Hockey is a game that is played throughout the world by people of all ages and skill levels.  It is common for local ice rinks to have adult aged recreation leagues (some would refer to as beer leagues) in place.  There are enough people who enjoy the game that there are different divisions comprised with many teams at these rinks.

Over the last few years, I have been asked by other adult hockey league players- “How can I get in shape for hockey?” or, “Can you give me a program?”.  Usually I will give a general answer that may include instructions to add strength training and possibly change their diets.

What I want to share is a few simple things that can help people enjoy the game for as long as they can.  The ability to play hockey for it’s enjoyment and being pain-free is what has inspired me to write this piece.  I understand that some people may skate for about an hour per week.  However, I also see many folks who participate in multiple leagues and pick-up games on a weekly basis.  Also, I have come across several people who have sustained injuries both from acute and overuse nature.

The reality is that hockey is a fast paced game with frequent changes of direction.  Hips, backs, and knees can become sore and injured while playing.  Personally, I realize that as I get older, I need to be fit to play hockey instead of using hockey as a way to get fit.

Foam Rolling

First, I think it is important to invest in a foam roller.  These are now considered to be must-haves for all of the players that I work with.  I recommend a half foam roll because it can be used both at home and at the rink because it fits in a hockey bag.

Foam rolling is recommended to be done for a few minutes prior to stretching and warming up.  Players that I work with love the foam roll because they can address their muscle trigger points which are those little knots of tenderness that you may feel in different muscles.  The more that you use it, the more you will know where to use it on your body- especially when crunched for time.

Foam rolling is recommended for the quads, hip rotators, IT bands, glutes, hamstrings, pecs, lats, and any other muscle groups that you would need to address.

Stretching

Static stretching should be done more often for the older hockey player. Not only should you stretch while at the rink, but you should stretch while at home as well.  You must think about all of the work that the muscles like the hip flexors, quads, and hip adductors do during the course of a hockey game.  The more games that you play, the more time you should spend stretching.  With the fact that many recreation level hockey players have jobs that require them to sit for long periods of time, stretching is even more important.

Stretches for the Hip Flexors, Rectus Fomoris’ (Quads), Adductors, and Hip Rotators can all be addressed during a short period of time.

Warm up

From a practical perspective, a proper warm up for a recreational hockey is hard to accomplish.  It is common for people to roll out of bed and head to the rink, or go to the rink immediately after work.  Although I understand that it can be difficult to get to the rink; there should be a semi-conscious effort to get to the rink a little earlier for a proper warm up.

Here is an example of a dynamic warm up that can be done for 5 minutes and can be either done in place or over 10-15 yard space.  If you have only a few minutes to warm up before you go on the ice, at minimum I would recommend the dynamic warm up.  Skip the foam rolling and static stretching, but don’t skip the dynamic warm up.

Knee Hug

Heel to Butt with Reach

1-Leg SLDL

Hip Rotator

Reverse Lunge

High Knee Run

Heel Ups

High Skip

Backwards Run

When you look at the time spent for foam rolling, stretching, and warming up, we are talking about maybe 15 minutes total.  Doing this prior to taking the ice will go a long way in preventing injuries.

Strength Training

Strength training for hockey can be an easy process.  It can help reduce the chance for injury while also increasing performance.  How many players do you know who would like to stay healthy and get faster on the ice?  While it may seem confusing due to a large number of exercise possibilities, it can be broken down to a really simple, yet effective method.

A few good exercises might be all that you need for a good strength training program.  Sure, high level athletes might want to add some plyometrics, sprints, and some Olympic lifts, but I think this is where we may draw the line.  The goal is to be a healthier and fitter hockey player that plays for fun.   Strength training can be done simply and have outstanding results.  Here is an example of a 2-day strength training schedule:

Day 1                                                             

Split Squat (Progress from body weight only to holding dumbbells)

Pull Up

Ball Roll Out

Push Up

Back Extension

Day 2

1-Leg Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (Progress from body weight only to holding dumbbells)

1-Arm DB Row

Plank

1-Leg DB Straight Leg Deadlift

DB Incline Bench Press

These strength training sessions could be done twice per week.  I would recommend 2-3 days between sessions.  The most important aspect of strength training is having proper technique in all exercises.  If you don’t know how to do an exercise properly, please get with someone who knows what they are doing.  Start light and do the exercises correctly.  Then as you get stronger, add some more weight and continue to progress.  Keep it simple.

