With the arrival of spring, everyone is starting to think ahead to warmer weather and summer fun, and for many hockey players, that means finding a place to practice effectively.
When you watch my videos, you'll notice that I'm always using a Shooting Pad or Training Tiles for practice, and that's because I recommend them for every single hockey player. If you're looking for a nice, smooth surface to work on your stick handling and shooting at home, shooting pads and tiles are a perfect option, because they protect the bottom of your stick and come in different sizes for different types of players.
Portable Shooting Pads
The only real question is which one is right for you. In this article, I'll explain the pros and cons of five products that will keep you on top of your game through the spring and summer. They include the easy-to-carry junior, intermediate, and pro shooting pads, the larger roll-up shooting pad, and the dryland flooring tiles.
The first three pads are convenient, compact practice mats with a handle for easy travel, easy handling, and easy rearrangement. They can be used in your basement, on your driveway, at a friend's place, or wherever you are when you want to get in a little stick handling or shooting practice.
The junior shooting pad is the smallest of the mats, at 24 inches by 48 inches, but it's the most affordable at a price of approximately $40 (USD), depending on your currency. The junior is a great option for players with a tight budget or youth who don't need a lot of space yet. You can work on stick handling, and smaller players can get a decent slapshot, snapshot, or maybe even a full wrist shot off, but older players will simply run out of room if they try to do more than a few moves.
The intermediate shooting pad is the next step up, at 28 inches by 52 inches, and it comes with a price tag of about $70 (USD). It's still very portable, and that extra space makes it an ideal choice for players around the age of 12 or 13.
For older or more advanced players, the upgrade to the $90 (USD) pro shooting pad optimizes what you can do with your stick handling or shooting on an ultra-portable surface. At 30 inches by 60 inches, it allows 15- to 17-year-old or adult hockey players a full step into your shot without running out of space. It's very durable, and you can line up pucks and get up to about four shots off, meaning you can be more creative with your drills.
If You Need a Little More Space
If you're not as concerned about moving a pad around and want even more space to work with, then the $110 roll-up shooting pad gives you the biggest bang for your buck. Though not as thick as the other three mats, the roll-up is 4 feet by 8.5 feet and gives you a surface on which you can move around and maneuver a puck around your entire body. There are no limits to your creativity; families can utilize it with two or more players at once, and you can set up other practice tools like a dangler or pass rebounder on it.
A Dedicated Training Space
Finally, for an even larger, more permanent training space that fills a basement or garage, take a look at our All-Star Dryland Flooring Tiles. They come 1.5 feet by 1.5 feet for $11 each and can be arranged to fit your specific space. With flooring tiles, you'll have a dedicated place for family and/or friends to practice all kinds of skills together. If you have the space, I definitely recommend the dryland flooring tiles so you can set up a net and other products and really get moving and practicing in an environment that's as close to the real thing as you can get.
Hopefully my advice has helped you know how to spend your money wisely and get the product that's right for you and your lifestyle so you can continue to train and build up your skills for a long time, no matter where you are. For more tips and videos on how to improve your stick handling, shooting, and skating, browse through the rest of our website.
HockeyShot Shooting Pad
Perfect for anyone who wants to improve their on-ice game at home, the HockeyShot Shooting Pad makes an excellent indoor and outdoor trainer. It simulates the smooth, slick feeling of the rink so you can work on passing, stickhandling and shooting.