How to Choose Hockey Training Balls

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

Step one in choosing the right hockey training ball for you is to determine what you plan to use it for. Practice use versus play use will dictate which ball is right for you to use.

Step 2

Step two in choosing the right hockey training ball for you is based on surface. Choosing the right ball will change based on whether you are playing indoor hockey, street hockey, roller hockey or dry-land training. By narrowing what surface you plan to use the training ball on, you will then have a more defined set of options to choose from.

Step 3

Step three in choosing the right hockey training ball for you is choosing between a training ball or a training puck. While many training balls mimic the feel of a real hockey puck, players may feel more comfortable utilizing a training puck for the simple sake of familiarity. *If you are planning to use a training ball/puck for play, please consult Step Four. If you are planning to use a training ball/puck for practice or dry-land training, please skip to Step Five.

Step 4

Step Four in choosing the right hockey training ball or puck for use in game action is determined by the game. While playing roller hockey or street hockey are not dissimilar, the needs in regard to reaction time and “play” of the ball/puck are very different. First off, it is acceptable to have a bit more bounce in a street hockey ball/puck while roller hockey use usually demands less bounce and more stability. For Street hockey, when played outdoors on asphalt, it is recommended to use a light-weight plastic ball (such as the Franklin High Density Street Hockey ball). For Indoor Street hockey, normally played in a gymnasium on vinyl flooring, it is recommended to use a smooth gliding training ball(such as a Cosom Hockey Ball) or a smooth gliding training puck(such as the Green Biscuit). For Roller hockey, when played outdoors on asphalt, it is recommended to use a heavier ball with less bounce (such as the SmartHockey Stickhandling ball), while use for Indoor Roller hockey (or outdoor Roller Hockey played on a synthetic surface) demands a heavier ball or puck with excellent slide and stability (such as the Green Biscuit). Although there are unique needs for the different styles of street or roller hockey, there are certain products that serve multiple uses and may therefore be a better buy(such as the Green Biscuit).

Step 5

Step Five in choosing the right hockey training ball or puck for use in practice or training is based on which desired skill set you wish to improve. For example, if you wish to improve your stick-handling, it is recommended that you begin using a training ball or puck that is weighted and, if used on an outdoor or non-smooth surface, has exceptional glide (such as the Swedish Training Ball), before moving onto the lighter weight products (SmartHockey Training Ball) which allow the user to build up from general skills to more difficult and specific training techniques. In the same sense that stick-handling specific training balls or pucks are meant glide and mimic that action of a real puck, shooting specific training balls or pucks are designed to be weighted (normally the heaviest of all training balls or pucks) in order to help develop better accuracy(such as the Swedish Training Ball). As well, passing specific training balls or pucks are designed with balance in mind as they must have excellent glide as well as stable carry in order to make sure the player can better develop their passing skills (such as the Encore Hockey Fly Puck).

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

While selecting the proper hockey training ball or puck will always depend on intended use and playing surface, it is always recommended to buy in bulk. As the intended purpose of the training balls or pucks is to be used, be it in practice or play. None of the products are fully resistant from damage, therefore buying more than one is always a better idea.

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Funny or interesting story about this topic...

Although considered an essential part of dry-land training by European and Russian players, it wasn't until recently (within the last 30 years) that hockey players in North America began to seriously embrace off-ice training methods, specifically training with an off-ice hockey training ball. Beginning with the use of a tennis ball or rubber ball to practice stick-handling, passing and shooting in the hallways outside the dressing room, this now-common practice has advanced tremendously as the former tennis ball that was once used has now been replaced by finely-tuned, aerodynamically engineered hockey balls and pucks that not only mimic the feel and reaction of real hockey pucks, but are also designed for the improvement of specific skills.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

As the hockey season does not last all year, once the snow melts and there's no more ice to be found outdoors most hockey players tend to take to the street to play Ball or Roller hockey. A tradition that many players embrace as young children, I also caught on, playing my summers away on the hot asphalt. Yet, as any devoted hockey player will soon notice, Tennis and Racquet balls simply do not cut it as they do not meet the demands and needs of playing off-ice hockey. As a result of this need to have a better off-ice "puck" to play with, we soon turned to lightweight, plastic street hockey balls. The lighter, brighter colored ball was much easier to use and thus made playing the game of hockey in the summer, on roller blades or on foot, all the more enjoyable.

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