Hi, Bill: Greetings from Canada! If you have some drills to help hockey players improve top end speed, I'd love to hear about them. I coach 9- and 10-year-old boys and I'm always looking for ways to help them get better. - Daryl from Canada
Hi, Daryl: I can help you with this as long as your skaters are not going through their adolescent growth spurts. During these spurts, their joints and bones are particularly vulnerable and could be injured by high intensity drills, like standing starts. So you must be careful.
That said, if growth spurts are not an issue, here are two good drills for building explosive speed:
1) Standing starts
From a standing start, sprint at absolutely maximum speed for six seconds. Follow that with two minutes of total passive recovery. Repeat 10 times, 3 times a week.
Total passive recovery means exactly that. You just glide on your skates with no leg or arm movement until you return to the starting area for the next one. This is very important. The only way the ATP-CP (adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and phosphocreatine) energy system develops is with maximum effort followed by total passive recovery.
These are a bit hard to describe. But here's my best stab at it. You stand in one spot and vibrate both legs as fast as you can (faster than fast) using just the finest little movements. Your feet should hardly leave the ground. Go for 10 seconds. Then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat 10 times, three times a week.