Hockey performance is more than just learning
how to skate, shoot and score.
While every coach has their own plans for
on-ice skill development in place, there are six other critical pieces of the
performance puzzle that you must fit into your hockey training program if you
want to guarantee that you have your best season ever.
In order to take your game to the next level,
you have to address these 6 key areas of player development.
Elite players and coaches agree that 80% of
performance is mental and 20% is physical. To ensure that players are
100% mentally prepared for every game and your team can perform their best, you
need to have focus, confidence and composure-building strategies in place.
There are certain foods that will fuel peak
performance and others that will destroy it. Coaches, parents and players
must learn how to make the best nutrition choices possible, whether they are at
home, at the rink or at the drive-thru, if they want their athletes to play
Many players and teams are starting to get the
message about the importance of warming-up before hitting the ice. To
ensure that you come flying out of the gate in the first period, you must
complete a pre-game off-ice warm-up that mimics the same movements and
intensity used on the ice instead of just jogging around the rink.
To ensure that players are as energetic and
explosive in the 2nd overtime as they were in the 2nd period, teams must have a
progressive on-ice hockey conditioning plan in place. "Bag
skating" isn't going to cut it - you're on-ice conditioning must be as
well as planned as your skill session if you want players to peak in time for
Off-Ice Team Training
Most players and teams stop their off-ice
training once the season starts to focus on their on-ice skills - and that is a
big mistake. If you want to be better in February than you were in
September, you must use specific hockey training to get stronger, faster and
fitter throughout the regular season.
Far too many hockey players will suffer from
injuries and burn-out this season - and, the worst part is that, the vast
majority of these issues are completely preventable. Having a proper
post-hockey recovery routine in place, including cool-down, stretching,
hydration and nutrition strategies, will ensure that players feel their best
and play their best day after day.
There is nothing worse than finishing the season
feeling like you have under-achieved and not being able to figure out
why. Quite often it is the lack of attention to these 6 key areas of
hockey player development that mean the difference between finishing at the top
of the standings and starting summer vacation early.
By putting an off-ice player development plan in
place that addresses these six secrets of in-season success, you will be well
on your way to your best season ever.
Richard Tremblay is the owner of Hockey Strength and Performance located north of Detroit. He has 12 years experience as a Personal Trainer and 8 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. www.hockeysp.com @hockeysp