As the hockey season comes to a close each year, the off-season brings a great opportunity to train hard and allow our bodies to evolve.
The perfect mix of off-season hockey training is made up of rest, recovery, reflection, strength-building and goal-setting. Today, we’re going to break down each of those tasks to help you plan for your best off-season hockey training program yet.
If you’re ready to dominate on the ice this coming season, you’ll want to have an effective training routine in place to help optimize both your mind and your body.
With that, let’s dive into 5 off-season hockey training tips for coaches, parents and young players that will help them perform better, score higher and last longer on the ice in the coming season.
1. REFLECT ON LAST SEASON
Now is the best time to think about what worked well for you this past year (and what didn’t).
The first step in any great off-season hockey training program is to evaluate what needs to be improved, and the only way to do that is to look back at your previous season and ask yourself what you want more of next year.
Whether it’s better endurance, more explosiveness in your stride, or simply to score more goals – making notes on your season’s high and low points is a key factor in improving your on-ice performance and creating an effective hockey training program to blast you full-force into the season ahead.
We recommend that all young hockey players keep a performance journal to help them track their own progress, leading to better self-awareness and more drive to succeed both on and off the ice.
2. ALLOW TIME FOR RECOVERY
An underrated priority for your off-season hockey training should be making time for effective rest and recovery.
Fortunately, reflection and recovery are tasks that can be accomplished together.
Spend the first two to three weeks of the off season relaxing and not thinking about exercise, hockey training or practice (try not to lose sight of proper nutrition and sleep during this period, however.)
If you have sustained any persistent injuries through the end of your season that you haven’t yet tended to, now is the time to take care of them. See your doctor and make sure that you’re fit to resume activity before committing to a hockey training program that will last you through the off-season.
Having a trustworthy hockey trainer can help you restore your range of motion, posture and strength imbalances prior to getting into your off-season training. During your recovery period, you will want to mix in some light activity to avoid losing momentum completely. Don’t be afraid to take in a few rounds of golf, where you can get plenty of steps in while working on your swing.
3. DRY LAND TRAINING
There’s more to effective hockey training than just ice time. You should be taking the opportunity to put a solid emphasis on dry land training and off-ice performance optimization as well.
Remember: Our on-ice performance during the hockey season is crafted in the off-season, and you will always put out what you put in. That means it’s important to commit to a solid hockey training program that will benefit you and your individual needs as a young player.
Stickhandling, mobility, stability and strength-building should be key focus points of any off-season hockey training program to help you prepare for the season ahead.
Speaking of strength building…
4. BUILD STRENGTH, ENDURANCE & EXPLOSIVENESS
Hockey is a game of quick changes, short breaks and little downtime – it’s important that we train for that in the off-season the way we practice for it in the hockey season itself.
Effectiveness on the ice is made up of three key factors:
- Strength & Stability (your ability to stay in motion and in control in fast-paced situations)
- Endurance (how well you can keep up during your ice time)
- Explosiveness (how much power you are able to exert on both your strides and your shots)
Our strength and stability lends itself to better control, allowing us the ability to direct high-intensity scenarios rather than chase after them. When we’re able to turn on a dime while retaining a significant amount of our motion, we become a force to be reckoned with on the ice.
Focusing on endurance in short bursts can help us zone in on those precious seconds spent on the ice, and make the absolute best of them every time.
Reserving time for exercises like plyometrics within our off-season hockey training can help us optimize how much power we put forth in a single stride or shot, increasing our explosiveness and overall performance on the ice without decreasing our energy levels.
Medicine ball throws, practicing skate strides on flat surfaces, and broad jumps are all recommended for increasing your explosiveness on the ice.
5. PLAN FOR THE SEASON AHEAD
Your off-season hockey training program should consist of proper goal-setting to increase performance during the hockey season.
Whether it’s decreasing the amount of time it takes you to get to the blue line in a minimal amount of strides, or ramping up your amount of shots on net in a single shift; you’re going to want to work with your trainer to set measurable goals that you will be able to achieve in your off-season hockey training.
A well-planned set of goals for off-season training can help reduce over-exertion and risk of injury, and help optimize your mind and body for the season ahead.
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Registration for our 2022 Spring/Summer off-season hockey programs is now open.
No matter where you are in your athletic journey, our ETS coaches are ready to help you maximize your performance during both the off-season and the hockey season itself.
For more information on our 2022 Spring/Summer off-season hockey programs, please contact Kelly Gallant at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a complimentary athletic consultation.
See you on (and off) the ice!