For many people the world over, hockey is considered to be the ultimate sport. Of course, other people might disagree, but their opinions are irrelevant for this article. If you want to hear someone talk about how great football is, you’re going to have to go find an article about football. Hockey players have an inside perspective of the game, and they also need a great deal of training to ensure that they’re always in peak physical condition for their next challenge. One of the easiest ways to make sure that you’re getting the training you need is to use hockey tiles.
You may be asking “What are these tiles that you speak of?” and that’s an excellent question. We’re going to cover the types of tiles used for hockey practice and how they can take your training game up to the next level. Whether you’re new to the game or a seasoned veteran, these tiles can bring a whole new dimension to your training that you’ve never had access to in the past. In fact, many people that use these tiles often feel much more prepared when it’s time to actually get on the ice and face off against an opposing team.
What are Tiles That are Made for Hockey?
Before delving into why you need these tiles, it’s important to go over exactly what these tiles are. There are a few types of tiles that are specially made for hockey, and each has different properties that make them better suited for different situations, more on that in a little bit. The two types of tiles do have their own unique qualities, but they are also different at the same time. Each one is good for some different things, but overall they do serve a lot of the same functions.
The reason why they’re called “tiles” is that they’re, well, tiles. They interlock to create a larger surface that you can practice on. You can purchase different-sized sets of tiles depending on how big of a surface you want to cover with them. It makes things pretty convenient over just having to get a giant piece of flooring to do this because it allows you to make a rink that conforms to whatever space you have available for it. People use both types of flooring, sometimes even in the same household.
The first type of flooring is dryland hockey flooring. These tiles are somewhat slick and can be set up in a number of places without having to move them. They aren’t anywhere near as slick as ice and if you want to practice sliding around you’d need to be in shoes with worn-down treads or socks. You can put them in your garage or in your backyard and not have to worry too much about them. Mid to high-quality dryland flooring is usually designed to handle a good deal of abuse, whether that’s the elements or you parking your car on it.
The other type of tiles are made up of synthetic ice. Synthetic ice is made up of a chemically complex type of plastic and can provide a good amount of glide factor while you’re wearing ice skates. These tiles are definitely something that you need to be a little more careful about placing because while most are able to hold a heavy load, they are pretty slippery to try and walk on. That means that this kind of flooring can’t just be put into your garage and left there for an indefinite period of time without worrying about it.
Which One is Better for You?
There are some distinct pros and cons to both dryland tiles and synthetic ice. Both are good for different things, but both will help you get the practice you need in. When deciding if getting any kind of hockey flooring is right for you, it’s important to be sure that you’re going for the option that fits your situation the best. Getting the wrong option can make your training or even certain parts of your life more difficult than they need to be on any given day. So before continuing, make sure you keep in mind exactly what your needs are.
We’ll start by looking at some of the positives of dryland hockey flooring. As we mentioned a bit in the previous section, you can put these tiles pretty much where ever you like and it won’t be an issue. There are plenty of dryland tiles that are weatherized so you can just set it up in your backyard and never tear it down. Because the tiles aren’t too slick you could reasonably leave it set up in your backyard even if you have guests over, so long as you warn them to be a little mindful of where they step.
Most dryland hockey tiles are also built to withstand a good amount of weight on them. That means that you could easily leave it set up in your garage and just park on top of it and not have to worry about set up or tear down. All of that is great, and because both dryland tiles and synthetic ice are modular you just link the entire rink up like the world’s easiest jigsaw puzzle and make sure it’s level so no one trying to practice on the surface has any issues.
Dryland tiles do have a few drawbacks. You absolutely cannot under any circumstances use ice skates on dryland tiles. That’s because the tiles aren’t designed for that kind of thing, so you would end up destroying them with your blades, while also dulling your blades incredibly quickly. With that in mind, if you want to do training in your skates, this isn’t the option for you. Fortunately, these tiles still allow for enough glide to send a puck flying in a manner that is very similar to what it would be like on the ice, which means that there are still all types of drills you can perform.
Synthetic ice also has a lot of pros and cons. It can’t be placed and left in the same variety of places because of how slick it is, and that means that you’ll have to tear down and set up a lot if you’re short on space. The trade-off here is that you can use your ice skates on it, which makes everything a lot more worthwhile. Both dryland tiles and synthetic ice are weatherproof, so if there’s an area in your backyard you wanted to dedicate to this you could easily leave it out.
There are any number of drills that you can do on synthetic ice, as well. Most of the drills that you can do on real ice can be done in synthetic ice, which makes it an excellent choice for this kind of thing. Dryland tiles are also good for almost any kind of drill, which makes both of these excellent choices for your off-season training needs. Whether you like setting up obstacle courses, doing figure eights, or any other type of drills, these tiles will be able to provide a surface where they can be easily done.
Why It’s Important
After reading this entire article you may be wondering why it’s so important, and the reason is actually pretty simple. Training helps keep your mind and body sharp enough for the next season. You always want to make sure that the other team views you as a threat, and you want to have the skills and strength to back it up. Not training for six to eight months out of the year can make you rusty, and that’s not going to do anything for your team’s standing in the upcoming season. In fact, it can make it a lot harder to get ahead in the long run.
Stickhandling isn’t the only important thing to practice. You also need to be sure that you’re strength training and doing your cardio so you can be in good enough shape on the ice when the season comes around. With that in mind, stickhandling is incredibly important, and ensuring that you have the basics down to muscle memory means that you’ll be able to spend less time thinking about the basic things you’re doing and more time planning on how to get the puck into the goal, or stopping the other team from getting their puck into your goal.
Getting the Right Training
It can be hard to be sure that you’re getting all of the training that you need on a daily basis, and getting some kind of hockey flooring can help immensely. It doesn’t matter if you’re a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, hockey flooring has many training benefits that can help you in both the short term and the long term. Being a force to be reckoned with on the ice will mean that the other team has to adjust their plan for you, and that’s a nice feeling no matter how long you’ve been playing the game.