We all have loved the moments of the game. I’ve heard people starting out as adults, learning to skate and play, and teens beginning their hockey journey at 15. I started playing when I was 4 years old. My older brother and sister both played, and so it was always a no brainer for when I was going to play. The game is intoxicating, it is exciting and it is amazing. There is no feeling quite like the wind on your face, striding down the ice, free. To play in the summer, to train at home is the ultimate dream.
The ability to remove any outside variables for off-ice training is the best way to truly improve your on-ice performance. The way the puck slides on the ice, the way the ice feels beneath you as you skate, it is very difficult to mimic that on your own, with a garage floor, driveway, or street. There are a few ways to help improve your experience off-ice:
- Using a different object than a puck, like a ball or a special puck that slides across rough surfaces with ease.
- Improving the surface below.
We have all seen the signs, a clear giveaway that the house has a hockey player within its walls. Black scuff marks all over the driveway, the stick marks and lost pucks strewn about. Flooring in off-ice training is important. It allows the puck to slide smoothly, it is safer, and it protects the surface below.
Hockey is a marginal game. The gap between players is so small, even can be purely subjective at times. Making the A team, being chosen to get out at the end of a game, all can be a matter of a coach’s opinion. Putting in the extra effort to be great, having an awesome attitude can be the difference maker when all other things are even. At the end of the day, the memories we create and the way we make people feel will last far beyond the statistics that we put up on the ice. Being a good teammate is the best way to build a structural bond from the ground up. Like any fantastic off-ice set-up, the key ingredient is the dryland flooring tiles that lie beneath.
So many products boast their simplicity of design, installation, and longevity on the market. In reality, it is very difficult to recreate the feeling of a puck gliding across the smooth ice. There are a lot of things that can get in the way of having a smooth surface, like:
- Bumps on the surface
- Cracks in the pavement
- Rocks, pebbles and other debris
All of these things can make it incredibly difficult to focus on, and perform the drills and tasks that hockey off-ice tiles can remedy.
Dryland Hockey Tiles help us to be able to play the game that we love in more places. It allows us to be able to train and practice in the summer, in the garage, in the backyard. There are many tiles on the market, all a little different and it can be hard to know which one is actually best for your space. Some of your options include:
- Icecourt by Versacourt is a high quality, multisport option with weather resistance and unique locking system that creates a seamless finish on the floor. It is mainly created for roller hockey and inline skating.
- HockeyShot has dryland tiles that are designed to slide into place, they have 18inch tiles and they fit together like puzzle pieces, instead of clicking into place like other types. They are reversible, but at the same time because they do not snap into place, they can be difficult to stay in place, and they can be prone to gaps and sliding around on the surface below.
- Xhockeyproducts has 22” puzzle like style of tiles designed for stickhandling and puck movement. The 22-inch squares can be difficult measure in your space, due to the math involved. Similar to the HockeyShot, it is reversible but the puzzle pieces are prone to sliding around because they do not lock into place.
- Sniper’s Edge Hockey has the only tiles on the market that are specially designed with UV-protection, and coatings that keep them slick and smooth throughout use. Our Extreme Hockey flooring gets better the more that it gets used, due to the products design. This makes it the most well-designed, durable product on the market. The tiles lock into place with ease and can transform your space into the ultimate dryland area.
We have seen tiles in commercial spaces that were installed over 10 years ago still in use and great condition today. The puck slides with ease across the surface with precision and shots sling off your stick with grace. Indoor hockey flooring is the pinnacle product to complete any home set-up. The factors involved in creating the tiles is crucial to their longevity and success. To become an expert in any task, it takes more than 1,000 hours. There are a countless number of tasks and skills involved in hockey. A player can be great at a skating, shooting, stickhandling, and within those there are countless smaller skills. The amount of time and touches that we get in a team practice, and substantially less than that in a game. The average player touches the puck for a little more than a minute in a 60-minute game, and for around 7-8 minutes in a team practice. In order to improve, we must get more touches outside of those. Having dryland flooring is a great starting point to provide the space to improve.
Being as close to the feel of the puck on ice is key to truly receiving the benefit of the off-ice training. The design and the seamless connection make the Sniper’s Edge Hockey tiles a perfect option for any player looking to maximize the potential of the space. You can shoot off of them with ease, stickhandle and perfect your form and technique, and increase your challenge with trying to balance board on them. The slippery surface makes it quite the challenging experience!
With such an investment, research is always necessary. We all love hockey; and we all love the game and everything it has to offer. Making the most out of any opportunity is key, and developing the skills outside of the rink is a way to effectively improve and gain confidence. Being able to skillfully translate skills from off-ice to on ice is one of the things that separates players from stars. They spend hours practicing outside of the game, outside of the rink, working on their own skills and game. They make the commitment and remain determined and focused throughout. Tiles are sure to remain sturdy and be there for you as you continue your journey to being elite. They also protect the ground beneath from scuff marks, puck lines, making your home free from the notorious hockey player marks.
Making the decision as to which to tiles to invest in is an important one. It makes your area safer, easier to use, and it remains strong and sturdy throughout its lifetime. The talent gap is getting smaller and smaller with the improvements in coaching, training, and technology in the game of hockey. Bridging that gap has improved the game immensely, but for players it is now more important than ever to be able to distance themselves from the competition. There are TikTok coaches and trick shot players, but how do we actually get better at hockey? There is only one way… to practice. Again, and again. To train and to learn and to repeat the process. It gains confidence, it makes it second nature. It’s the only way to become the best, and achieve your dreams. It takes time, excitement, and skill.