I put this up on the main board but I figured I would post it here as well to get some feedback from a group I'm a little more familiar with.
Hello all. I am a long time fan of the game and I want to start playing. Looking at joining a rec league on the base I am stationed at and wanted to start putting myself in a position to be less embaressed. There is an outdoor roller hockey rink that I can use any time it's daylight so I plan on putting that to good use. I am 30 years old, been in the Corp for a dozen years so I'm not in too bad of shape but not as good as I'd like to be. As I'm currently deployed (at sea no less) I can't go skate which I understand is going to be the thing I need to learn the most and first.
With that in mind is there any particular excersizes that are good for preparing my body for skating/playing. I currently run 5 miles every other day, averaging about an 8 minute pace, and body weight excersizes (pull ups, dips, push ups). Obviously I need to work more on my lower body and I know running won't do enough so what excersizes should I look at?
Also I plan on ordering the needed equipment so it's waiting on me when I get home. Any suggestions on skates or equipment for a new guy?
I understand that I am probably gonna get laughed off the rink a few times but I plan on working on it till I get it. So any tips related to the above questions or otherwise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Others can probably help you better, but since I'm here first...
Core strength and balance exercises probably would help a little (Google being your friend). You might get a hockey stick and ball/rolling puck for your quarters to really try to work on eye hand, ect. (Also, barbell squats are the best exercise in existence.. for anything really)
But the big thing would be ice-skating. (Assuming you want to do rec Ice-hockey?) I don't know what it is like most places in the States, but here in Canada you can find adult learn to skate in most major cities. Often these are at 3 levels, intro, intermediate, and more advanced/power skating... with the idea that you can go 1, 2 ,3... joining one of these and really giving skating a solid year of intense dedicated practice (transitioning to stick and skate and shinny) is what you need.
If you can kijiji up a group of like minded people who are beginner-ish but really keen, that would be great too. You could eventually transition to stuff like booking ice-time at your local rink for focused practice/shinny games until you're ready to join a beginner type league. My cousin works at a rink, and she tells me that (here at least) such groups do exist. There are some things for ice that a roller rink just won't help with.
1. There's an HF forum called The Rink that is devoted to questions like these. Lots of good help over there.
2. Don't worry about getting laughed off the rink. Playing ice hockey is about the most fun you can have standing up, and it is totally worth it to learn. I grew up in Florida and didn't learn how to ice skate or play hockey until I was 31. I'm glad I started.
3. For workout stuff, keep in mind hockey is more like interval training than running at a steady pace. Muscle-wise, everything helps, but squats and core are the biggies IMO.
4. You're right, if you are going to play on the ice, there's no substitute for time on the ice. You can pick up some puck skills playing roller and such. In my experience, for people that come over to ice hockey from playing roller, the biggest issue is learning to stop on skates. It's totally different. Stopping is more important than it might seem, too.
Say there's a puck dumped in to the corner and 2 guys are chasing it. For beginning level players, what determines who will get to the puck first is not so much which player is faster, it's which player is more confident in his ability to stop. Think about it, it makes sense.
5. Equipment wise, you can skimp on most stuff IMO, but do try to get some help from someone who knows what they are doing about sizing. I think the thing to pay the most attention to is the skates. You don't need to get top of the line but you need to make very, very sure they are going to fit comfortably after you break them in. Take your time with that part. Can't really offer specific information about skates because some brands are better for narrow feet, others better for wider feet, etc. Over at The Rink you can get great information.
6. Good luck. Again, it's worth it. Everyone who ever played has done something embarrassing at some point. It's slippery out there and those skate blades have a way of doing funny things. Don't worry about it. Put the pads on and have fun.
Thanks for the assistance, I have checked out "the rink" portion of the forum and gotten some good advice there as well. Right now the workout is breaking me off and I'm probably just gonna stick with that till I get back stateside and we'll see where it goes from there.
I'll leave the training to the people above. It sounds like you are in decent enough shape to start playing. I would focus less on the muscle building and off ice training (once you actually have the availability to skate) and more on the skill building and fundamentals.
