Hockey Coaches! Psst – new idea for a bag skate.

Okay, sorry to all the players out there, yes I am giving your hockey coach some tips on how to better torture you with bag skates.  Trust me it hurts me more than it hurts you, it is for your own good, someday you will thank me…okay, just close this browser and go do your workout.

Coaches only beyond this point…

I know there there are times when you wants to send a clear message to the athletes.  To do this you need the athlete’s undivided attention – a great way to get the athlete’s attention is to ‘run them or for you hockey coaches you ‘bag skate’ them.

The bag skate can take many effective and creative forms, but until now, the goal is to basically skate the players to the point of exhaustion, vomiting or submission whichever comes first.  Some may argue that exercise should not be used as a punishment for athletes and I am not looking to debate coaching philosophy in this article.  Personally I think that if we build a better bag skate that is productive productive while still getting the full attention of your hockey players then it is a win:win situation.

Picture your players after 20-minutes of bag skating.  Do they look like the type of player you would like to have on the ice during a game?  Probably not – they are bent forward at the hips, their knees are barely bent, their strides are short and weak – it is just a mess!  Now imagine your athletes 20-minutes into a bag skate who are still low in the legs and taking powerful strides.  The key is giving them rest!  Don’t think I am crazy, I know the point is to exhaust and torture your players. Just stay with me a little bit longer.

Which is tougher skating slowly, no knee bend, light strides or low powerful skating? Once an athlete reaches a certain point (lactate threshold), they physiologically cannot continue working above that level for longer than about 60-seconds.  Even if the athlete wants to go fast, their body cannot keep up with the demand for energy output. 

So here is what you can do torture the legs for 30-45 seconds and then torture the arms and core for 60-90 seconds – repeat until you get desired effect.  Here are a few sample workouts:

Better bag skate #1

  • Blue line to blue line for 45s
  • Push ups for 45s
  • Core plank from push up position 45s (gets the athletes to activate their core muscles while they are breathing hard – great game specific core activation plus you are working the shoulder stabilizers which will help prevent injuries down the road)

Better bag skate #2

  • Partner side boards for 90 seconds (one partner sprints side board to side board while the other partner rests and then next partner goes)
  • Partner core stabilization for 45-60 seconds – partners face one another both holding the same hockey stick at approximately chest level.  One player will try to hold the hockey stick using the core muscles to stabilize while the other player tries to twist or rotate the stick to challenge their partner.  Switch roles as stabilizer after approximately 20-30 seconds.

I hope this gives you a few idea how you can still exhaust you players while keeping them moving at game speed which will improve their performance on the ice.  Add in some upper body and core training to build better athletes by building a better bag skate.