How to develop a successful hockey player? - Part 2

How to develop a successful hockey player? - Part 2

Improve the player, make the team better!

In the previous article, we discussed the importance of skating for an ice hockey player and mentioned it as a basic prerequisite to play this sport at an adequate level. A top player must have good skating skills, but they alone do not make him a top player. Today we will try to describe a skill that clearly determines an excellent player. That skill is scoring.

We understand scoring as a set of activities related to the player's effort to score a goal or create a scoring chance. The scoring evaluates the defensive and offensive efforts of the entire team. This individual action really determines the team's success. Everyone wants to have players who can score goals. Just like skating, scoring is individual. Players have their own style, which is determined by their anatomical, morphological, physiological and psychological characteristics as well as the manifestations of their nervous activity. On the other hand, this activity also has its ideal design, which is the most effective with regard to the desired result (shot accuracy, shot hardness, promptness of scoring, etc.).

It's important to remember that scoring isn't just about shooting. Screening, deflecting, rebounding or scoring from close proximity to the goal must also be assigned to this activity. The statistics clearly show where and how the most goals are scored. Therefore, the given method should be given the most attention during training. Nevertheless, in our opinion, it is important to improve all methods of termination, as they are significantly interconnected. For example, a good shot from a medium or longer distance, blocking and possibly deflecting leads to a goal in front of the goal. Real scorers usually have their favourite way of scoring goals, but at the same time they also have a very good command of other ways of scoring.

When developing each ability or skill, it is necessary to objectively determine its true state. It allows us to evaluate the current level and, consequently, the effectiveness of the training process. With our topic today, the basic diagnosis is obvious to everyone. The number of goals in matches is undoubtedly the most important diagnostic parameter. However, other indicators also lead to a goal, such as: the number of individual types of scoring, the speed of the shot, the technique of scoring, respectively the promptness of scoring (time from processing to the shot, speed of reaction to the bounced puck). We can also track these indicators exactly. We find out, for example, the level of speed-dynamic characteristics of the relevant muscle groups, the reaction time from a certain stimulus to the end itself and the technical implementation of the shooting. We take a very responsible approach to the diagnosis of the level of scoring technique and use a system of analysis of scoring technique (shooting) with the use of video recording. After identifying deficiencies in technique, coaches can subsequently eliminate incorrect movement patterns together with the players.

Players capable of scoring regularly are as valuable to a team as the best goalkeepers. It is therefore natural that a lot of attention is paid to the scoring in the training itself, especially with regard to its frequency. We are convinced that even when training this skill, it is worthwhile to believe in best practices, but at the same time it is necessary to look for innovations that bring the training closer to match situations or make the training better in terms of repeatability, feedback and player enthusiasm. In our centers, we focus on improving the technique of most scoring methods. Depending on the type of scoring we develop, we use different environments. These are training on ice, training on artificial ice or on a skating treadmill. Each environment has its positives, which have a positive effect on improving the scoring. We are not going to go into detail about the positives of training on the ice. It is a natural competitive environment, and all skills must ultimately be fine-tuned here. We include training on artificial ice mainly in case we need to develop any scoring from closer distances from the goal. The advantage is mainly in the spatial efficiency of the training process.

The skating treadmill is ideal for improving your forward skating finish. We can practice more variants such as shooting after a deceptive movement, shooting after processing the puck or shooting without preparation. We can also shoot from the consenting as well as from the non-consenting leg. The advantage of such training is the fact that the player can shoot a high number of attempts from the desired position and speed in a short period of time. Another positive is the immediate or almost immediate feedback in the form of information about the accuracy of the shot, its speed, but also the technical design, which we can assess through a video recording.

The contrast when switching to "normal" brings players a benefit in the form of efficient movement. The ideal start of a training program is the development of an individual analysis of shooting technique. In the training process, we use tools (laser, live delay, peripheral navigation, shooting navigation...) which support the correct execution of the given activity, enable immediate feedback or stimulate match conditions in training. At the end of the program, a comparative analysis will be carried out, which will demonstrate the level of progress. We think that even such a simple thing as alternating training environments can repeatedly motivate a player to train and ultimately make training more effective.

Summary of all the above, it is likely that the appropriate combination of a skating treadmill with equipment and software in the Fusion Skating zone can accelerate the practice and improvement of scoring, leading to an overall increase in individual game performance. Incorporating individual training in this zone into team training can diversify the training process and encourage the athlete to develop quickly and efficiently. It is important to remember that the best results can only be achieved by combining training environments and following a specific training plan based on accurate professional diagnosis. Only such an approach can give impetus to the maximum achievement of the player's potential.