Here are some important questions that we get about treadmill training for Hockey…
- My son or daughter already has a good efficient stride, why would they need treadmill work?
- Once a player’s technique is sound, do treadmills just work on strength and conditioning?
- Can’t you accomplish the same things on the ice that you can with a treadmill?
To answer these questions, the first thing we should do is consider what the game demands. A good way to get deeper into this is to ask, “Can we expect to be an effective player at a high level just by having a sound stride on its own or having great stickhandling technique on its own?”
To address this and the questions above, see this video…
That video has a lot going on and can be a lot to take in. The following is a summary of what it is saying in 4 sentences…
In Hockey, it does not matter how impressive your skill-performance is when you have the luxury of concentrating on your technique. It only matters how good our “automatic” skills are. Automatic skills are ones that you can rely on in the midst of game-play when we have to focus on reading and reacting to the play. Treadmill training is a great way to push the motor control system to incorporate more and more high quality and complex skills into the “Automatic Program”.
If you don’t have time to watch the video…
The following answers those questions with the same level of detail that you would find in the video.
Answering those 3 questions starts with this… In the midst of playing a game of hockey, we cannot simply concentrate on our skating stride in order to do that at its most efficient level and expect to be successful. Instead we have to focus on the flow of the game as it is unfolding. This means our skating must be directed by the motor control system “automatically” (meaning that you can skate well without thinking about skating at all).
Ongoing treadmill training does help your technique overall, that is true, but what we are really seeking to develop is an automatic control system that includes very high level skill. Very highly refined skill that we can execute automatically requires an extreme amount of technique repetition and demands ever increasing challenge and complexity built into long-term training. This keeps pushing things and forces the motor control system to adapt to increasingly high-level skill techniques.
This is what ongoing treadmill training does for an already well-refined skater. It makes more and more complicated skill techniques more and more automatic so that we can truly use them while our attention is busy focusing on “thinking the game”. Maximizing your body’s hockey potential is finding your most complicated and intricate Hockey skill set that you could possibly execute using our automatic system. Getting there requires dedicated and focused training.
Treadmill training can be that dedicated training. Yes, the same techniques can be challenged on the ice and one absolutely could achieve effectively the same results in the on-ice environment. This is especially true if your family happens to own an ice rink and has access to the ice year round. For the rest of us there is a great cost to getting personalized coaching on a sheet of ice. A treadmill-based training environment can facilitate comprehensive hockey skills training with personalized coaching at a significantly reduced cost to target continuing development of our high-skill automatic program.