Northeastern’s Dave Flint offers summer training tips for ice hockey players

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Summer is on the horizon, but for ice hockey players, winter is never far away. david flintNortheastern’s coach powerful female teamoffers off-season tips and goals to help players of all ages make the most of the warm weather while investing in their skills for next season.

Tip n°1: practice another sport

“That’s my big tip for young kids in particular,” Flint says. “It doesn’t matter what you’re doing — playing baseball, riding a bike — as long as you’re doing things to give your body a break.”

Getting away from organized hockey and into another sport helps players develop strengths and skills that can be transferred to the ice (see below) while allowing them to take a break from hockey.

“One of the problems we have around the world is early specialization in sports,” Flint says. “I get it: Parents pay thousands of dollars to put their kids in camps and help them with private trainers. But by the time kids get to high school, they may be exhausted.

Playing another sport for fun can help deepen a player’s love for hockey, insists Flint, who points to the Northeastern forward skylar irving as someone who grew up playing field hockey and lacrosse in addition to her chosen sport.

“Be a kid,” Flint says. “Enjoy other sports.”

Tip #2: Improve your top speeds

“Everything is short and fast in ice hockey,” says Flint. “There are a lot of players who can achieve high speed over a longer distance. But the best players generate that quickness in their first five steps, which makes those players faster on the pucks and more dynamic.

That explosiveness has defined a number of Huskies, including the forward Alina Muller (who will be team captain next season) and skylar fountainthe outgoing All-American defenseman, who was arguably the nation’s fastest skater throughout her career in the Northeast.

For enhanced bursts of speed, Flint recommends running five to seven sprints of no more than 10 to 20 yards.

“There’s a bunch of NHL players doing that,” Flint said. “Take a minute of rest between each sprint to allow your body to recover. You want maximum effort, and that won’t happen if you do them one after the other.

It is also important to add a sense of competition.

“Go against a timer so you can tell if you’re getting faster,” Flint says. “Nobody likes to sprint, and sometimes you can just follow the moves. But if you’re racing against the clock or sprinting against a teammate, this competition is going to push you and get the best out of you.

Tip n°3: take a racket

“Some of the best European players I coached were very good at racquet sports,” Flint says.

Tennis, racquetball and squash help hockey players improve their hand-eye coordination in high-speed situations, Flint says.

“I once coached a kid who was an amazing badminton player, which is all about quick short bursts and changes of direction and then you add hand-eye coordination to it,” says Flint. “Racquet sports and football are very important to the European players I have coached over the years.”

There’s another benefit to playing a sport like tennis that will pay off for years, Flint adds.

“You want activities that you can do later in life when your hockey career is over,” he says. “These sports can help you in your development today. And later, they can help you stay fit and active doing something you love.

Tip #4: Shoot Pucks

On the ice, in your driveway, wherever you are…

“I always tell kids if you want to have a better shot, a stronger shot, just throw pucks,” Flint said. “There’s no other way to do it.”

Although there is a way to improve shooting while getting paid to do so.

“As the kids get older, I tell them that one of the best summer jobs you can get is to be a goalie camp shooter,” Flint says. “They always need shooters. You get paid to throw hockey pucks, and I guarantee you’ll score more goals next season.

It’s hard work, warns Flint, who recalls his time as assistant coach of the men’s team at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, more than two decades ago.

“We had a kid who was an intermediate scorer for us,” Flint recalled. “He was shooting goaltenders all summer, and at one of the first camps we had, his hands were bleeding. He had blisters all over and I had to wrap his hands because he was throwing so many pucks. His last two years, he led the team in scoring.

Northeastern’s toughest shooter is Maureen Murphywho will return to the Huskies in 2022-23 after leading the nation with 30 goals last season.

“There’s no secret,” Flint says. “Repeat, repeat, repeat. Shoot pucks and your shot will get harder and more accurate.

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