Ice hockey is a ton of fun to play and you are never too old to start. Recreational Ice Hockey isn’t anything close to the hard core play of the NHL. In most recreational leagues checking isn’t allowed (not body on body contact) and teams are usually balanced to make sure the games are competitive even if you are a total beginner.
The most fundamental part of playing ice hockey is to be able to skate well. You need to be able to go forward, backward, turn both directions and stop with confidence. You will be at a disadvantage and will likely become frustrated if you try to learn hockey before your skating skills are sound. There is also a large difference between figure skates and hockey skates and you will make life easier for yourself if you start with hockey skates from the beginning.
There are classes tough that teach very beginners how to skate at almost every ice rink. Check the bulletin boards at the arena or call the rink and ask. Most of these classes are called “Learn To Skate” classes and they should be able to set you up very easily. I would recommend sticking with these classes through the multiple sessions that it will take you to get proficient in all of the fundamental ice skating skills.
Once you have developed decent skating skills it is time to move on to learning hockey. The first step is to gear up and this can be quite a hurdle for the first time player. You will need hockey skates, shin guards, hockey pants, a chest guard, elbow pads, hockey gloves, a helmet with cage and of course a hockey stick. In addition to the core gear you will also need all of the extras like skating socks, hockey socks, a jock or jill, a hockey jersey and a mouth guard. Buying all of this gear new will set you back $ 500 to $ 1000 or more. Try to find somebody that is already playing to try out their gear and to have them help you piece together a set for yourself when you are ready.
Okay, we have gear and we have some basic skating skills now we need to find a learn-to-play-hockey class. If there is an ice rink near you, there should also be a learn-to-play-hockey class for adults as well. Sometimes these classes are offered right before the local recreation leagues season starts so that you can move right from class to a hockey team. If you can’t find a class, find an instructor that will work with you one on one. In addition to the organized classes, get out on the ice as much as you can on your own. Look for “Stick and Puck” times or Drop in hockey times at your rink. These are perfect events for you to develop your skills.
Playing ice hockey comes down to a couple of key skills to learn. As we mentioned before, your ability to skate is the most important thing you need to learn and you need to learn it before the other skills. After skating you need to be able to handle the puck with your hockey stick and this is something that you can do at home away from the rink. Start with a tennis ball or get a training ball and practice moving the puck back and forth in front of you and then around objects. Stationary puck handling skills won’t get you very far so try to add movement as soon as you can (walking or roller blades). The last skill is passing and shooting. Set up a target of some kind and shoot and pass until you are very accurate with some velocity on the puck.
Learning how to play ice hockey has got to be one of the most challenging sports to get into due to the extra challenge of having to learn to ice skate competently first. The big learning curve is also one of the positive aspects of the sport since you will always be getting better at some skills while being challenged by others. Come out and enjoy one of the most entertaining and fastest team sports around!
By ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay