Is your work work misdirected?

What are your plans for hockey this fall? Are you looking to move on to another level? Do you have aspirations to make a new team?

Unless you are already playing in the NHL there is probably another level you could move up. And even if you are playing in the NHL you would probably like to move up on the depth chart, increase your minutes and be on the ice for key situations at the end of games.

So if this is the case what can you do to control your destiny? What can you do to make sure this happens? Well many players realize the importance of off-season training and now invest their time and resources accordingly to improve and give themselves a better shot at success.

But this is adequate. And this quick analogy with school will explain why.

Imagine a student was in a particular grade level, let’s say the 10th grade, and wanted to move on the 11th. And this student went to school everyday. And sat in a desk everyday. And took out their notebook and pen and wrote things down when the teacher spoke. And took the textbooks home at night to look them over.

What some hockey training efforts look like

Would this student be guaranteed to advance to the next grade level at the end of the school year? At first appearances and describing their efforts above we might assume, yes, they would be promoted to the next level.

But we may be wrong. And here’s why.

First of all we know nothing above which class the student is sitting in. Is he going to school and studying Latin when he requires an English credit to advance? This is not all that uncommon for students to approach graduation and realize they have shown up for all their years of high school only to realize at the 11th hour that they shouldn’t have dropped that English class two semesters ago because now they can’t advance without it.

And so it matters not only that we put in a certain amount of effort but that this effort is directed appropriately towards our goal.

Secondly, let’s now assume the student is taking the right classes. And he does show up every day and does everything that is expected of him. Is this student now guaranteed to advance to the next level?

Again it may appear that the student has put in the work and is deserving of moving on to the next level. No argument there.

But what if there were no tests during the entire school year? What if there were no quizzes at certain points throughout the semester to ensure comprehension of the material? Might we setting this student up for failure when he attempts the final exam and realizes he is not prepared?

Again we can see how a student can simply flow along with his classmates during an entire year when there have been no periodic assessments. Unfortunately when final exams roll around the truth is exposed and this student is held back.

Unfortunately as well this is not too uncommon with off-season hockey training.

Players register at the end of their season. They have a schedule of training days as well as days off to rest and enjoy the summer. They show up everyday and do all the drills the coach or trainer has planned out for them. They put in a solid effort, get sweaty, sore and are out of breath. And at the end of the session they further demonstrate their commitment to the process by chugging back a protein shake.

Sadly, this is no guarantee that these players will advance to the next level. Worse yet this is no guarantee that this hard work will translate to improved on-ice performance. And worse still this is no guarantee that this will help reduce the potential for injury.

In the next post I will explain what an off-season training program should look like. And how it will help to minimize the potential for injury and enhance on-ice performance. And lastly how achieving both of these will help to advance to the next level.


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