In Season training is often times associated with maintanence of Off Season gains. Why just maintain when there is a way to improve strength and performance? With the right approach to programming, athletes can continue to improve their on ice performance with integration of a well thought out Off Ice Program.
Physical demands during the season fatigue the body much faster in the drastic increase of practices and games. The primary goal of the season should be to stay healthy for its duration while preventing loss of lean muscle mass with a solid off ice program that promotes strength and power.
Here are my 3 tips to do just that:
Sleep - Adequate sleep is an understated topic and getting more shut eye is key to recovery. Afternoon naps help tremendously versus TV or video game time. Athletes ages (5-12) need 9-11 hours, (teenagers) need 9-10 hours, and (adults) need 7-8 hours. Most muscle recovery happens while sleeping and not getting enough sleep means quicker fatigue.
Soft Tissue - Soreness and soft tissue damage is inevitable with an intense season schedule. Ignoring these seemingly unimportant symptoms could lead to overuse injuries or maybe something even more severe. Addressing soreness and soft tissue damage with routine foam rolling or orthopedic massage is recommended.
2. Stretching and Mobility
Having a stretching and mobility routine is a must for In Season training. These have to be instilled as habits otherwise the athlete's body will be inevitably set up for breakdown. The common areas for hockey players are limited mobility in hips and shoulders. Hockey season is a grind and maintaining good mobility keeps athletes on the ice.
- (Shoulders) PVC Pass Through 2 x 10
- (Hips + Shoulders) PVC Snatch Press Squat 2 x 5
- (Hips + T Spine) Palm Squat with Rotation 2 x 10
- (Hips + T Spine) Cossack Stretch 2 x 10
- (Hips + T Spine) Spiderman Lunge with Rotation 2 x 10
- (Ankles) Ankle Mobility
3. Less Conditioning, More Strength
Conditioning is already being achieved on the ice with practices and games. Therefore, no need to over train with more conditioning during off ice training sessions. Utilize off ice training sessions intelligently by increasing strength, power, mobility, and stabilization, Keep the workouts short and intense; 45-60 minutes with emphasis on taxing major muscle groups and central nervous system.
- Core Strength
- Ladder Drills; Balance + Stabilization
- Hand Eye Coordination, Multi Purpose Reaction
- Short Sprint Intervals; Speed
Disclaimer: Optimizing movement patterns is a must before adding resistance with weight training. The athlete must be proficient in the movements before integrating heavy weightlifting into their program.
- Lift Heavy, Low Reps; [Front Squats, RDLs, Weighted Chin Up, Bench Press]
- Core Strength
- Increase muscular strength and improve mobility