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Advanced Hockey Agility Training

By Dan Garnerm from

n this article, I’m going to show you the next thing you need to do in order to start taking your explosive speed, high-velocity direction change, and overall agility performance to the next level.

You will also get a sample hockey agility workout, so buckle in!

What Is Hockey Agility?

A characteristic of performance is in so many cases an accumulation of many underlying factors that all contribute to what we deem that characteristic is.

For example, in this video, I talk about how hockey speed is actually the combination of ten different physical quality characteristics that have to be trained and executed in order for you to become faster out on the ice.

Agility is no different.

To think agility is one quality that you train is nonsense, agility is the combination of eight different things.

Any agility workout you see is simply emphasizing one of those characteristics, but not all of them.

This is where a lot of the frustrating “sport specific” and “functional training” crowds get it completely wrong.

They feel as though you need to have your movements look exactly like what you’re doing out on the ice in order for it to have carryover from the gym to your hockey performance,

Although this may cover one or two components of whatever quality they are trying to train, it certainly will not cover all of them — so to suggest something is not sport specific just because it doesn’t look like a skating stride is a complete and utter misunderstanding of sports training science.

I discuss this in more depth herehere, and here.

Hockey Agility Training Breakdown

An effective hockey agility program will address all eight components of agility.

Hockey players always ask me things like:

“What is your favorite speed exercise?”

“What are your top 3 agility exercises?”

“What’s the best exercise for explosiveness?”

Although there are some exercises that give more “bang for the buck” in terms of your return on investment for performing them, no exercises cover absolutely everything.

Beyond this, you are only ever going to be as strong as your weakest link in the chain.

If you have seven of the eight qualities of agility, then you will always be held back by your “agility anchor” because you haven’t trained it properly yet and therefore you will not improve until you bring up that weak link in your chain.

So, “my favorite exercise” for agility will always be the one that you have neglected up to this point because it is that exercise that is going to take you to the next level.

Stop doing the things you’re already good at and start getting better at the things you suck at because it’s those things that are holding you back, ten times out of ten.

So without further ado, here are the eight components of agility.

#1: Power: Power is defined as work divided by time. If you can move from A to B in less time than your teammate even though you are of equal body weight than you are more powerful than your teammate. Power is arguably the most desirable quality an athlete could have in the agility world.

#2: Acceleration: Acceleration represents the amount of time it takes you in order to achieve your maximum velocity. This is very important in hockey because it is rare you ever reach your top speed, in almost all cases you are in non-stop “gear changing” mode through acceleration mechanics all game.

#3: Strength: Strength is very simply your ability to overcome resistance. When you consider strength as it pertains to agility, in many cases your own bodyweight is what is providing the resistance towards your movement. The stronger you are, the faster you are able to overcome the forces that your bodyweight and things like momentum are placing upon you so that you can turn on the dime and explode out of it.

#4: Flexibility: Your ability to remain flexible during active dynamic motion allows you to perform the skating techniques required to be maximally successful. For example, dynamic flexibility allows you to increase your stride length, and also allows you to do things such as Mohawk turns which can give you a huge agility advantage over your competition.

#5: Coordination: Put very simply, you need to be a coordinated athlete if you want to have any hope of properly managing the movement skills required to be a fast skater. No matter how strong or powerful you get, you need to have the fluidity of movement in order to maximize those qualities.

#6: Balance: Balance represents your ability to remain in complete control of your body while it is in motion out on the ice. The body uses many different feedback mechanisms to control your movement and adjust your center of gravity. Much of this is based within the nervous system, but it is also a highly trainable quality.

#7: Deceleration: Many people forget this one, but agility is essentially your “stop/start” speed, stopping is 50% of the equation! Stopping ability can take various forms such as a clean stop, skating backward, stutter-stepping, using a crossover step, or just simply decreasing in speed but not stopping entirely. Stopping ability plus acceleration ability are two qualities you must have at equal levels to get the most out of each other.

#8: Mindset: The perceptual-cognitive component of agility encompasses your visual scanning, anticipation, pattern recognition, reaction time, and experience of the situation. The body follows the mind, not the other way around.

What Should I Do?

Look at the above eight components of agility and find the weakest link in your chain.

Ask yourself these questions:

What are you good at?

What do you suck at?

Then, do more of what you suck at because this suckiness is what is holding back your hockey performance because doing more of what you’re already good at won’t overcompensate for this.

That is by far the most powerful thing you could do right now.

People think that coaches just provide them workouts to do, and in some cases, lazy coaches do just this.

But, that’s what separates the average coaches from the great coaches.

A great coach will not just give you workouts to get better…

A great coach will give you the workouts you need to get better.

Meaning, he/she identified your weak link and is now working on that with you because it’s exactly the “#1 exercise” for you in this moment of your hockey career.

Final Thoughts

Hockey agility is not the only characteristic that is built up from many different pathways, almost all performance characteristics are this way.

Because of this, you need a complete approach to your entire hockey training program.

If you’re ready to take your game to the next level and gain access to everything you need in order to become a better hockey player, you need to check out the Hockey Skills Accelerator VIP program today.