Videos for the exercises listed above can be found at my youtube site- www.youtube.com/SeanSkahan

It’s been a long time since my last post to this site.  For those who know me, you know that I am in the process of a change within my career.  As  I make the transition from one coast to the other, I wanted to revisit and update the blog with something current.

A big reason why I haven’t been posting as consistently as I would like to is because I’ve been working on something else when time permits.  One of my goals has always been to write a book on training for hockey.  Well, it is now starting to become a reality. I also want to clean the dust off this blog and start posting again.

Total Hockey Training is due to be released by Human Kinetics in February 2016.  To say that I am excited is an understatement.  I really enjoy the grind of writing and re-writing as we go along until the finish. It will be available both as paperback and e-book.

I wanted to share a post that was written by my friend/mentor Mike Boyle on his blog StrengthCoachblog.com.  Mike has been posting really good content in regards to his thoughts against year-round specialization in youth sports.  I think it’s important to help spread the message all over North America- including here in Southern California.

It just seems that the more that I read what Mike has been sharing along with the fact that I continually speak to professional players about what additional sports they played as youths- the more I am convinced.  A multi-sport approach as a kid is beneficial in the long run when/if they decide to specialize on 1 sport.  For the record, I have spoken to only a few hockey players who didn’t play any other sports. Most “put the bag away” at the end of their hockey seasons.

Personally, in the past I have been guilty of putting my oldest son through the the concept of year-round hockey.  Whether it was spring selects or in-house hockey, more games were being played after a 7-month season.  (Yes- 7 months at age 8).  This spring/summer, after a few weeks off, he will be playing lacrosse while also still skating 1-2 times per week in non-competitive situations and competing in 2 weekend tournaments in May. Probably not a complete off-season, but a drastic change from the past.

Check out Mike’s article here- Be Careful With Advice from Armchair Experts

It’s been a while since an update on HockeySC.com.  I hope everyone is enjoying the last few weeks/days of your off-season.  Recently, we have had some excellent content additions:

Articles:

Teaching Hockey Players How to Run by Max Prokopy

Anterior Glide of the Humerus by Darryl Nelson

Why I Never Played in the NHL, and How it Made Me Better by Brian Sipotz

Thoughts on the Kettlebell Swing by myself

Videos:

Kettlebell Kneeling to Standing by Darryl Nelson

U-Mass Lowell Hockey Off-Season by Devan McConnell

Rotational Heiden Medicine Ball Throw by Darryl Nelson

Programming:

Fall Training Program by Darryl Nelson

 

The forum has had some interesting topics such as the NHL combine and Trap Bar Deadlifts.

If you aren’t currently a member, feel free to try us for $1 for 7 days.

Thanks!

My friend Maria Mountain shared this with me.  I must admit that I have never done too much “goalie-specific” work with goalies in the past.  However, this first video makes me re-think some things.  I can see using this on lateral days in the off-season.

Two Off-Ice Drills That Gave A Goalie Trouble

By Maria Mountain

I remember studying for my Matrix Algebra exam in first year of university.  I somehow convinced myself that the really tough questions were too hard and would never find their way onto the exam paper.  Wow – was I wrong!

I was making the same mistake lots of hockey players make in the gym all the time.  I was working on the things I was good at and discounting the things that gave me trouble.  In today’s video I want to share two exercises that gave a goalie real trouble during a training session this summer.

This goalie was in great shape, was a great athlete, but had these deficiencies that he wasn’t even aware of. You probably have a few as well.

So watch the video to see what I mean and how we corrected his patterns – I bet the changes we made to the first exercise probably helped him bump his save percentage up.

HERE IS THE VIDEO LINK – -  http://youtu.be/jQ8ud17Jcgg

So don’t ignore your strengths, but when you find something that gives you trouble, take the time to clean it up.

