2022  h c s a 2014  n w u18  outdoor  training

Staying active over the summer

From hand-eye coordination to improving your mobility, check out a few fun ways for Hockey Canada Skills Academy students to work on their skills over the summer

Shannon Coulter
June 27, 2022

Warm weather means school is out for summer. As time away from studies and the rink begins for Hockey Canada Skills Academy students across the country, the anticipation for the next hockey season has already begun.

But before the next school year begins, some students may be thinking about what they can do over the summer to improve their game. While individual skills can be worked on, there is also an opportunity to work on transferable skills by playing additional sports.

“Baseball [is] great for your hand-eye coordination,” says Katie Greenway, hockey development coordinator for Hockey Canada. “Throw a frisbee, go swimming, ride a bike, do all these different things that are going to make you a more well-rounded athlete, because the best hockey players are the best athletes.”

Although not every sport has a stick or a puck, the skills needed to play hockey can be found in almost any activity. Running and soccer can help with foot speed and mobility on the ice. Tennis and basketball work on stopping and starting.

“The simplicity of hand-eye coordination with golf and badminton and the racquet sports — [these are] all very transferable athletic movements that are required in forward, defence and goaltending,” says Dean Seymour, manager of NextGen/player development for Hockey Canada. “I don’t really think it matters what sport you play or activity you’re doing, just get out and do it.”

Playing in additional team sports can also further develop hockey IQ over the summer.

“A lot of kids, I think especially during the pandemic, were so focused on individual skill that they don’t know how to play now within a team system,” Greenway says. “I think multi-sport, especially team sports, help with that IQ piece of game situation and how to read and react to certain plays, which transfer back over into hockey: finding an open lane, leading someone with a pass, working with other people.”

Something else that can benefit a player’s game is taking a brief step back from hockey to give their body a well-deserved break after working hard all season long.

“When I played, I would take a month off in the summer and it would change everything,” Greenway says. “You missed the rink, you’re excited to come back… I think that’s a huge piece.”

“[You] see the new energy in the player,” Seymour adds. “They may be rusty for the first week, but it’s like riding a bike, it comes back.”

Taking a break in the summertime can also help to prevent burnout and limit overuse injuries from repetitive movements.

“We see a big problem right now with a lot of kids that no matter what sport they play, if that’s the only sport they do, that overuse injuries are starting to onset earlier,” says Corey McNabb, director of NextGen development at Hockey Canada. “By promoting other activities, you’re going to not only balance the mental side of things, but you’re going to balance the physical side of things.”

After taking some time off, those looking to better their hockey play could try isolating specific skills over the summer. For example, a player could work on stick-handling in the garage, or a goaltender could work on catching with a glove. Students can also check out the Hockey Canada Network for more drills and resources.

However, a brief break from the rink to enjoy the sun outside can be exactly what a player needs to refresh and refocus before preparing for tryouts in the fall.

“It’s important to step away from the game a little bit and just be a kid, relax and enjoy the summer,” Greenway says.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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