Yesterday I wrote a little bit about the importance of conditioning, and the mental advantage of knowing you put in the work necessary to be prepared for that double or triple overtime game. Today I had planned on drawing up a list of conditioning drills I was put through over the years, but I had a better idea: instead of torturing minor hockey players by sharing those with coaches who happen to read this site, why not share the greatest drill of all-time and reward them? (Psst, coaches – it’s still tiring as hell.)
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
* A team with functioning brain cells. (A huge number of coaches just slumped their shoulders, disappointed.)
I mean, aside from a full roster and a few pucks, that’s pretty much it. Read the rest of this entry »
My junior hockey coach (Mike Vandekamp), whom I’ve written a lot about on this site and others, was unlike any other coach I ever had before or after our time together. He was, shall we say, a bit unorthodox. But, in my two years with him we went to the BCHL finals and lost in six, then swept every single series the following year to win the BCHL title. You can be as unorthodox as you like if you win, apparently.
Once your roster is solidified, a coach can only do a few things to ensure he gets the most out of his team: mainly, he can be sure they’re in shape, he can be sure they understand the systems, and he can make sure they buy in.
We were going to be the best conditioned team in the League, like it or not. I was firmly entrenched in the “not” group at first – bag skating is usually used as a threat or a punishment on most teams, and we hadn’t done anything wrong, so…why, Mike, why? It was just the way it was, so, take it or leave it, Desperate-18-Year-Old-Clinging-To-Hopes-Of-A-Career-In-Hockey.
Read the rest of this entry »
The life of the professional hockey player has changed somewhat over the years. My Dad’s NHL career spanned from 1974-1988, and over that time, he witnessed a huge shift in how players trained during the off-season. By the middle of his career, the term “training camp” was no longer where you began to work out if you hoped to keep up.
These days players let their bodies rest for as long as need be after the season – usually two-to-three weeks, maybe a month at most – then get back in the gym and start rebuilding the muscle they lost over the course of the last season, and hope to reach new “bigger, faster, stronger” heights.
Still, the routine isn’t that miserable. How long can a sane person really train for in a given day? Most guys get to the gym in the morning, and spend whatever amount of time they see fit – one-to-two hours for most – then head to the rink to skate. Read the rest of this entry »