Training camp is the official start of a new hockey season. These final weeks of the summer will also bring about a batch of tournaments. Are you prepared to perform at your best?
The off-season for a hockey player is getting shorter and shorter every year. As your time on the ice increases leading into the season you need to be aware of your limitations. We have had all summer to train and get in good condition but we can also run the risk of overtraining. One key to being healthy on the first day of camp is de-loading in the week prior. I’m not saying do not work out or skate, but you should reduce your overall workload to let the body recover. There may be some nagging injuries and soreness from the amount of work you have put into your off-season program. Now is the time to go back to the basics of corrective exercise to ensure you don’t enter your first tournament or training camp already feeling less than 100%.
To maintain strength, athletes need a minimum dose of one strength training session per week. As ice time increases and games are added to the schedule, recovery becomes a critical factor in maintaining optimum performance levels. There are many methods for recovery that have been discussed in previous articles. Some modalities include foam rolls, percussion guns, pneumatic compression boots, and soft tissue massage, just to name a few. Seek out medical professionals such as athletic trainers who can help instruct you in these techniques. Being intentional with self-care can go a long way in injury prevention.
Don’t let the added stress of an upcoming season cause you to overdo your training now. Tournaments are fun, but with the possibility of multiple games a day, they can be exhausting. Prevent injury and increase your performance by taking a step back to focus on feeling healthy prior to that first drop of the puck. Use multiple recovery methods to take care of the body now before it’s too late. There is a lot of hockey yet to be played this upcoming season and it would be a shame to miss any of it.
Mike Hannegan is an Athletic Trainer and Strength Coach with ten years of experience in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues. He is currently the Director of the Compete Sports Performance and Rehabilitation facility inside The Rinks Yorba Linda Ice located in beautiful Orange County, CA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.