If you are thinking of taking up playing hockey, then you are probably already keen on the sport and watch it regularly. And you have probably heard the commentators talk about individual players and the different skills that they have. Hockey players, like any popular sportsmen, are analyzed to the highest degree. Every aspect of their game is studied so that their coaches can improve weak areas and make others flourish. For instance Al MacInnis was famed for his slap shot, and many other great players have had kids from all over the world copy their one individual great attribute.
However, one swallow does not make a summer, and a truly great hockey player must possess several qualities. Here are the most important.
It may sound obvious but you cannot be a good hockey player without first being an excellent skater. There are some major NHL stars such as Paul Coffey that display quite dazzling skating techniques that elevate their game. Before you even pick up a hockey stick you must first put in the hours on the ice, when you play professionally there is no time to think about your skating, it must be second nature so you concentrate on more important things.
Every hockey player needs to be able to shoot, and there are many ways you can execute a shot. The more shots you can deliver the more dangerous you are and therefore more valuable to your team. Once again practice makes perfect, and you need to develop every avenue of shots from snapshot, wrist shot, and of course the highly difficult but effective slap shot. Once again study players like Brett Hull who is a master of shooting.
Another highly important element to your hockey game is how you handle your stick. If you cannot master this art then you will never be able to control the puck. Good stickhandling also enables you to change direction quickly which is a big part of hockey. Make sure that your stick is the perfect height and weight for your body, this will make the balance better and thus easier to control.
The importance of your hands in playing hockey cannot be underestimated, the feel and touch you have on your stick directly comes from your hands. And it is your hands that allow you to perform the most difficult techniques in hockey. If you study Steve Yzerman and how he easily receives difficult passes with total control of the puck you will realize that he does this from his hands. Practice makes perfect.
Great players like Wayne Gretzky have the ability to pick a pass out that nobody else even saw. They have an inbuilt sense and the ability to see the playing area different to anybody else. This helps them to anticipate how the different plays are going to develop and to change the direction. This skill cannot be taught and only the truly great players possess it.
But the more you play, the more these and other skills will develop and improve, hockey takes years to perfect and don’t expect to learn it all in a week.