Ice Hockey Slide Boards
Building strength to skate with speed and power takes dedication, but ice rinks aren't always open or easily accessible. Luckily, slide boards make practice possible at home. With a slippery surface and accompanying footwear, slide boards simulate skating on ice so that hockey players can perfect their stride without the hassle.
What are ice hockey slide boards used for?
Slide boards are slippery surfaces that allow an athlete to simulate skating on ice. They're used for endurance training and practicing a wide sideways stride to build speed, engaging the muscles used for skating in the legs and core. To use them, an athlete places the board on a hard floor and wears stretchy-fabric booties that go over the sneakers to let feet glide over the surface as if they were skating. Plastic stoppers called bumpers are placed around the borders to keep the user in bounds. They're also portable and can be conveniently rolled up or taken apart.
Slide boards were first used by speed skaters looking to practice their acceleration, but they were soon picked up by hockey players who make use of many of the same skills. Learning to skate low to the ground and build speed with a strong lateral stride are key to keeping up in the rink and getting to the puck first.
Things To Consider
When looking for a slide board, you'll want to consider the following:
- Do you want an adjustable slide board?
- How much do you want to spend on a slide board?
- What size slide board are you looking for?
- Do you want your slide board to be portable?
Slide boards can come in different shapes and methods of configuration to best suit a player's needs.
Slide boards made of tiles come with interlockable pieces that fit together to create the board. Unlike single-piece boards, they can be configured to create different shapes. While a long rectangle is the standard model to practice lateral strides for building speed, blockier square shapes allow you to practice turns or different maneuvers for handling the puck.
One-Piece Slide Boards
Most slide boards come in one continuous piece, most commonly in a long rectangular form that allows the athlete to push from side to side to practice a lateral stride that builds speed. Some one-piece slide boards come in a square or circle, which are more beneficial shapes for practicing turns or ways to handle and shoot the puck.
The material that forms the main surface of the slide board will impact your workout's emphasis on strength or balance training.
- Polyethylene: High-grade polyethylene is a type of plastic that forms the slippery surface of the board. It's glossier than PVC, which means it's more similar to skating on real ice for emphasized balance training.
- PVC: PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is another synthetic plastic that forms the slippery surface of slide boards. It is slightly less glossy than high-grade polyethylene, with greater friction making it ideal for more rigorous strength training.
- Rubber: On the underside of the slide board are non-slip rubber pads that grip the floor and lock the slide board firmly in place as you slide.
Slide boards are increasing in popularity with hockey players, and therefore have seen a few more brands make them in the past few years.
- Better Hockey: Better Hockey is a renowned leader in off-ice training for hockey. Its standard 8 foot long slide board has been used to train nearly a hundred NHL players, and its sliding tiles come in packs of 10 to 40 to offer consumers a wide range of board sizes.
- Hockey Revolution: Hockey Revolution's Puzzle system slide tiles are good quality tiles that come in sets for both children and teens to adults.
- SPRI: SPRI offers reliable yet affordable slide board options, with its product costing as little as under $50.
An athlete's desired exercises and frequency of use should be taken into consideration when purchasing a slide board.
Slide boards endure a good amount of force as an athlete slides on them with their full bodyweight. The least expensive boards, which are often made of material that is not as thick, might have curling plastic within a year or worn down the bumpers that don't stay in place. However, a quality slide board can last years without a problem.
A slide board's price varies depending on size (a kit of tiles can be especially large and therefore cost much more). The most inexpensive cost as little as $45, while most average prices are from $150 to $200. Better quality boards tend to have a thicker layer of slippery plastic which don't curl after excessive use.
A standard rectangular slide board for teens to adults is nearly 2 feet wide and 8 to 10 feet long. Both tile slide boards and one-piece boards can be adjusted to suit smaller strides by either using fewer tiles or sliding the bumpers of the single-piece board inward to cut off some of the length.
How much does a slide board cost?
Slide boards can cost as little $45 as or as much as $700 depending on the player's needs, but a traditionally sized rectangular board will cost around $175. A $45 lateral board is an affordable way to try a slide board, though often less durable because of its typically slimmer layer of plastic. The most expensive options are slide tiles which can be built to cover over a hundred square feet of ground, offering more leverage of movement.
What muscle groups does a slide board exercise?
Slide boards are most commonly used to train the legs and core for muscle memory and endurance. They engage all of the muscles it takes to skate, stay balanced, and build speed. Standard lunge exercises particularly target the exterior muscles (the quads) as you push from side to side of the board, also working the hips and lower abdomen. The boards can also be used for upper body exercises with modified push ups.
What size slide board should you get?
Teens to adults should get a rectangular slide board 8 to 10 feet long, though the length to suit personal strides can be adjusted by the placement of the bumpers on a single-piece board or the number of tiles used on a tile-based board. Tile slide boards can come in packs of 10-50 (about 23 to 95 square feet, respectively) to create as large of an at-home rink as desired, and the sliding area can also be modified with placement of bumpers.