If you’re new to ice hockey but are eager to get involved in this amazing sport, there are a few things you should know ahead of your first time on the ice. Here are just a handful of hints to get you started, ranging from the kit you’ll need to the best ways to learn the ins and outs of the game.
Don’t Ignore Your Dimensions
As with any sport that requires a lot of core kit and accessories, you’ll need to take your measurements into account when selecting what to buy.
This isn’t just relevant in terms of skate size and helmet selection; it’s crucial when it comes to choosing an ice hockey stick.
The length of the stick needs to be just right, matched to your height so that you can control the puck precisely without being set off-balance or forced to hunch over too much as you move.
Ice hockey is famous for its fights, but you’re more likely to get injured by the puck or another player’s stick than you are by a pair of fists. Because of this you shouldn’t rush into a game without investing in the proper safety kit.
Protective gear including gloves, shin guards, shoulder and elbow pads, a mouth guard and of course protection for your groin area should all be on your list of must-buy items. This is true whether you are intending to play for fun with friends, or take things a bit more seriously with a local amateur team.
As you familiarize yourself with the game you can acquire new kit, but a lot of people start off with second hand ice hockey equipment to test the water. When you are fully committed to the sport, you can up your spending and even buy handy accessories like a skate sharpener for your skates. The opportunities to invest in your favorite hobby will become endless, and the only limit is your disposable income.
Learn The Basics
It might be tempting to throw yourself in at the deep end, figuratively speaking. But even the best ice hockey players all started as novices and you need to be prepared to build your skill set gradually, rather than running before you can walk.
A good option for many people, especially those who live a long way from their nearest rink, is to buy some inline skates and hone your abilities on the streets before you take your chances on the ice.
You should also seek advice from experienced skaters, as well as keeping a close eye on how the pros do it. This will help you build up an idea not only of how to skate well, but how you can apply tactics to the way you play hockey. Speed and strength will only get you so far; you’ll have to engage your brain to master the basics and become competent.
Hit The Gym
As already touched upon, you won’t necessarily have the opportunity to play ice hockey or practice your skating every day. That doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your free time in a productive way that will improve things when you do get a chance to pull on your skates.
Regular visits to the gym, with a structured workout routine that focuses on building stamina as well as strength, will hone your body and also improve things like balance. All of these elements are important in ice hockey, for obvious reasons, but can be just as applicable in a range of other sports, so the benefits of general exercise will be widespread in your life.