An estimated 519,417 amateur hockey players suited up for the 2013–2014 season. If you enjoy playing hockey competitively, you likely are looking for ways to improve your performance on the ice. Investing in physical therapy can be an excellent way to improve your balance and coordination.
Since balance plays an essential role in maintaining proper posture on your skates, focusing on improving this skill through physical therapy can make you a better hockey player. Here are three simple exercises you can engage in to improve your balance in the future.
1. Incorporate instability exercises into your training routine.
A physical therapist can introduce you to instability training techniques that will help you alter the location of your center of gravity as you engage in routine exercises. Placing small, air-filled domes under your hands and toes as you do push-ups will force you to engage your core in order to remain balanced.
A strong core can help to make you a stronger skater by improving your ability to maintain balance on the ice. Since strong skating is one of the most essential weapons an effective hockey player must have, improving core strength through instability exercises can help you improve your game.
2. Incorporate loaded movement training into your exercise routine.
Physical therapists recognize that off-ice exercise can have a dramatic impact when it comes to improving on-ice performance, especially when it comes to establishing better balance. Working with a skilled physical therapist to incorporate loaded movement training into your exercise routine can be a great way to improve your balance.
Loaded movement training focuses on using the entire body to move an object with mass from one point to another. This type of loaded movement requires the body to maintain balance and use dynamic strength in order to complete the movement. By incorporating loaded movement training principles into your exercise routine two times per week, you can effectively improve your on-ice balance.
3. Incorporate balance board exercises into your training routine.
A good physical therapist will be able to create a sport-specific training program that will improve your balance. As part of your new training program, your physical therapist may have you engage in balance board exercises.
By doing simple movements like squats or balancing on one leg while standing on the balance board you force your body to target the muscles that contribute to balance. When your balance is improved, your ability to perform on the ice is improved as well.
Balance training should play an essential role in helping you prepare to play hockey at a competitive level. Ask a physical therapist for help designing a training program that will target and improve your balance in the future.