Increasing ankle mobility can help make you a more efficient and powerful skater.
The hockey stride consists of periods of single-leg support (glide phase) and double-leg support (propulsion phase). Increasing ankle mobility especially ankle dorsiflexion (when you raise your foot off the ground and keep your heel in contact with the ground) will allow you to get lower in your skating stance. This lower position increases your ability to produce force due to longer stride length and increased blade contact on the ice.
To address this need for increased ankle mobility in hockey players, we incorporate specific exercises into every training session.
It starts during the warm-up. We begin every session with a neuromuscular wake-up protocol called Reflexive Performace Reset or RPR. This protocol helps the hockey player restore nervous system function and primes to the body for training (you can learn more about RPR HERE).
Next, we address the soft tissue surrounding the ankle. To do this we have the athletes foam roll their calves, shin, and bottom of their foot.
After we have woken up the nervous system to restore function and addressed soft tissue quality we perform specific ankle mobility drills dor each athlete. Our favorites are Ankle Rocker Squats and ½ Kneeling Active Ankle Rocks (thanks to Coach Chris for the demonstrations).
The ankle should not be overlooked in hockey take time each training session to try and improve or maintain your ankle mobility. It could make all the difference in your on-ice performance.