Hockey Conditioning – is there an off season?

Michael Statchuk - BCHL Vernon Vipers

ImageThe Sport of Hockey is my favorite, yup, best ever!  I’ll say it again FAVORITE sport to play, watch and learn.  As far as I’m concerned it would be pretty tough to convince me otherwise!  I won’t go into details of the skill, strength, speed, power…  I’ll keep going, but as I said, I won’t go into details! 

I’ve been fortunate to work with amazing athletes as they prepare for the upcoming Hockey season and concentrate on the previous seasons physical hiccups.  As our youth become more absorbed in the sport and parents look for avenues to excel their child it’s a fine line between work and play for these kids.  Remember, the athletes I work with in the summer train because it’s their career!  They need to stay on top of their game but how do we help young kids who dream of Hockey for life and keep the parents pulled back from extreme situations that may lead to early burnout? 

It’s easy….. work with someone who KNOWS.  It should be fairly easy to say to parents “let your child have fun, let them play different sports and let them experience what it’s like to be a kid”.  This is the best way to develop your child!  But lets get serious here, you have all heard that before, I’m sure, so I might as well share what you are looking for! 

Through the years of working with athletes especially Hockey there are always the same issues in the gym we tend to focus on.  Maintaining mobility (athlete specific) is usually at the top of the list.  Now, does the athlete feel “tight” because the body is in protective mode or are they truly tight?  (That is a different article) but to keep it simple maintaining functional mobility for the athlete will help reduce injuries and allow the athlete to make some gains in the gym.  This isn’t an off-season goal, it’s in-season as well!  There are many games and practices but not much focus spent on off-ice training. Moving a joint in several ranges of motion can feed the joint and keep it healthy. This means a well balanced program with different movement patterns. Incorporating head to toe training which allows Sling systems (fascia/muscle) to do their job. Move in full range, gain strength and force production in full range. If you have actually stopped to appreciate the ability of movement ranges the human body can perform ON ICE, wearing skates at high speed you will soon appreciate why a balanced training program is so important.
Get strong and stay strong! Strength is a foundation built upon an even BETTER foundation of symmetry. Do you have pain? Are your hips “tight”? Does your shoulder hurt? Then why would you gain any possible strength if you do not address these prior limitations? If there is a problem (even if you don’t feel it) it will become an even greater problem!

If you are a parent looking for an off-ice program for your child there must be some individualized assessment/programming involved. You are setting your child up for success at a later date. Yes, there will be gains BUT as your child grows you are entering into different windows of opportunity and believe it or not, these gains will show their face down the road. This means MAKE GOOD CHOICES NOW!

Current client Jerred Smithson who plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs says it best below (Thank you Jerred)

“Over the past few years I started training with Rhonda. During this time she has really opened up my eyes and mind when it comes to properly training and preparing for my upcoming hockey season. She really helped me realize the importance of proper technique as well as not only working hard but working smart. As I get older in ‘the hockey world’ I’m starting to notice in my training more aches and pains from years of not training smart and using improper technique at an early age. She’s helped me correct a lot of those issues and I already notice a huge difference in my training and on ice performance. I honestly believe if I would have started training with Rhonda when I first started training for hockey, that I would not have had to battle through these aches and pains and my on ice performance would have been a lot more efficient and explosive. I would recommend Rhonda to anyone who is wanting to better themselves and get the most out of there training.”

The years spent playing Hockey (or any sport) take their toll on the body but it may take years to realize. Make good choices and make them now!

(Photos: Left Michael Statchuk BCHL Vernon Vipers, Michael Roberts BCHL Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Jerred Smithson NHL Toronto Maple Leafs)

 

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