This week’s workout comes from Team Hardwood, a development cross-country ski program near Barrie, Ontario. Head coach Ron Howden explains that the game of hockey, as natural to most Canadians as breathing, helps young or novice rollerskiers become more comfortable with skiing on pavement. His team plays street hockey on occasion, often on a quiet subdivision street.
“This is a slightly unusual workout but great for juniors and novice rollerskiers,” Howden writes. “In Canada we are born with hockey sticks in our hands.
“When I was thinking of a way to get kids comfortable on rollerskis I thought, why not use something that is familiar and introduce something new (rollerskiing) so that the kids would focus on the puck and play rather than the possibility of falling? Some of the kids in the video [below] are novices, they have been on rollerskis about two or three times and move a lot more freely when they are in a comfortable setting. The older ones (the girl in pink) can use the game to learn tactics and comfort in packs for mass starts. The boy at the end of the video who scores has been on rollerskis 3 times, once we put a hockey stick in his hands he was so much more comfortable.
If you have an older group that is more comfortable you can progress to lacrosse and maybe American football (without the tackling).
This was a fun workout to do now and then that the kids (young and old – I played, too) will enjoy.”
- 10 – 15 min warmup with agility drills without poles on rollerskis
- 40 – 50 min of hockey
- Head-to-head skills competition with carrying the puck around a course
- Hockey sticks
- Plastic puck (I would use this rather than a tennis ball)
- Sidewalk chalk (we did not use nets and pylons so that we had nothing to trip over)
- Rollerskis, helmets, possibly knee and elbow pads
The rink can be any size but stopping on rollerskis is a bit tougher so you will want to give room for run out. It is best if you stick to five athletes per team and no goalie. Use chalk for marking the goals so that there are no obstacles and keep them small so that it is challenging to get the puck in. About an hour of play-time is a good goal, and make sure there is water handy so that you can keep everyone hydrated.”
Team Hardwood is a race program that runs out of the rolling hills of Oro Medonte. The programs range from a junior race program to an elite team that has members on the Junior National team and provincial programs. Our goal is develop athletes from the time an athlete begins racing at the local level to when they are ready to compete on the international stage.