Hopefully most minor hockey players have been participating in an off-ice training program over the summer, especially at the bantam and midget level. There’s no question that staying in shape during the summer will make tryouts a lot easier when it’s time to put the skates back on. All the hard work done will pay off when kids get a chance to see the results on the ice, feeling faster and stronger. Here are my top five tips for getting back into shape and understanding the right kind of conditioning specific to hockey.
1. Make sure you are training at least three days per week with a program that incorporates strength and conditioning specific to hockey. Stay away from random, generic cookie-cutter circuit training programs. Functional strength training that involves lower body and core stability is the most practical way to train for the specific demands required on the ice.
2. Full body workouts or splitting between upper and lower body is best. Always do your speed training and power development first before performing a strength workout. Make sure to allow ample rest periods between workouts and do not over train. Refuel with proper nutrition and stay hydrated.
3. Don’t confuse cardiovascular endurance with muscular endurance. Hockey players need high-intensity interval speed training that is specific to the demands of on-ice shift work. As well, the legs need a high number of repetitions during workouts that involve various exercises.
4. Going for long jogs at a low to moderate intensity will do nothing to properly condition a hockey player when it comes time for tryouts. Short intense bursts of linear, and transitional speed drills is specific to the conditioning required for hockey players.
5. Don’t forget to get the skates back on by the middle or end of August and sign up for some power skating camps to get the feet going again. The best advice I can give is to not stop training. Just because summer is over and tryouts are starting doesn’t mean training is over. You need to stay in shape throughout the entire hockey season in order to perform at your best.