What is a Bag Skate in Hockey?


In hockey, a bag skate refers to a grueling conditioning drill or punishment exercise that players may be subjected to by their coaches.

The term “bag skate” originates from the practice of players having to skate continuously and intensely until they are completely exhausted, often resulting in their jerseys becoming drenched with sweat and appearing as if they are carrying a heavy bag on their back.

Bag skates are typically used as a disciplinary measure or as a way to improve players’ endurance and conditioning. Coaches may implement a bag skate to send a message to the team about their poor performance, or lack of effort, or to address discipline issues.

It is considered a physically demanding and mentally challenging exercise, as players are pushed to their physical limits and forced to skate at high speeds for extended periods of time.

During a bag skate, players may be required to perform various skating drills, such as sprints, suicides, or laps around the rink, without breaks in between.

The objective is to push players to the point of exhaustion and make them work harder to improve their physical fitness, stamina, and mental toughness.

While bag skates can be physically demanding and unpleasant for players, they serve as a form of motivation and can help teams develop discipline, resilience, and a stronger work ethic. The drills aim to build endurance, speed, and overall fitness, which can be beneficial for players’ performance during games.

Why do coaches use bag skates in hockey?

Bag skates are commonly used by coaches in hockey for various reasons, including as a disciplinary measure, to improve players’ endurance and conditioning, or to send a message about their performance or lack of effort.

Are bag skates effective in improving players’ performance?

Bag skates can contribute to improving players’ endurance, stamina, and mental toughness. However, their effectiveness in overall performance enhancement may vary, as skill development and tactical understanding also play crucial roles in on-ice success.

How long does a typical bag skate last?

The duration of a bag skate can vary depending on the coach’s objectives, the intensity of the drills, and the conditioning level of the players. Bag skates can range from a few minutes of intense sprints to extended sessions lasting 30 minutes or more.

Are bag skates only used as a form of punishment?

While bag skates can be used as a disciplinary tool, they are not solely meant for punishment. Coaches may utilize bag skates to improve players’ fitness, create a competitive environment, or push them to overcome physical and mental barriers.

Do bag skates occur during practices or after games?

Bag skates typically occur during practices rather than after games. They are planned drills implemented by coaches to address specific objectives related to conditioning, effort, or discipline.

Are bag skates common in all levels of hockey?

Bag skates are commonly used across various levels of hockey, from amateur to professional. However, their frequency and intensity may vary based on the coaching philosophy, team goals, and the level of competition.

What are some alternative conditioning methods besides bag skates?

Coaches employ various alternative conditioning methods in hockey, such as interval training, off-ice workouts, plyometrics, small-area games, and specific drills that simulate game situations. These methods aim to improve players’ fitness while incorporating skill development and tactical understanding.

How do players typically feel about bag skates?

Opinions among players regarding bag skates can vary. Some players may view them as a necessary challenge to improve their conditioning and mental toughness, while others may find them physically demanding and unpleasant. It ultimately depends on the individual’s perspective and their experience with bag skates.

Are bag skates used in other sports besides hockey?

While the term “bag skate” is primarily associated with hockey, similar conditioning drills and punishment exercises can be found in other sports as well. Sports like soccer, basketball, and lacrosse may have their own versions of intense conditioning sessions to improve endurance and discipline.

Are bag skates more common in pre-season or during the regular season?

Bag skates are often used during the pre-season in hockey to help players regain their conditioning and prepare for the upcoming season. However, coaches may also implement bag skates during the regular season as a way to address performance issues or maintain players’ fitness levels.

Can bag skates be detrimental to player performance if overused?

If bag skates are overused or implemented without proper consideration for player recovery and injury prevention, they can potentially have negative effects on player performance. Excessive fatigue, increased risk of injury, and mental burnout are some of the potential consequences of overusing bag skates.

Are bag skates more common in certain playing positions?

Bag skates are typically not specific to particular playing positions. All players on the team are expected to participate in bag skates, as conditioning and endurance are essential for all positions in hockey.

