There’s an expression in sports that ‘you play, you pay’ meaning that injuries are bound to happen with enough time and at a high enough level. Obviously we want to prevent the non-contact injuries as much as possible but there’s still a chance that you may experience an injury.

But do you do when you find yourself injured? There used to be a couple of options most people would follow.

The first was to ignore the pain and push on. Hence the expression ‘no pain, no gain’. Obviously this doesn’t make much sense. We risk the chance of injuring ourselves further and probably have to scale back in certain areas of our workout to accommodate the injury. So this option can probably be thrown out.

And the other option would be to do nothing at all. You’d skip out on your training. You’d stay at home. You pop a few pills to deal with it but other than you simply waited until everything seemed better and then you resumed training.

With the second option you risk missing out on a significant phase of your training. Maybe you’re just entering the power training part of your training. Or maybe you’ve just started doing some more plyos and jumps. Or maybe you’ve increased the number of your on-ice sessions. Whatever the point in your training these are key times to make solid gains and continue to improve for next season.

So where does that leave us when you’re injured? You don’t just soldier on as if nothing has happened and you don’t stop entirely. The obvious solution is somewhere in the middle.

The first thing you want to determine is if you’re sore or injured. What I mean by that is do you have muscle discomfort or join pain? Does the area feel better with movement or activity? Does it improve with time? Does it follow a particularly intense training session or an accident? Can you see the pattern here?

So if you are injured and assuming it is not serious requiring additional expertise there are still things you can be doing with your hockey training.

The first option would be to train the opposite. If you’ve injured your lower body, focus on the upper. Maybe you’ve hurt your knee and can’t flex the lower body under load. You might still be able to work on the pulling movements for your upper body. You don’t need to put your lower body in any type of risky situation in order to continue working on a part of the upper body.

Work on tissue quality. If we continue on with the example of a knee injury you won’t be able to flex and extend the knee. But you would be able to foam roll the leg on that side to break up some of the forming scar tissue and release some of the knots.

Do some specific core work. Think of all the bridging variations that can be done which don’t put undo stress on the knee. Sometimes an injury forces you to slow down, use extra attention with regards to your technique on the most important area of your body for hockey.

Besides the above listed options to allow you to continue with your hockey training don’t forget to put extra emphasis on your rest, nutrition and mental preparation. The extra sleep will help the body heal a little faster. Adjusting your energy intake when your training intensity and volume may be reduced helps offset potential weight gain. And mentally preparing for how you will adapt a particular hockey training workout will help make your workout efficient, effective and get you back to full health sooner.


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