Happy training.
Cheers,

Maria

 

 

A full time strength and conditioning coach who specializes in training hockey skaters and goalies, Maria Mountain is the founder of Revolution Sport Conditioning in London, ON and www.HockeyTrainingPro.com

Hey everyone- I just wanted to take a few minutes to update you on what’s going on at HockeySC.com.  Obviously, the hockey season is in full swing.  The site has been updated with new articles, videos, programs, and forum topics pretty frequently.  Also, we are in the works in getting the Hockey Strength Podcast back up and running.  We are planning on talking to lots of the site contributors on future episodes.  Stay tuned.

Here is what has been posted during the past few weeks:

Articles

ImPact Test-Retest Reliability by Jacob Resch

Excel Programming for Dummies by Kevin Neeld

Feed the Dog: The Importance of Discipline by Anthony Donskov

Grain Brain by Darryl Nelson

Pre-Season Training for Professional Hockey by me

Does an Individual’s Fitness Level Affect Baseline Concussion Symptoms? By Martin Mrazik

Videos

U-Mass Lowell Pre-Season Training by Devan McConnel

Quinnipiac Men’s Hockey Aerobic Circuit by Brijesh Patel

Anterior Core Bracing by Brian Sipotz and Darryl Nelson

Lower Trap and Rhomboid Activation by Darryl Nelson

Deadbug with Static Upper Body by Kevin Neeld

Programs

In-Season Training: Phase 1 by Kevin Neeld

Summer Camp 2013 Itinerary by me

We also have some current ongoing discussions on our forum including topics such as HRV, Late specialization, on-ice testing, and PRI amongst others.

We really think that we have the best site on the internet for hockey strength and conditioning.  If you aren’t a member, you can try us for 7 days for $1.

See you at the rink!

Sean

I have always been a proponent of implementing cross-ice only games at the mite level of hockey.  I believe in what USA Hockey is doing through the American Developmental Model (ADM) and I am a big believer in young hockey players also being young “insert another sport here” players.  Also, I believe that young kids shouldn’t subject themselves to the same rink specifications of NHL or international leagues.   Although I also believe in practicing what you preach, I must admit that I am guilty of questioning whether or not cross-ice games would be good for my own son.

My son started to learn how to skate when he was 3.  He participated in learn to skate and hockey programs and then began playing cross ice at age 4.  When he was 5, he played at the full-ice mite recreation level.  The year after that, he played at the travel full-ice level.   Although he played in 2 complete years of full-ice hockey, he also competed in several full-ice tournaments.   While his games were played in the full-ice format, all of his practices consisted of drills and games done in small areas.  Practices were done twice per week and they always followed the ADM principles.

At the time, I though the progression was fine.  My son is a little bigger than most of the other kids his age and I would consider him to be average to above average in skill and skating.  To him, it seemed like full-ice hockey wasn’t a big deal.

After his first year of travel hockey, we found out what was going to take place this season- one half of his games the season are going to be played in the cross-ice format, and one half of the season is going to be the full-ice format.  This is taking place because USA Hockey is mandating that mite level hockey is all cross-ice.  However, there is a transition period going from full-ice hockey to cross-ice hockey so kids in my son’s age group who have played full ice don’t have to make such a drastic transition.  For my son, the reality is that because of his birth year, he must participate in this.  If he was a year older, he would be eligible to play up to the next level.  For him, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing and most importantly, he could care less.

After much anticipation and wondering how it was going to go, we played in a recent cross-ice holiday weekend tournament.  After watching the tournament, I wanted to share my thoughts (Again, this is all new to a large group of kids around southern California):

Pros:

-     More time with the puck- It seemed like the puck came to all of the players more frequently while more aggressive players got the puck much more

-     Players had more opportunities to display individual skills.  Kids had more opportunities to make moves and beat their opponents one on one

-     Quicker decisions- The game was fast and it seemed like there wasn’t much room to make plays.  Kids had to make quick plays

-     One minute and 30 second shifts which were controlled by the sound of a buzzer- This was great.  Equal ice time for everyone and both teams changed at the same time.  Brilliant.

-     No off-sides calls- I do like this even though the kids aren’t learning the off-sides rule.

-     Kids seemed much more confident with the puck- Don’t know if it was because of playing against a weaker team or not, but was still good.

