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The more time and experience I spend in this field the more I am seeking out more efficient ways of doing things. And this shouldn’t just regarding hockey training but everything we do. We should be looking for strategies that give us the best return on investment. Period.

The goal shouldn’t be to make our training sessions longer. Or to set records on the training room floor. Or to double the dose of a nutrient if the first sample worked. Instead we should be looking at things the opposite way.

What is the least amount of a factor I need in order to improve? Can I demonstrate improved strength and power with one fewer set than what I normally use? Can I improve my energy systems with one less set? Can I perfect my lifting technique with fewer attempts to failure?

In other words can I change my approach from one based on quantity (length of workout, loads used, sets, reps etc) to one based on quality (movement, tissue, technique, effort). Would we see fewer instances of over-reaching and over-training? Would we see progress continue for longer before plateauing? Would we see fewer wear and tear injuries? Would we see better moods and motivations for training? And would we see more competitiveness and effort during games as opposed to sporadic efforts and occasionally apathy?

I would think we would. But in order to do so we need to do a very good job at gathering some metrics. We need to be able to record everything we do that relates to our hockey training and on-ice performance. For example consider the following.

1. Training – Obviously we should already be tracking and recording our workouts with respect to load, reps and sets. But we should also include with that the quality of the movement. Make a note of how the effort felt. Did it feel easy or hard? From a coaching perspective how did the effort look? If the third set of four looked the best from a coaching perspective and felt the best from the hockey player’s perspective, perhaps we should have done one fewer set.

2. Recovery. How is the hockey player sleeping? Not just in terms of the quantity but also in terms of the quality. I’m a big believer that the more hours of sleep before midnight the better. When you track your sleep, with a Sleeptracker for example, you will quickly see the truth to this.

3. Nutrition – If the goal is to maintain or reduce body mass what is the total energy the hockey player is consuming? Would the same results or benefits be achieved with slightly less protein, for example? Or would they be better served by reducing their sugar intake?

The smart hockey player must determine those actions outside of the game which take a toll on the body and those actions which help restore and replenish. Once they have figured out what is taxing to the body then it is a matter of determining the minimum amounts which still lends a benefit.

On the other hand the hockey player must determine which actions allow for recovery and regeneration. And these actions should be increased.

Together there be less stress on the body and enhanced recovery. This should allow for more of the body’s resources to be used for on-ice performance.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                                  onsidehockeytraining.com

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