Balance Key to Athletic Performance
Being in a position of balance and in control of your body is essential to being able to execute every technical skill a player performs in their sport. As a hockey player, whether you are shooting or passing a puck, checking, skating or stick handling your ability to execute the skills correctly requires that you be in full control of your body.
The same holds true for baseball players, football players, rugby players, soccer players, golfers, basketball players and players in all sports, the skills of the game must be executed in a position of balance and control of the body and this cannot be over emphasized.
The Hockey Position
In the photo above a coach is demonstrating for the players the hockey position. Knees flexed, chest over his thighs, head up, feet slightly outside shoulder width apart, weight on his inside edges, backside out (butt), with forward flexion at the waist (correct spine angle) that allows for the chest to be over the thighs. The hockey position assures the correct athletic posture of the player so that they are in a position of balance and control of their body.
Correct Posture = Position of Balance and Control
When a player is learning a skill it is important to make sure they are in a good hockey position. As the player demonstrates the ability to execute the skill in a position of balance and control the speed or pace the skill is being performed can be increased. Nothing is done at the expense of balance and control of the body. Being in a strong hockey position is a good habit. The more a good habit is emphasized and reinforced with players the better, it soon will be automatic and something the player does all the time without thinking (Unconscious Competence).
NHL Player Examples
The best players in today’s game are always in a strong hockey position . You see it when they perform the skills of the game skating, shooting, passing, stick handling and checking. These 3 highly skilled players demonstrate the importance of being in a strong hockey position at all times:
- Steven STAMKOS
- Nathan Mackinnon
- Connor McDavid
Watch the videos below to see how being in a strong hockey position (position of balance & control) helps these players in the execution of their technical hockey skills. Being in a strong athletic posture supports the player’s ability to perform.
Being in a strong hockey position is necessary to learn and develop technical hockey skills but it is also important for a player’s safety. The game of hockey at higher levels is played with speed and physicality. Being in a position of balance and control of the body is important for a player’s safety.