Ice Hockey is a sport that requires skill and passion by those playing the game. Such a rigorous sport provides the opportunity for players to get better, but there is lots of hard work and motivation required to meet these goals. Becoming a better ice hockey player is not something that will develop over the course of a day or week, but will take several weeks or seasons for improvement. Below are ways to improve your ice hockey performance, both physically and mentally, resulting in being a better ice hockey player.
All athletes and players require adequate sleep. A good night’s sleep daily will rest your muscles and provide the necessary energy and focus for the approaching game. When players do not get enough sleep, they can become slower in the field, resulting in poor performance. Sleep deprived players also find themselves distracted on the field, affecting not only their speed but their focus.
- Speed interval training
- Core Building
- Strength training
Ice hockey is a sport that mandates physical fitness and endurance. Because ice hockey is made of quick plays, try adding intervals to your daily workout. USA Hockey magazine insists that interval training is reflective of the game and prepares the body for the game. Make sure to conclude or incorporate stretching within your workouts, as it enables flexibility in muscles throughout your body. Ice hockey requires its players to turn and twist in an instant, and proper stretching will protect those muscles from damage.
Core building is also essential for hockey players. While building and developing your ab muscles are essential, so are hip flexors for hockey players. Your hip flexor development is essential for flexibility, which is also required in ice hockey. When strengthening your core, the traditional ab exercises will suffice with an addition of standing twists to include the development of your entire core. Quick turns and spins are essential to the ice hockey sport, so building an entirely strong core will not only increase flexibility and protect your core muscles.
Strength training is also essential for enhancing your performance and becoming a better ice hockey player. Depending on your personal weight with your hockey gear, you want to set a goal to list at least that much and develop a resistance to being hit and withstand such force. When strength training, focus more directly on your lower body strength, as most of your opponents will target that area to throw you off balance. Build your workout to include box jumps, deadlifts, and single-leg squats for strengthening your lower body.
When deciding on a training regimen, make sure to plan it to last at least four weeks out, so that you can accurately monitor your training goals. For ice hockey players, progress is made over a period of time with determination, drive, and patience. As you continue your new physical training regimen for ice hockey, you will be able to notice differences from game to game.
No More Fast Food
Now that you have committed to a healthier and more intense physical training, you will need to have your diet match your goals. Fast food meals and unhealthy eating will compromise any benefits from training. Consider a high protein diet with lots of vegetable and healthy carbs to perform at your best.
Embrace Your Inner Skater
Do you want to develop your ice hockey skill off of the ice? On the weekends and when you want to spend some time practicing your skating, lace up your inline skates, call your teammates, and hit the streets for street hockey. Street hockey will allow the opportunity to develop skills to be used on the ice. Skating on inline skates allows you to practice your skating ability, as they are the most similar to ice skates. With the skates being similar in size and build, many of the movements are distinct in both street and ice hockey and allowing you to build your skating abilities. This is also a great platform to practice the different turns and sprints, allowing you to continue working on your hip flexors outside of the gym.
To better improve your hockey performance and become a better player, you must mentally prepare yourself for ice hockey.
- Accept Mistakes
- Zone in on the game
- Embrace Your Teammates
Mistakes are going to happen for every player in every sport. When mistakes happen, accept them and use them as a lesson to learn from. When you make a mistake, you have the opportunity to know what is okay, what is not, and what you need to work on as a player. Mistakes are guiding you what to do correctly and the foundations of growth for all players alike. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Growth as a player will require you to take risks. Overthinking a game or not attempting a play because of a mistake will only hinder your performance. As a player, you do not want to dwell on Getting upset or refusing to accept a mistake is a sign of bad sportsmanship, and will have negative effects on your team.
Although you need to accept your mistakes, you need to drop that focus during game time. When the game starts, get your head in and do not think about anything else. From the time the puck drops to the timer buzzes, focus your mind on the game at hand and your teammates. Do not focus on previous mistakes during the game because you will become distracted. Develop a pre-game routine that allows your mind to build focus and attention on the approaching game. Your mind and body will begin to recognize this routine and your mind will begin focusing more intently prior to and during games, increasing your focus.
The best ice hockey players embrace their teammates and see themselves as one unit on the ice. Different players of the team bring different talents. Because of that, you pair your talents with your teammates and play off of each other’s strengths. If the team is working together cohesively, then all of the players are performing at their best, and you will be a better ice hockey player because of it.
Bring It All Together
In order to be a better ice hockey player, it is essential to utilize the above tips daily as you begin preparing and practicing for ice hockey. Patience, determination, and motivation are life skills that successful ice hockey players have in order to be successful. How you train, practice, eat, and think about the game are all essential to your player development. A player who focuses solely on fitness but not a positive mentality will be of no use to the team, and a team is required to win a game. If a player focuses on positive mentality and fitness but has a poor diet, they will find themselves unable to perform to their full potential.