Modern off-ice training gear allows hockey players to practice during the off-season the way athletes can from other sports. Keep reading to learn more about how it works.
Once, kids used to practice in their basement by cradling tennis balls or shooting pucks in the driveway. Now, anybody can skate at home or wherever they train. Modular synthetic ice tiles click together to make a skating surface of any size.
Build a summer rink in the backyard by simply getting enough small, durable, lightweight tiles from industry leaders like HockeyShot Canada to give yourself home-ice advantage. You can be in the middle of cottage country, skating on a rink rather than looking for a smoother surface to rollerblade.
The closer your practice resembles game conditions, the more prepared you’ll be for the real thing. There are hardly any skills more important in ice hockey than skating, but it’s also hard to practice stickhandling, passing, and shooting without ice.
Synthetic tiles help develop all your skills. If you practice shooting on concrete, you will get better, but the puck doesn’t glide the same way on that type of surface. Practice needs to simulate the conditions you’ll be in, and practicing hockey skills without ice means something will get lost in translation.
Different Quality Tiles
In the way that ice surfaces can range in quality, not all synthetic tiles are the same. Opting for thicker, premium tiles means they’ll last longer, usually about 5-7 years. Thinner tiles last on average between 3-5 years.
Another thing that separates one tile from another is the coefficient level of friction on the surface. Look for a product that is 10-15% greater than ice for incredible resistance training opportunities.
Also, be sure to check what maintenance is required. The best tiles have a built-in self-lubricating agent that keeps the tiles slick and usable in all weather conditions.
Other products require add-on liquids, which can require higher maintenance and cause problems with the surface. Likewise, look for a surface that has built-in UV protection and weather resistance to cope with rain, snow, and heat.
You wouldn’t want to skate on natural ice that’s melting, and you don’t want to train on inferior synthetic tiles. The idea of a portable tile that allows you to skate anywhere is impressive, but the tiles out there vary in quality.
Training tools have come such a long way for ice hockey players that summer is no longer an excuse for not skating, especially as leagues shut down and ice can be harder to find. Modern off-ice training equipment lets players skate, stickhandle, and shoot with tiles they can bring anywhere, allowing players to have fun working on their skills 12 months a year.