You might think that ice hockey is too challenging to learn as an adult but starting as an adult is totally doable and starting as an adult even has its advantages. Before you can begin to play ice hockey you need to be able to ice skate so that is where we are going to start
Ice hockey is more challenging to learn than most other team sports because you have to learn how to skate before you can learn how to play ice hockey. Learning how to ice skate well takes time and commitment. The fundamentals of ice skating include being able to skate forward and to stop in addition to turning in both directions.
There are classes tough that teach very beginners how to skate at almost every ice rink. Check the bulletin boards at the arena or call the rink and ask. Most of these classes are called “Learn To Skate” classes and they should be able to set you up very easily. I would recommend sticking with these classes through the multiple sessions that it will take you to get proficient in all of the fundamental ice skating skills.
Now that you have developed a good foundation with decent ice skating skills (starting, forward skating, turning and stopping) it is time to start learning how to play hockey. First you will need to outfit yourself with all of the necessary hockey gear (hockey skates, shin guards, pants, chest protector, hockey helmet, gloves, socks jerseys, etc). This is a long and expensive list so try to borrow a friends gear as you are getting started. It is a good idea to wear the gear while you are learning so that when you fall (and you will a lot at first) you can bounce right back up and keep going. Falling on something as hard as ice is no fun.
Now we finally come to learning how to play hockey. The best thing you can do is to find an adult Learn-To-Play-Hockey class in your area. You will learn a lot in a hurry and the classes are usually timed to happen just before the local adult hockey season starts so you move right onto a team. In addition to taking the Learn-To-Play class, get out and practice on the ice as often as you can. You can practice stick handling at home with a hockey ball and if you put on a pair of roller blades your practice will be even that much more valuable. Hiring a private hockey coach is also a good idea and you should be able to find one easily by asking around.
Playing ice hockey comes down to a couple of key skills to learn. As we mentioned before, your ability to skate is the most important thing you need to learn and you need to learn it before the other skills. After skating you need to be able to handle the puck with your hockey stick and this is something that you can do at home away from the rink. Start with a tennis ball or get a training ball and practice moving the puck back and forth in front of you and then around objects. Stationary puck handling skills won’t get you very far so try to add movement as soon as you can (walking or roller blades). The last skill is passing and shooting. Set up a target of some kind and shoot and pass until you are very accurate with some velocity on the puck.
Learning how to play ice hockey has got to be one of the most challenging sports to get into due to the extra challenge of having to learn to ice skate competently first. The big learning curve is also one of the positive aspects of the sport since you will always be getting better at some skills while being challenged by others. Come out and enjoy one of the most entertaining and fastest team sports around!
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