What about other sports? I am a fan; I think playing other sports makes you a well-rounded athlete. I can only speak from my experience but here is what I played growing up. Youth football taught me about team play and that what I did impacted the rest of a play. It was great for running and developing hands, catching passes and lanes when running the ball. It taught me about how to angle players in the open field just to name a few.
I played keeper in soccer. Have you ever tried to defend an 11-foot goal? Soccer taught me the importance of angles and when making a save, how important technique was when diving. It also taught me how to come off the goal line and charge an attacking player who was looking at an 11-foot goal. Finally, it taught me about waiting out players on penalty kicks and how to bait a player into shooting one direction by getting them to think I was diving the other direction.
I also played baseball until high school. In hockey, I caught with my right hand but in baseball I caught with my left. Being able to catch was important but hand eye coordination and hitting was what I took away from baseball. Hand eye coordination is one of the most important things a goalie can have and that is what baseball taught me. Whether that is catching a line drive or standing in the batter’s box and not having the fear of the pitcher hitting you with a fast ball and putting the bat on the ball I know made me a better hockey player. Baseball is also a team sport. How do I advance the runner or if I am in the field, how do we prevent the other team from scoring. All things that are important when it comes to playing a team sport and hockey is a team sport.
One of the things that I did as I got older was play racquetball. Racquetball was one of the best things I did to help develop my foot speed and hand eye coordination. The problem is you need to have someone to play with and a court. If you can find those two things, I highly recommend giving it a try.
One summer, because of work, I was not able to get to the gym for workouts, so I strapped on my pads and did 150 up/downs. It worked – my legs that year were stronger than ever before. I figured that 150 was at least 3xs the number of times I went down in any game.
Playing other sports is important to learn different skills that can be applied back on the ice rink.
Written by: Peter Jervis