Monday, July 6, 2009

Why Hockey Players Must Train Like They Play

Nice article written about specific female hockey player training:

Determining how to condition properly for hockey is a controversial subject that is debated by coaches from the atom ranks all the way up to the pros. When it comes to designing an off-season training program, most experts agree on how to best develop strength, speed and power in young hockey players

, but there is always disagreement on how to best develop conditioning.

Slow & Steady Does NOT Win the Race

The game of hockey is characterized by short, explosive, high-intensity efforts interspersed with periods of complete rest. The best hockey players in the world are the ones who are strong, fast, agile and powerful - not those who can run at 10 miles in the fastest time. Hockey is simply not an endurance sport

. In fact, the best players on the ice tend to be the ones who perform poorly on off-ice tests of endurance.

The challenge is that players feel as though they are becoming more fit for hockey by focusing on increasing their endurance in the off-season. Players who go for long slow distance runs over the summer will definitely develop their endurance, but this enhancement will come at the expense of their ability to perform at the highest intensity level consistently throughout the game.

Do You Want to Be "Fit" or "Fast"?

Ultimately, on the issue of proper conditioning for hockey, it comes down to choosing between being aerobically ‘fit’ or being strong, fast and powerful. Players must make a trade-off when it comes to conditioning. They can either possess a high level of endurance or game-breaking speed and quickness. It is physiologically impossible to develop both of these qualities to their highest extent in athletes.

Elite hockey players are speed and power athletes

and must train to enhance those qualities. Players must develop their ability to perform repeated high-intensity intervals and maintain their ‘jump’ and explosiveness throughout an entire game, instead of focusing on their ability to go for long distances at a moderate pace.

In the majority of cases, young players are simply unaware that the endurance training they are devoting so much time and energy to is actually detrimental to their overall performance on the ice.

Bottom line: When young players focus on doing long slow distance training instead of high-intensity interval-based training, they are quite often training themselves OUT of hockey shape and are making themselves SLOW.

Kim McCullough, MSc, YCS is a Player Development Specialist and Founder of Total Female Hockey. In addition to training and coaching girls at all levels of hockey, from novice to the National team, Kim has also played at the highest level of women's hockey in the world for the last decade. Kim's female player development website ( features a state-of-the-art Complete Off-Season Training Program and her blog ( gives the coaches and parents of aspiring young players access to the most up-to-date tips and advice on how to help their players take their game to the next level. To learn more about female-specific player development, get your Free Report: The #1 Mistake Female Players Make in the Off-Season at

1 comment:

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