So if you’re here you’re probably looking for some tips to learn to play hockey for adults.
You didn’t play hockey as a kid. You didn’t play hockey in high school. Now you want to lace up the skates and join your friends’ rec league.
Welcome this amazing sport.
It is never too late to learn to play hockey. In adult recreational leagues have a wide range of ages (and skill levels). Most hockey players are happy to help someone new to the game and there are a lot of ways to learn and get into the game as an adult.
Here are 7 tips to help you learn to play hockey as an adult.
1. Get Skates That Fit You Correctly
Not all skates are created equal and getting good skates does not just mean spending a lot of money.
Every skate brand has various models that are each designed for a different foot shape and different feel. It is just as important to choose the right model of skate based on your unique anatomical characteristics as it is to get the right size.
This is an often overlooked part of learning the game.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money and get the most high end skates out there. In fact, the really expensive skates are probably too stiff for someone learning the game and you’ll never be able to break them in. You can find a good pair around the $250 price range.
Don’t get caught up in marketing hype or the features of a specific skate. As long as you pick a quality brand and don’t go with the absolute cheapest model, you’ll get a good quality skate. It is more important to find the brand and model that fit your foot shape than anything else.
There’s nothing wrong with buying the skates online, just make sure you buy from a place that has a great and easy return policy if they don’t fit right. If you have a store that is local then go try on a few different models to see how they fit your foot shape.
2. Learn To Skate Like A Hockey Player
A lot of adults that are new to hockey have had some experience on skates.
That could be good or bad.
If you’ve only tried figure skates and skated slowly in a clockwise circle, then skating for a hockey game is going to be a completely new experience for you.
Start With A Good Skating Stance
You can’t skate standing straight up like you see most people doing at open skate sessions.
If you are standing upright, you’ll be unable to skate with any power and you’ll easily get pushed off the puck.
You want to get that center of gravity lower to the ice. Bend your knees and squat a little almost like you are sitting in a chair. You want to squat comfortably and not too far, but see how far you can go on the ice and then rise up a little. That is probably pretty close to your ideal hockey stance. Try to keep your weight around the center of your feet and skates or maybe even a little forward of center.
This accomplishes two things.
First, it will give you better balance on your skates. Everything you do on your skates will be easier if you are balanced well, whether it is skating fast, puck handling, shooting, or fighting in the corner for a puck.
Second, when you push off to stride, you want to be using the full extension of your leg with each stride. If you are standing upright, you’ll be weakly pushing out to the side and when you try to skate fast, you’ll just be making short choppy strides.
When you are in a good squat position, you will have a lot more leverage with each stride. Think of the pistons in an engine. If they only moved a tiny amount up and down, they would need to pump a lot faster to generate the same about of energy.
Your legs are like pistons when you stride. You want to get lower to the ice and have that leg bent with as much stored energy as possible so that when you do stride, it is a long powerful stride.
Work On Rhythm When Skating
Another overlooked aspect of beginner skaters is their skating rhythm.
The timing of your strides and developing a good rhythm in your skating can increase your balance and speed considerably without any additional conditioning.
You can have two hockey players with similar leg strength and stamina but the one with better rhythm in their strides will be able to generate more speed than the other.
These are just a couple of things you can work on to improve your skating. But you’ll be learning to skate better your entire life. Even NHL players are constantly working on their skating techniques.
At this stage, if you decide to take lessons, they should be focused mostly on skating. At the recreational level, there are a lot of players that can shoot and pass well, but few that are powerful skaters. Develop good skating habits from the beginning and you will be able to distinguish yourself on the ice.
3. Get Some Basic Equipment
Until you are ready to play in a live game, start out with skates, shin guards, gloves, a helmet, an athletic cup, and a stick.
That may seem like a lot just to get started, but I wouldn’t step on the ice without at least those pieces of gear.
Once you start playing scrimmages or games, you’ll need to add hockey pants, shoulder pads, and elbow pads.
Hockey gear can get very expensive. So starting with skates while you are learning to skate and then adding the additional pieces of gear as necessary can be a good approach to soften the impact on your wallet.
Remember that the most expensive “pro level” gear is not only unnecessary but can actually hurt your ability to play and learn the game at the beginner level. Those pieces of gear are designed for high level players and pros.
Our Ice Hockey Equipment Guide is always being updated with new reviews and buying guides to help you find the best gear for your game.