The start of the pro hockey season is weeks away, but all over North America players are lacing up their skates and hitting the ice. Before the puck drops on the opening games of the season, players have much work to do. You might think that these players are the best in the world and that they don't need to practice. That's not true. Everybody needs to practice, even the best hockey players on earth. There is always room for improvement.
Endurance: Hockey is one of the most grueling games out there. Players are sprinting up and down the ice, skating as fast as they can. This not only makes their legs tired, but works their heart and lungs. Hockey players need to be in good shape. Over the long summer off-season, many players fall out of game shape. While they usually work out every day, their workouts are not as strenuous as pre-season practice. These practices serve as intense workouts to get players in peak physical form. When the season starts, they need to be at their best.
Skills: During the season, hockey players hit the ice every day. This isn't necessarily true during the off-season. Players might lose a couple miles per hour off their slapshot, or lose some precision passing abilities. Goalies can lose half a second off their reflex time. Pre-season practice is important because it gives players a chance to refine their skills. They take shots, make passes and handle the puck. Although they have been playing hockey for many years, pro players still need to practice to make sure their skills are sharp.
Repetition: The best way to get good at something is to do it often. During the pre-season, hockey players eat, sleep and breathe hockey to get ready for the season. The same is true for any activity. From running a mile to writing papers for class, the more you do something, the better you get. That's what makes practice important.
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