STUPID Hockey Training

The other day I suggested that hockey players may be making a big training mistake, a balance training mistake. I’m referring to training that involves standing on medicine balls, stability balls, dynadisks, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I think unstable lower body training has a place in rehabilitation settings, especially for lateral ankle sprains. I DO NOT see a place for standing on these objects for healthy hockey players. Yes, hockey requires a lot of balance and stability, but NO it does not require these things while standing on a round object!

I can understand the appeal of mastering these circus acts, but they won’t make you a better hockey player. Balance is extremely movement and surface specific. This is evident by watching a team of talented youth hockey players go through a dynamic warm-up that requires single-leg stability (for details on how to design your own hockey-specific dynamic warm-ups using hockey-specific exercises, check out Hockey Training U’s Off-Ice Performance Training Course).

Despite their admirable skating ability on the limited surface area of a skate blade, many of them have trouble balancing on one foot off the ice, despite a much large surface area. Unstable surface training has been excessively misinterpreted and misused. Eric Cressey put together a phenomenal resource outlining the myths of unstable surface training. Of more interest to most people, he also includes a wide variety of awesome core training exercise progressions and the neurological rationale for why these exercises are beneficial. For only $39.99, I think this is a resource that every athlete (or coach that trains athletes) should invest in. I use it as a reference on a regular basis. STOP standing on stability balls, and START training smarter.

For more information on Eric Cressey’s Truth About Unstable Surface Training, click here.

– Kevin Neeld

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!