The other day I was talking with a friend about their hockey training program. And basically what we were discussing were ways to get the most out of every single action step that is a part of training. In other words if there are certain things you have to do anyways, wouldn’t you want to make sure you get the most out of every one of your efforts?

Of course you would. So with that in mind let’s look at all of the relevant pieces of your training plan and see where there is still room for improvement. Because when it comes down to it the higher the level you go the more competitive it becomes. And with more competition is the necessity to do every thing as well as possible. A 2 or 3% improvement in a particular area of your game could be the difference between mediocrity and success. Now multiply that 2-3% improvement across multiple areas of your training and you’ve the potential to become a drastically improved hockey player.

1. Mental preparation

There’s a great paper I’ve cited before that showed how a group in a study got 22% stronger by simply thinking about exercise. Can you imagine that? 22% simply by thinking about working out. Imagine what you could accomplish if you combined this with an intense and well designed training program.

The fact is most hockey players don’t think about their workouts before they get to the gym. They probably don’t think about them as they arrive, during their warm-ups or even during their first sets. Sometimes it takes them until their first working set until they are actually mentally focused and engaged on the work at hand. There would be a lot of wasted potential not to mention increased injuries if that were the case.

2. Nutritional preparation

How many hockey players plan out their meals for the week? Or even for the day? How many of them make their own meals? How many of them make sure to bring something to drink during the workout as well as a post workout recovery drink?

The sad reality is that many of them are not getting the most out of their workouts due to a poor or complete lack of a nutritional plan. And as the saying goes ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’.

The other unfortunate thing about not having a nutritional plan often means last minute, poor quality meal choices. Even when you’re eating out at a healthy restaurant you can’t control the way something is prepared. So normally healthy ingredients are prepared with low nutritional value sauces, flavourings and additives.

3. Sleep

You know the importance of sleep. But are you getting 8 hours every night? Are you getting as many hours before midnight? Does your schedule change on the weekends and result in disruption in the sleep cycle? Is your sleep high quality and restful? Or is it interrupted and restless?

The ability to come back from one workout to the next, the intensity of our workouts, our reliance on artificial stimulants and our moods are all influenced  by our sleep status. Put yourself in sleep debt and you risk compromising the effectiveness of all of these.

Since we probably all agree as to the importance of all three of these items we can probably also agree that we aren’t maxed out on any one area. We could prepare more for our workout. We could improve our nutritional habits and we could improve our sleep patterns.

Now imagine if you were to realize a 3% improvement in all three of these areas? And remember these are all things you have to do anyways and could simply do better.

This would give you a 10% improvement overall! And that’s on the conservative side. Remember the mental focus strategy generated a 22% improvement.

What kind of player would you be with 10% improvement? What kind of contribution would you make to your team? What kind of season would you have? And guess what?

There are more than 3 things you can improve on with your hockey training. Spend some time and write down everything you do to prepare for hockey. Next write down 3 things for each item that would be an improvement. You’ll be amazed at the difference this will have in your game.


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