If you can get a stick and ball to your quarters at sea I would recommend practicing your stickhandling. You can make a stickhandling ball with a tennis ball and a wiffle ball that has circular holes throughout. Cut the tennis ball into strips and shove them in the hole of the wiffle ball. The end result is a ball that doesn't bounce and is the approximate weight of an ice hockey puck. I used to take that thing and spend hours stickhandling. It will do wonders for building your skills.
Skating again and again is the best way to get used to it. I started out awful, and it took years of practice, but now I'm very much more in control. Stickhandling and shooting just come with practice, as well. Some things that can get you by while you suck at the skating and stickhandling, however, is good vision and passing ability, and tenacity when it comes to grinding and overall toughness.
As far as workouts, I do an intense full body workout derived from starting strength. The most basic full body, strength improving exercises, are squats, deadlifts, shoulder press, bench press, and pull ups. Instead of worrying about bodybuilding, and doing 3 sets of 10 at one weight, I'd steadily increase weight doing 5 reps a peice, and seeing how much I can do and how much I improve each time doing it. And once in a while throw in some one rep maxes.
After those cores exercises, and my body built up the ability to handle more, now I'll mix it up and throw in a lot more. Like instead of squats and deadlifts, I'll replace them with leg press machines that can handle 1000+ lbs, and lunges. Then I will also throw in hamstring curls, glute press, ab and adductors, sometimes leg press. And I still do all the upper body stuff as usual, but throw in bicep curls, flies, dips, skull crushers, shrugs, etc.
But the two specialty workouts I do more often than normal, simply because I play hockey, is forearm curls both ways with a barbell (for the wrist shots and backhands), and oblique twists.
learn to skate classes, can't stress those enough once you get back.
around here the figure skater club does it and that turns off some of the "hockey guys" but they actually do a hockey class as well, and even without that it makes a huge difference.
I'd also recommend checking this out after you feel reasonably decent on your skates. http://www.weekendwarriorshockey.com/ it's not cheap, but it's a lot of fun and it's perfect for adult rec level players.
I didn't learn to skate until my 30's as I wanted to play hockey, you'll fall a lot, but that's good because if you are falling down it means you're learning/pushing yourself. Now, I'm a hockey nut, I can't play too much hockey.
I didn't start (ice skating or playing hockey) till I was 42, and my fat self gets around the rink :-) I'm 45 now and by no way shape or form am I in "good shape". That being said, I have done a lot of clinics and learn to play classes. Some were with people who had less skills then I do, and most were with people who could skate laps around me on one leg. Not once did I ever get made fun of, in fact most if not all gave me tips and helped me to get better.
It's a great game to play. Have fun when you get back home!
Thanks again everyone. The advice and support is sincerely appreciated. I was steadily doing many of the mentioned workouts focusing mostly on core strength and endurance. But that will be on hold for a little bit as I managed to hurt myself pretty good yesterday.
Was doing a process known to us as "desnail" (not sure how it got that name), basically it's just a really thorough cleaning of all of our aircraft. We have to tear down, pressure wash, wipe down, vacuum out and then reassemble all of our aircraft. I was working in a wheelwell using our busted ass pressure washer which we can't stop spraying or the hose will bust. As I started to crawl out it slipped a little in my hand, to ensure I didn't get sprayed in the face my reaction was to pull it straight down..... on to my right kneecap. It's pretty amazing what that kind of water pressure at point blank range will do to human tissue. I managed to create a wound about 1 1/2 long wide enough that you could stick a golf ball in under the skin and clear down to the bone. It was kind of neat looking and I could almost pop my kneecap out of my skin while screwing with it. Anyway, a bunch of stitches and bandages later let's just say I don't really bend it right now. Hopefully I be back to working out in about 10 days and practicing at a rink at home in about 40.
you can probably buy most of your gear online but skates need to be bought in a hockey shop because you need to be fitted correctly. you don't need top of the line $600 skates but you also don't want cheap $100 skates either. plan to spend at least $250 to $300 on skates for a mid level skate.
also, if you'll be playing hockey in the South you might be able to find a beginner or learn-to-play league. if your base is close to Raleigh-Durham then you will be playing with plenty of people who learned as adults and they won't be laughing at you because they'll remember when they were rank beginners.