Cons:

-     When the puck went out of play, the clock kept ticking.  The ref didn’t have a back-up puck to continue play

-     The higher skilled players are still the higher skilled players.  Yes, the lower skilled players got more puck possession time, but the higher skilled players still touched the puck much more.  The higher skilled players still scored the most goals but I will say that since puck possession seemed higher per player, everyone had more opportunity to score goals

-     Lots of goals were scored and there were face-offs immediately after each goal.  Retrieving the puck and conducting a face-off is time consuming.  I like the pick-up hockey format where the team that gets scored on plays the puck out of their net.  This would allow play to keep moving.  If the score isn’t being kept, then who cares?

-     Growing pains are going to happen.  There were many times when it seemed like the facility was trying to figure it out while it was going on.  For example, some referees didn’t know some of the rules and the locker room situation was crammed.  I guess if you have 4 teams playing on the ice at once, you will need more locker room space.

All in all, I think this is going to be great.  There are lots of concerns from parents about possibly delaying their sons/daughters development.  However, when I offer my opinion on this, I tell them to think long term.  Don’t worry about their child being the best mite but rather think about him being the best bantam or midget.  When I think about my own son, I think he will benefit from this.  Since he is already a little bigger than most of the kids, he will learn how to handle the puck in small areas under pressure from the smaller and quicker players.  When I think about how much more time that he will have the puck on his stick versus times in a full-ice situation, it is a no-brainer.  Also, I don’t think 4 months out of their hockey development where they are put in competitive situations that suits their abilities is going to hurt them.  It can only make them better- especially when they return to full ice competition.

We have had some great content additions to HockeySC.com over the past few weeks.  Mike, Kevin, Darryl and I have been posting some really good articles, videos, and programs.  We have also been getting some really good contributions from other Strength and Conditioning Coaches who work with hockey players and teams.  Here are some of the articles, videos, and programs that we have added recently:

Articles

Thoughts on Cross-Ice Hockey- a Parent’s Perspective by me

How I Use Testing Results by Darryl Nelson

Using Visualization to Prepare Before Games by Riley Fitzgerald

How We Use Subjective Stress Scores for Large Groups at DSC by Anthony Donskov

Videos

Posterior Chain Olympic Lifts by Mike Potenza

Lateral Core Dynamic Stability by Brian Sipotz and Darryl Nelson

Linear Plyometrics by Darryl Nelson

Programs

Final Off-Season Phase 2013 by Mike Potenza

We hope you enjoy it.  Also, we have had some terrific discussions on the forum recently about program design ideas, PRI, and testing.

If you aren’t a member, you can try us for just $1 for 7 days.  If you still want to be a member after that, it is $14.95 per month.  A really good deal when you consider all the information that you get.

Thanks! Sean

 

This is the time of year when most hockey players are in the beginning stage of their off-season programs (unless of course you play/coach for one of the final 4 NHL teams of the final AHL teams).

I just wanted to post a quick update as to what is going on at HockeyStrengthandConditioning.com.  We have been adding some real good content over the last few weeks in the forms of articles, programs, and videos.    We have also had some great discussions on the forum including ones on surviving without bilateral lifts, power development, and athletic development.

Here is what we have added recently:

Articles:

Surviving Without Bilateral Lifts by Devan McConnell

Hip Conditioning by Darryl Nelson

Training the Black Aces by me

Videos:

Iso Lunge and Iso Push Up by Mike Potenza

Ice Hockey Plyos by Darryl Nelson

The Ultimate Hockey Test by Darryl Nelson

Lying Chin Tuck by Kevin Neeld

Programs:

Off-Season Phase 1 and 2 by Darryl Nelson

Thanks!

Sean

Yesterday, I had the awesome opportunity of being a guest on my good friend Matt Nichol’s podcast.

If you don’t know Matt, he is the former Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He now works with hundreds of athletes including several NHL players.  He is also the founder of Biosteel which is in pretty much every NHL locker room now.

To find out more about Matt, check out his website- www.paragenixsystems.com.

To listen and subscribe to his podcast, check out https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/matt-nichol-podcast/id631696696?mt=2.

Thanks!

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