Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to train for hockey when the season ends. But maintaining and building your hockey fitness and awareness through the summer will help you start next season in top shape and ready to skate past your competitors. There are many things you can do to help your hockey game but let’s start with something you shouldn’t do:
Don’t Be a Couch Potato
You probably won’t be sitting on the couch watching TV – except for watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, we suppose. But sitting at that computer on your gaming system for long periods can slow you down and actually make you lose fitness over the summer. Get outside. Get in the gym. Stay active.
….and here’s some stuff you SHOULD do:
Rest and Recover
After a long, grueling hockey season, the body and the mind can need a recharge. Let your hockey injuries recover. Take time to reflect on how you’ve changed and grown as a hockey player through the past year. Set goals and expectations for the summer’s off-season training – as well as for the next season.
Improve Your Conditioning
Maintaining your cardiovascular and general hockey fitness is important to consider in the summer months. Interval training is a great way to keep those lungs sharp for the upcoming season while working on that lower-body power that’ll take your game to the next level. Running intervals – varied shorter-duration sprints – will build your body’s rest-and-recovery ability which help you get the most out of each shift on the ice. Long-distance running is not ideal, as it’s not directly related to the physical demands of hockey. While it’s ok to mix in some longer runs or rides on a bike, be sure to focus on the short-intervals like a sprinter. Additionally, plyometrics and jumping exercises will also help that lower body strength and prepare you for the speed and explosive movement that hockey demands.
Access to weight training and strength training programs has increased in recent years and can be a valuable tool in the summer training regimen for hockey players. It’s not just about maxing out the weight. Resistance training will help any hockey player get stronger and core work is crucial to your balance and stability, which have obvious benefits on the ice. But make sure you’re training with a qualified strength coach – the last thing you want to do is get hurt lifting and miss the start of the upcoming season as you spend time in the treatment room. A qualified strength coach can also help you get the most from a program that’s specific to you, your position and your goals.
Try Something Different
Playing another sport or pursuing other activities will your body recover and recharge for hockey while maintaining and improving your overall fitness. Sports such as soccer and basketball can help maintain hockey-related fitness while providing a new stimulus for your muscles as the field or court will challenge you in different ways than the ice. Sports such as tennis or supervised rock-climbing can help you maintain the motor skills needed to handle the stick while skating. Yoga or active stretching can help you recover from hockey season and prepare your body to fight off injury in the upcoming season. Different sports and activities also help you recharge the brain. Mental and physical fitness training all in one? Sounds like a great plan.
Don’t Burn Out
Especially for young hockey players, year-round hockey can lead to a loss of interest and passion for a sport, not to mention increasing the potential for injury. You love hockey – but sometimes it’s best to step away temporarily so you can come back stronger – and more committed and passionate than ever.
Finally, it’s TOTALLY OK to always THINK about hockey during the offseason. See here: