Hockey is faster today than ever before. From fast accelerations to quick directional changes, it’s important to nail the fundamentals and start building from there. The better the footwork, the easier everything becomes.
Whether it’s quicker first steps, getting lighter and more agile on your skates, or improving your change of direction, hockey players need to be continuously working on improving their footwork while getting quicker feet.
In this workout, we’re going over the most valuable quick feet drills for Hockey Players.
For our first three drills, we want to set up two hurdles roughly 5 yards apart. As players get more advanced through these drills, they can move the hurdles closer together to create even more of a challenge.
DRILL #1: FIGURE 8 DRILL
Start in an athletic position on one side of the hurdle. Explosively accelerate to the opposite side of the opposing hurdle, staying low and athletic, turn your hips to pivot backwards around the hurdle. Stay going backwards until you’re around the original hurdle and accelerate out again.
This should create a continuous figure-8 pattern that you can repeat twice, take a break, and then change to starting on the opposite side.
DRILL #2: SNOWMAN DRILL
This drill has us focused on more “quick feet” than just change of direction by trying to get in multiple quick touches in our transitions from forwards to backwards. Unlike the figure-8 drill, we’ll start by doing a full circle (always looking forward) before sprinting to the next hurdle. We really want to emphasize staying low and light for this drill.
DRILL #3: LATERAL FIGURE-8 DRILL
Using the same pattern above, we now want to perform this “laterally” or from the side. Focus on keeping your hips square and chest upright for the entire drill.
This drill is super valuable for hockey players to improve their change of direction laterally through pivots, so we want to ensure we’re practicing good movement habits including staying low and light.
*For our next 3 drills, we want to set up 6 our HockeyShot hurdles in a straight line roughly a foot apart each.
DRILL #4: LINEAR SPEED DRILL
Quick and explosive first steps are essential for Hockey Players. This drill focuses players on creating small and explosive first steps similar to on-ice starts.
For this, we want to ensure players exaggerate their forward lean and make sure that they aren’t standing up tall until they’re completely out of the hurdles and into a sprint.
DRILL #5: LATERAL HURDLE STEP
Lateral speed is essential for Hockey Players. Whether it’s forward starting and stopping in the corner or a defence mirror a forward off the rush, this is a drill that all hockey players need. We want to make sure that we’re not cheating by “opening up” our hips and staying square.
This is a drill players can often start to get tall on, and we want to exaggerate our low athletic position.
DRILL #6: MINI-HURDLE “W” DRILL
This drill is the perfect combination of lateral speed and linear speed for Hockey Players. We’re going to leave our hurdles and add a cone roughly 5 yards up on each side - create a “W”. After going through our hurdles with lateral quick steps, we’re going to immediately sprint out to our cone.
For this drill, we want to focus on immediately finding a position that we can sprint out of.
DRILL #7: COLOURED CONES “CIRCLE” DRILL
For this drill, we’re going to use one colour of each of the Hockeyshot Cones to set up a large semi-circle. We’re going to start in an athletic position in the center of the C and then sprint out to a cone, touch it, and explosively accelerate backwards to the start position, repeating for each cone.
While this variation is super valuable for Hockey Players to develop multi-directional agility - this drill can be turned into one of the all “all-time” best quick feet drills by adding a reactive element. Have your partner call out a specific colour and get to that cone and back as fast as possible.
BONUS DRILL: REACTION BALL QUICK STARTS
Whether you’re with a partner or training by yourself - a reaction ball can be the ultimate tool to develop true reactive agility. Challenging Hockey Players with a cognitive element, the reaction ball forces players to read and react with multi-directional agility just like on the ice.