Speed Training For Hockey

How to Develop On-Ice Speed Through Off-Ice Training
LL Speed
January 3, 2024
Speed Training For Hockey

LL Speed


January 3, 2024

Hockey is a sport that demands a unique combination of skill, strength, and speed. However, nothing dominates today’s game more than explosive speed. Hockey players need to be explosive in short bursts. They need to be able to accelerate, decelerate, and change direction faster than their opponents. Faster, better-conditioned skaters win more puck races, create more time and space, and stay healthier throughout the season. Any player who is serious about taking their game to the next level should train to improve their speed, regardless of whether or not speed is already one of their stronger attributes. After all, no one has ever complained about having “too much speed.” 

Improving on-ice speed comes down to the dynamic interplay between the three main tenants of the skating stride:

Stride Length– This is the distance a skater can cover with each skating stride. A longer stride means you can move more ground with less effort. Think of Nathan McKinnon as he gallops down the ice on an odd-man rush.

Stride Rate– This is the number of strides taken in a given time. A higher stride rate equals a quicker acceleration and overall speed. Think of Connor McDavid and his seemingly infinite crossovers as he flies past everyone.

Technique– This is as simple as it sounds. The more efficient a skating stride is the better opportunity there is to improve the other two tenants. 

Maximizing Stride Length

Improving or increasing our stride length is not something that will happen by just thinking about taking longer strides. We need to take a progressive and detailed approach to try to improve the following key factors:

Strength– Strength is the foundation for everything related to speed. Simply put; if you want to get faster, get stronger. Specifically improving your strength will have the largest impact on stride length as increased strength makes it easier to stay low in your stride - allowing for optimal leg extension - and leads to a greater ability to increase force production which leads to a greater ability to cover more ground with each stride.

Mobility– To extend your stride, you need mobile hips. Hockey players are notorious for tight hips and quads due to the amount of time they spend on the ice. So, spending dedicated time each day focusing on mobilizing your hips, specifically hip flexors and quads, can help improve and increase the range of motion needed for extending your stride.

Check the Video Out Here

BANDED HAPPY HIPS MOBILITY SERIES                         

Focus on controlled movement and accessing the full range of motion.

   -         Perform 12-15 reps of each exercise

   -         Perform 2-3 sets

Off-Ice Sprint Work– Spending time training speed off the ice is a missed piece for many hockey players. Sprinting is arguably the best thing someone can do to improve their athleticism. Benefits include developing the musculature in your lower body, improving/developing the central nervous system, building anaerobic conditioning, increasing power and explosiveness, and encouraging the development of longer strides. Including sprint work 1-2 times weekly within a regimented training program can yield high returns to on-ice performance.

Maximizing Stride Rate

Recovery Phase– When we break down the different phases of the skating stride, we can identify the recovery phase as a key to improving stride rate. The recovery phase is the portion of your skating stride where you return your foot to the neutral position underneath your hips. The faster you can get your foot back underneath you, the faster you can make your next push/step. Increasing the strength of the hip and its ability to contract and relax quickly is key to trying to speed up the recovery phase of your stride. When you are working on the technical aspects of your stride focusing on pulling your leg back underneath you from your hip and lifting your knees higher shortens the time your skates spend off the ice, reducing the drag and enabling higher stride rates.

Off-Ice Change of Direction Work– The ability to decelerate and accelerate quickly and efficiently is a huge separator in today’s game. Spending time working on crossovers, lateral movement, and reactive movement and the proper technique of each will increase your ability to perform them at higher speeds on the ice.

Practical Training Strategies

Optimizing stride length and rate will be predicated on a well-rounded training regimen. Off-ice strength training, off-ice SAQ (Speed, Agility, and Quickness) training, on-ice technical edge and stride work, and a complement of off- and on-ice conditioning are all aspects that will need to be included in this regimen. Seek professional coaching, like you can find with us at GR Performance, for personalized guidance and do not underestimate the value of detailed consistent practice. The combination of these strategies will lead to significant improvements in your skating ability.


In hockey, speed is a game-changer. Whether you are chasing your dreams of playing at the highest level or simply aiming to dominate your local league, training to increase your speed can make all the difference. However, improving on-ice speed is not something that happens overnight. It is a journey that requires dedication and focused effort. Understanding that there will be peaks and valleys throughout the process and the key training strategies to target, you can unlock your true potential. 

For more information about how you can improve your speed sign up for our Speed Series Newsletter. 


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