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Hockey is definitely a game of flow. For example, think to the last great game you watched or played and most likely you enjoyed this game primarily due to the outcome. But even though your team ended up on the right side of the winning column this game was memorable because it had flow. Sometimes this means the refs ‘put away their whistles’ and allowed the teams to play. This creates an exciting style of hockey that is both fun to play and watch.

Besides the flow of the game and the back and forth rushes for both sides there is also a level of excitement when there is a change in the game. This can be a change in the score or a change in momentum after a team that is down kills off a penalty or wins a fight.

The changes in flow aren’t completely random and players can influence many aspects of the game and sometimes the outcome itself when they create a change. And sometimes the best players are the ones that have the greatest potential to create change in the game. Consider the following.

Which player would you rather have on your team? The one who is moderately fast and goes all-out 100% of the time? Or the one who is just as fast, or maybe a step faster, but chooses key moments in the game to exploit the opponent with their speed?

Think about as well how the previous scenario relates to the emotions of the players. While you definitely want to play with emotion you want to be in control. Sometimes the player who is going 100% has an emotional disposition to match and is less likely to stay in control in the heat of the moment.

Think as well about how this relates to your energy levels during a game. If you’re going 100% all the time what will your energy be like in the 3rd period? And if the game goes into OT can you sustain your intensity?

Now don’t confuse the above with coasting or slacking. You need to bring your best every opportunity you get. And if you are a 3rd or 4th line player sometimes you need to go a little more than the rest in order to catch the coach’s eye. You can play intensely, put in 100% effort but still be in control.

Think about the greats of the game and you can picture the flow and changes in their games. Gretzky’s head used to bob up and down when he was really pushing (I’m not recommending this technique, just making the point that you could identify when he had changed gears).

Your hockey training is similar in this regard. Some days are all-out  and intense while others are low intensity. Some training sessions are short and others are long. You wouldn’t go in the weight room and try and go 100% for the whole hour never mind doing this every time you worked. So remember the ebb and flow of a great game of hockey and keep this in mind as you perform your hockey training workouts.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      onsidehockeytraining.com

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