Getting into hockey as an adult can be one of the greatest things you’ll ever do. What you need to know.
CARHA Hockey member Roberta Ruff talks about her first season as an adult beginner hockey player. She claims her experience playing hockey thus far has been amazing. “I fell in love with not only the game but also [those] who play it,” she says. Ruff had a few moments of doubt, wanting to quit, but it was her teammates who had her back and helped her to see the bright side.
If you’re looking for a reason to take up the sport, you should know that it’s much more than a game. There are friendships that will be made and lessons to be learned—not to mention the business relationships that can be formed—all while having tremendous fun.
Ruff chose hockey so she could inspire her children to see the fun of playing a team sport. “They needed to see me lose and get back up and try again,” she says. Roberta’s strategy worked and her children have been signed up for organized sports in the fall. They saw the positive changes hockey made in her life and the amazing friendships she gained.
Trying anything new for the first time can be intimidating, and hockey especially can be daunting. All that equipment, the rules of the game, the refs, the teammates, etc., can create some amount of anxiety for the newbie. Ruff’s advice however will encourage you to join a league tomorrow. “Dive in head first. The people who have been playing for years will guide you and show you the ropes and teach you,” which is exactly what Roberta’s team did for her. After one season of playing hockey, she made many friends, became mentally and physically stronger, and even lost close to 20 pounds. What more could you ask for?
If you’re ready to take the plunge and take to the ice for the first time, here are some valuable tips for the adult beginner hockey player:
To start, make sure you have all the proper equipment. A trip to a local hockey shop or sports store will get you everything you need, or you can shop the online hockey stores. If you’re going that route, look for one with a liberal exchange/return policy just in case.
- Shin guards
- Elbow pads
- Shoulder pads
- Hockey pants
Perhaps most important are the skates. Be sure to choose the size and style that feels best for you. Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, it may be advisable for you to get fitted at a pro shop, as every manufacturer has its own specific fit. There is nothing fun about playing three periods with ill-fitting skates, as that can cause real pain and discomfort, to say the least.
As for stick selection, there are few things to keep in mind. It’s important that your hockey stick is cut to the right height. A good way to determine how long your stick should be is to have the top of it reach between your nose and mouth while standing on your tippy toes. The stick will then be the right height when you wear your skates.
When it comes to hockey sticks, don’t overlook flex. Be sure to choose a flex number that is right for your strength and weight; if your stick is too flexible it will break too easily. Sticks can be expensive and you do not want to have to buy a new one every week. Also, be sure that the flex you choose is not too stiff, or you will have a difficult time getting the most out of your shot. As for the curve, that’s a matter of personal preference.
Rules of the Game
Knowing the rules of the game is very important for the adult beginner hockey player. Also, keep in mind that every league may have its own particular rules. Where to line up for a face-off, for example, might seem insignificant to you, but there’s nothing more embarrassing than lining up on the wrong side of the ice for a face-off. It’s also a good idea to look at a rule book before playing in your first game. You may think you know everything about hockey, but some rules may come as a surprise.
Once you have all of the necessary equipment and you’ve learned the rules, it’s time to put your plan into motion. For the adult beginner hockey player, it may be good idea for you to seek out a skating instructor for some lessons; or, if you’re up to it, just find an open skate to get a feel for things before you play in your first game. Once you are comfortable on your skates, start using a stick and a puck. You can even use a tennis ball to stick handle at home. When you feel you’re ready, it’s time to seek out a league to join.
Hockey is rather demanding on the body. To avoid the risk of injury, it is important to ease into the sport slowly because chances are you are going to use muscles you have never used before. It is essential to be in good physical shape off the ice before you get on the ice. Being fit, along with proper nutrition, will help prevent injuries and will make this amazing experience that much more enjoyable.
Published with permission of CARHA Hockey. All rights reserved.