Knee Bending Drills for Hockey Players
To play hockey well, you need to bend your knees. If you skate with your knees straight, your center of balance will be high and your stride will be choppy; you will be likely to lose your balance and can be easily knocked over by an opponent. Practice keeping you knees bent to improve your skating speed and balance.
Pushing on Knees
To teach players the basics of keeping their knees bent, have them bend their knees and place their hands on top of them. They should then skate around the ice, pushing their hands down on their knees as they do so. This will force the legs to move back and the skates to move outward slightly, while keeping the knees properly bent.
Soccer Ball Drill
Tucker Hockey recommends the soccer ball drill to help players practice bending their knees. In this drill, the players move a soccer ball around on the ice -- the catch is that they do not use their sticks and cannot touch the ball with their feet. The players can only move the ball with their hands. You can have players race with the ball, or play a team game where they try to score with the ball. In order to move quickly, the players must bend at their knees, rather than at the waist.
One Leg Push
The one-leg push is a drill that helps players to get used to keeping their knees bent. According to Robby Glantz of hockeyplayer.com, this drill is appropriate for skaters of all abilities. The player should begin with his left knee bent at a 90-degree angle. He then pushes himself along using his right foot only -- keeping his left knee bent as he does so. The player should then switch, bending the right knee and pushing with the left knee.
Players should face the boards with their skates close together and their toes pointing forward. They should lean forward at a 55-degree angle, placing their hands on the edge of the boards for support. Then, they should sit back, as though they are sitting in a chair -- bending their knees at a 90-degree angle. While maintaining their balance against the boards, the players should practice their strides -- skating in place while pushing against the boards.