When most of us consider a hockey game, the instant visual is usually a vast, echoing arena, perfectly designed for two teams to battle to the death in a quest to become the ultimate champions. The automatic assumption is that a decent game of hockey needs plenty of space, and this can be an obstacle for many fans and players.
What if we told you that everything you assumed you knew was false and that a full-size arena is not a requirement for many drills, training aids, and even smaller-scale games? Here at KwikRink, we have everything you need to get started in a place that is convenient for you; make the most of that vacant garage, revamp your backyard, or even transform a spare room!
Why Do I Need A Hockey Practice Area?
A hockey practice area on your own property is not only a super cool addition to any home; it can be an essential way for players to keep up their skills and stay in shape off-season and between games.
Having a personal practice area also offers the flexibility to train at a time that is convenient for you, perfect if you have a busy job, young children, or simply a hectic schedule. Instead of having to adapt your routine around training, you can make sure that your activity works for you, without having to worry about arranging childcare or organizing transport to another location!
This personal practice area can also be perfect if you have specific areas you are looking to target during your training. External coaching sessions are often ‘one-size fits all,’ and this can be frustrating if you find yourself continually running drills and practices which focus on skills you already have. Having your own space allows you to hone in on your weaknesses, and use targeted exercises and activities to boost your skills in the best way for your game.
How Can I Have My Own Rink In A Small Space?
You may think that you lack the square footage for a practice rink, but synthetic ice will make you think again. It comes in panels, so it is easy to purchase enough material for your space, no matter the size limitations.
Assemble your own alternative rink and be ready to go in no time. You can even add extras such as shooting tarps or a puck rebounder to help make the space more versatile and personalized to your needs.
What Can I Practice?
Part of the appeal of your small rink is that it is an ideal space for practicing different drills and techniques. The list of potential exercises is lengthy, but here are our top picks when it comes to hockey drills for smaller spaces.
The Quad Pass
This first exercise is a great way to help players develop the perfect pass, and the restricted space forces great concentration and attention. Four players work this drill, and it starts with Players 1 and 2 executing five passes between themselves, focusing on accuracy and soft hands – there isn’t the space to go hard.
After completing the fifth pass, Player 1 will do a touch-pass give and go with Player 3 before carrying out another touch pass to Player 4. All four players then rotate around the space, giving everyone a chance to try every position.
The 1 On 1
This next drill allows players to focus on their timing. Four lines are set up facing the zone at inline with the neutral zone face-off dots. When setting up, make sure that the cones for the defensive lines are slightly staggered; this offers a slight defensive advantage.
Both players start by carrying pucks and completing a figure-eight, both coming out of the turn on the outside of the rink. The defensive player returns the puck to their line coming out of the shape and then takes on the offensive player one on one.
Their focus is on stick position to discourage any potential shot. The job of the offense is to protect the puck and move their feet to get behind the defense.
Players can then switch in and out to practice different skills depending on their individual needs.
Stop And Start
This next activity is great for younger players and builds up accuracy and technique. Players execute starts and stops with a puck, before executing a power turn, and end by taking a shot. This keeps up the pace and takes skills back to the basics – perfect if you are getting back into shape, or having issues in a particular area.
The Perpetual Cycle
A smaller practice space makes The Perpetual Cycle even more of a challenge as great concentration is needed to avoid a collision! Start by dumping in a puck. Player 1 then goes to the corner to pick it up before cycling back. Player 2 follows and picks up the cycle, before the first player cuts across the top and drives to the net, and Player 2 passes for a one-time shot.
After making the pass, Player 1 from the other line dumps the puck in his corner. The player who just made the pass heads to the top of the circle drives it into the corner to pick up the dump and repeats the cycle again. This drill can be repeated without pause and is a perfect way to help players connect and come together, focusing on working as a team, passing, and making the smaller space work to their advantage.
As you can see, a smaller space does not have to hold you back when it comes to practicing your hockey skills. At KwikRink, we offer a huge range of solutions which are the perfect fit for your particular needs and lifestyle, and ensure that you can train and practice in the way which best suits you. What are you waiting for? Get in touch today to start configuring your practice area, and make the most of that small space!