Are bag skates used differently in youth hockey compared to professional hockey?

The use of bag skates may vary depending on the level of hockey. In youth hockey, coaches may employ modified versions of bag skates that are age-appropriate and consider the players’ physical development. In professional hockey, bag skates may be more intense and demanding due to the higher level of competition and physical conditioning expected at that level.

What is the origin of the term bag skate?

The exact origin of the term “bag skate” in hockey is not definitively known, but it is believed to have emerged from the visual appearance of players after undergoing the grueling conditioning drill.

As players skate intensely and exhaustively, their jerseys become drenched in sweat, appearing as if they are carrying a heavy bag on their backs. This visual image likely led to the term “bag skate” being coined.

The concept of physically demanding conditioning drills has long been a part of hockey training. Over time, the term “bag skate” became widely used to describe these particular punishing drills. It has become a common hockey term that is recognized and understood by players, coaches, and fans alike.

While the exact origins may be unclear, the term has gained popularity within the hockey community and is now commonly used to describe intense conditioning exercises in which players are pushed to their limits.

What is the term skate mean?

In the context of hockey, the term “skate” refers to the act of moving on ice using ice skates. Skating is a fundamental skill in hockey and involves gliding, turning, and maneuvering on the ice surface.

Skating proficiency is crucial for players to effectively navigate the rink, engage in offensive and defensive play, and maintain balance and control while handling the puck.

Skating techniques in hockey include forward skating, backward skating, crossovers, pivoting, stopping, and accelerating. Players must develop strong skating abilities to maintain speed, change directions quickly, and compete effectively against opponents.

Skating is not only essential for individual skill but also contributes to team tactics, such as creating scoring opportunities, backchecking, and maintaining defensive positioning.

In addition to its functional aspect, skating in hockey is also valued for its aesthetic appeal. Graceful and powerful skating abilities are often admired in players, as they can enhance their overall performance and make them more effective on the ice.

Overall, “skate” in hockey refers to the action of moving on ice using ice skates, encompassing a range of techniques and skills that are vital to playing the sport.

Is skate a slang term?

No, the term “skate” is not typically considered a slang term in the context of hockey. It is a standard and widely used term within the sport to describe the act of moving on ice using ice skates.

While there might be variations or colloquial terms for specific skating maneuvers or techniques in different regions or among players, the general term “skate” itself is not slang. It is a fundamental and recognized term that is universally understood in the hockey community.

Is it a common practice?

Bag skates are relatively common in the sport, particularly during pre-season training camps or as a response to performance issues or discipline concerns.

Coaches may utilize bag skates as a means to improve players’ conditioning, test their mental resilience, or send a message about effort and accountability.

However, it’s important to note that coaching methods can differ, and not all coaches may incorporate bag skates into their training programs. The frequency and intensity of bag skates can also vary based on individual coaching philosophies and team goals.

Why You Should Stop Using It?

Diminished Skill Development:

Bag skates primarily focus on conditioning and endurance rather than skill development. While conditioning is important, excessive reliance on bag skates may neglect other essential aspects of player development, such as stickhandling, shooting, passing, and tactical understanding.

Injury Risk:

Intense bag skates can increase the risk of fatigue-related injuries, especially when players are pushed to the point of exhaustion. Fatigue can lead to compromised form and technique, making players more susceptible to strains, sprains, and other injuries.

Negative Psychological Impact:

Repeated use of bag skates as a punishment tool can have negative psychological effects on players. It may create an environment of fear, anxiety, and demotivation, which can hinder player morale, confidence, and enjoyment of the sport.

Limited Transferability to Game Situations:

Bag skates are often performed in isolation from game scenarios. While they improve conditioning, they may not directly translate to on-ice performance, as players are not practicing skills and tactics within a game context.

Focus on Alternative Training Methods:

Many coaches and experts argue that there are more effective and efficient training methods to improve conditioning, endurance, and performance. Incorporating high-intensity interval training, small-area games, and specific drills that mimic game situations can enhance both fitness and skill development simultaneously.


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