Depending on the level of hockey you’re playing you’re probably getting close to going back for a new season. Junior teams will be seeing their players roll into town over the next couple of weeks. NHL players will be returning to their clubs starting in the first week in September. And school age players will probably be the last to get back together for a new season.

So as you are in the final phases of your hockey training what should you be looking to do with regards to tapering?

Maybe we should take a moment and get on the same page here. If we were to define tapering it would mean to reduce the training prior to a competition.

And in the context of this situation consider this to mean competing for a spot on the team. Or competing during physical testing. Both of which may require your top level performance.

So in order to bring our best for camp we need to incorporate a taper of some type. But how much? And for how long?

To answer these you need to look back on your off-season hockey training program and answer the following:

* How long has the entire training program lasted in weeks?

* How intense was the training at the conclusion?

* How long did the intense phase of the training last?

* When was the last unload scheduled? And for how long?

* Are you competing for a spot on a roster?

* Will you be performing fitness testing at camp?

So if we agree it is important to taper at the end of training should everyone taper to the same degree? Should everyone taper for the same duration. Below are seven factors you can use to determine how long your taper should be.

Age – The older the hockey player the longer the taper

Stress – The higher the level of stress the longer the taper

Health – The less optimal the health the longer the taper

Work done – The greater the amount of work done the longer the taper

Muscle mass – The more heavily muscled the longer the taper

Personality – The higher the energy the longer the taper

% body fat – The lower the % body-fat the longer the taper

So as you can see there are a number of factors that contribute to the length of the taper. One way to quickly determine if you should do a short, medium or long taper would be rank each of the seven factors listed on a scale from 1-15 with a lower score indicating an absence of that factor and a higher score indicating a strong presence of that factor.

Next add up the scores of each of the factors. Although the sum is 105 this will still work and we can round it down to 100. From here determine if your number is:

* less than 35 and you will do a short taper of 1-4 days

* less than 70 and you will do a medium taper of 5-7 days

* above 70 and you will do a long taper of 8-11 days

Follow these guideline to determine when you should start tapering your training and arrive in camp in the best shape possible.


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