Anyone who watches hockey these days knows the importance of skating. Virtually no one makes it to a high-level of hockey without being, at the very least, an above average skater. Some players can make a career of simply being an exceptional skater, even though they are cursed with hands of stone or very limited hockey sense
There is really no substitute for on-ice work on your skating, but getting ice time isn’t always easy. One of the best substitutes for skating is incorporating a hockey slideboard into your repertoire of hockey exercises used in dryland hockey training. The hockey slideboard, which will also strengthen a player’s core and help with off-ice conditioning, is essentially a flat board with a smooth surface that a player can use almost anywhere.
Made in the USA and covered with a state-of-the-art solution for extreme slipperiness, the hockey slideboards measure 8′ by 2′ and also feature a non-slip back and American pine end stops. The slideboard rolls up for easy storage and can be ordered with small, medium or large slideboard booties.
A few of the 8′ hockey slideboard are also easily adjustable, so that depending on your stride, you can tailor the setup for anyone from a young minor hockey player to a player in the junior, college or professional ranks.
One of the most worthwhile features of the hockey slideboard is its portability. The easy roll-up construction allows you replicate the feel of skating anywhere from your garage to your living room. If you use the slideboard on a similarly flat surface, you can incorporate other exercises (stickhandling, shooting, etc.) into your dry land exercises.
The hockey slideboard is an extremely effective hockey training tool for improving your shot. During dryland hockey exercises, most players will simply stand and shoot pucks off of a flat surface. Using the slideboard, you can practice and simulate the on-ice movements of taking not only slap shots, but also your entire lineup of shots. The slideboard lets you improve your lateral movements as well as your weight transfer, giving you the whole package of a slap shot technique practice. This is especially important for younger players, who tend to use mostly arms when learning to take slap shots.
The slideboard is similarly effective if you are a player who is (unlike me) blessed with offensive skills. When paired with a flat surface for shooting pucks, the hockey slideboard allows you to work on the proper footwork for performing toe-drags and other high-end skills that will hopefully help you terrorize opposing goaltenders and defensemen. While you can certainly work on the toe-drag and other hockey moves on any flat surface, using the slideboard in conjunction with your typical shooting routine is an excellent way to make these dryland hockey skills more transferable to the ice.
The typical hockey slideboard will cost between $130-$140 dollars (for the 8′ model), depending on the specifications and materials. Though the initial cost seems a little high, its actually a bargain when you look at the cost of ice time, which starts around the $100 mark and get close to the $400 mark and higher, depending on your market. Put into context, this small investment looks a lot better when you consider how well the hockey slideboard replicates the on-ice experience.
The 8′ hockey slideboards are available from reputable online dealers (as well as in better sporting goods/hockey stores) through a quick Google search. Having worked in player development for some years, I can say without reservation that buying one is a good investment for even casual hockey players, of any age or ability.