How to learn hockey is not as simple or as easy as first meets the eye. What started out as a basic stick and ball game has evolved into a sport that is great fun for players and spectators alike. This great game has something to appeal to everyone. It is fast paced and played under unnatural conditions. It is both graceful and skilful and at the same time downright dangerous and dirty.
Luckily, to appreciate the game as a spectator and fan only requires that you have a basic knowledge of the game. Start by learning some game nomenclature such as icing and offside. Know the length of a period, how many periods in a game and how overtime works. Learn what is a power play, hockey store a penalty kill and sudden death. As your knowledge and appreciation grows so will your love of the game. You will soon be an expert on tripping, high sticking, butt ending and elbowing. You will be able to differentiate between a minor and a misconduct, a great save or a routine play and a defenseman and forward. You will know when a goalie is standing on his head or a referee is out to lunch.
To learn to play hockey requires skills that do not come naturally but never the less have to be mastered. It requires knowledge, dexterity, physical prowess, toughness and hand/eye coordination. To play at a high level requires commitment, dedication, athleticism and a love of the game. Hours and hours, months and months and years and years of practise and game experience are required.
How to learn hockey as a player requires that you first learn four basic hockey fundamentals. These are, in order of importance, skating, hockey knowledge, stick handling and shooting. Of course there are many more aspects to the game which will be learned as you play and gain experience but start with these four:
Skating: Before joining any hockey program you must learn how to skate on ice. You don’t have to be an expert but you should be able to get around the rink doing basic starts and stops. You should be able to turn in both directions and be able to skate both forward and backward. Hopefully, there are “learn to skate” classes available in your area.
Hockey Knowledge: Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to acquire hockey knowledge. Read a couple of hockey books, understand rules and regulations and watch a few hockey games. This should be enough to get you started along your path to stardom.
Stick Handling: This is a skill you can work on without even going to the rink. All you need is a basic hockey stick, a ball and room to move. “Cup” the ball with your stick in front of you as you move it back and forth. Try to do this by feel while looking ahead, not down at the ball.
Shooting: You can’t score if you can’t shoot and you can’t pass if you can’t shoot. Again you can practise this at home with your stick and ball and a blank wall. Practise shooting forehand and backhand, low shots and high shots. Remember to keep your head up, aim and follow through to your target.
Once you have learned these basics you will be ready to join a league and start to really enjoy the wonderful game of hockey. Don’t wait to become expert in these skills because you will become more proficient as you practise and have real game experience. Many on-line hockey stores have training aids to assist your quest in how to learn hockey.