Our summer has looked different this year and we've all had to come up with new ways to enjoy the outdoors safely. Participating in different activities teaches athletes new skills that they can then transfer back to hockey and make them better players. Skills that are universal across sports like hand-eye coordination and movement can only be improved upon and using your body in new ways can strength you overall as an athlete. This isn’t just limited to sports, getting out and being active can help you stay in game ready shape. Seeing the field from a different perspective and using different parts of your body helps to build overall coordination and approaches to the game.
Here are five activities to try this summer that can make you a better hockey player. Which one will you choose?
Hopping on a bike is a great way to exercise while spending time outdoors. Ever feel the burn in your legs after biking up a hill or against resistance? That’s your leg muscles going to work. Biking builds leg strength which can translate to getting the most out of each stride on the ice. There is balance involved in biking as well to stay upright. Like in hockey, be sure to wear a helmet and avoid any restricted or dangerous areas.
Working to strengthen core muscles is key for players to increase stability, range and flexibility. Players can practice yoga from their home or find a quiet outdoor space that will allow focus. With improved posture and balance, the risk of injury can be reduced. Many pros have credited yoga for improvements in their game. The mental side of yoga, concentrating on breathing and technique, can help calm nerves and help players lock in on executing their goals.
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The OMHA Players Club offers multiple challenges aimed at improving skills in different areas of the game. Participants can work at their own pace and can complete the challenge without having to leave their driveway. Improve your shot, stick handling or coordination through the 5000 Puck, 10,000 Touches or 30/30 Challenges. Those who send in a completed tracking sheet are eligible to win prizes.
Sometimes the simplest activities are the most fun. When it is declared safe to do so and playground reopen, running around in a park or playing low structure games you’d find with any group in a playground can be the most rewarding. Grab a group of friends, head outside and use your creativity. Just because it isn’t recess doesn’t mean you can’t play schoolyard games. These activities not only build movement skills but are social activities as well.
Swimming is a great activity that uses a lot of different muscles and movements. It is great exercise and also a fun way to stay cool while being outside. Whether working on technique and laps or simple free play, the added resistance of moving in the water is beneficial in building strength. Make sure you have permission and supervision before going into any water.