Hockey speed is attained by combining Skating Power, and Foot Speed. A player will never achieve his or her full skating potential until both skills have been acquired, and perfected.
As you begin work on skating with your team, begin with power and technique… then add foot speed. As you increase the tempo of your skating drills, don’t let your players sacrifice technique for foot speed. Players must be able to move their feet at full speed while maintaining a technically sound stride!
Speed is one of the most important attributes a hockey player can possess. True hockey speed is comprised of two elements: Skating Power (see our video on skating power) and Foot Speed (which includes agility). A player will not reach his full skating potential until he has achieved both.
The good news is that there are many hockey drills that can help young players to improve on both their skating power, as well as their foot speed and agility. Here is one of my favorite on-ice agility drills. I like it because it develops quick feet while skating forward, backward, as well as side-to-side. Here’s the diagram for the Circle Agility Drill:
Circle Agility Drill
1. Player starts on the face off dot.
2. On the whistle he explodes to the edge of the circle, pivots and skates backward along the LEFT side of the circle to about the middle of the circle, and stops.
3. Player then skates forward along the same edge of the circle until he comes back to the top of the circle again, then pivots and skates backward to the dot, and stops.
4. Player executes side-step-crossovers to the left edge of the circle, stops, side-step-crossovers all the way back across to the far right edge of the circls, stops, then side-step-crossovers back to the dot, and stops.
5. Player again explodes to the top of the circle, pivots and skates backward along the RIGHT side of the circle to about the middle of the circle, and stops.
6. Player then skates forward along the same edge of the circle until he comes back to the top of the circle again, then pivots and skates backward all the way to the bottom edge of the circle.
Notes: Try putting 3-4 players per circle, and rotate through until each player has completed the drill 3 times. As players’ skating skills improve, add a puck.