Posts Tagged ‘conditioning drills’

 Where does Chris Chelios rank among all-time defensemen?

For many hockey players off-season training is just getting going. Some may still be competing in the NHL playoffs or maybe in the World championships but for most the season is over and it’s time to get to work preparing for next season. Today I was running some conditioning drills with one of our returning NHL players. This player is a young guy who has really come into his own the last few years. And I want to share with you some of the insights he has gained as well as some of the things we are going to work on this off-season.

One of the things I have heard mentioned in hockey as well as other sports is how the veteran players really take care of themselves. They spend more time learning about what will make a difference in their performance and then look to apply this to their preparation. This might involve off-season training, nutritional plans, in-season soft-tissue work, mental strategies and many other things that will give them an advantage over their opponent. One of the things these veteran players realize is the importance of staying in shape year round.

Sometimes the young guys can rely too much on their talent and athleticism to allow them to compete. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing but at a certain point they need to realize that to be the best their needs to be a combination of talent and hard work. If you don’t have the basic skill set you won’t get noticed on draft day or signed later as a free agent. But to stick with a club and make an impact you need to be willing to put in the hard work.

It is the ability plus the hard work for a consistent period of time that develops character. Love him or hate him Chris Chelios didn’t play well into his 40′s because he was the most talented guy out there. He was definitely good enough but also had a reputation for consistent training during the off-season. And it was this consistency of effort, plus the required skill set, that allowed him to have such a long career in the NHL.

And that’s a lesson the younger guys in the NHL would be wise to take note. Look to the greats in the game right now and see what it is they do, year round. Notice how they don’t let themselves get too out of shape during the off-season. Learn from the attention they give their bodies to allow them to recovery more quickly and completely. See what it is they are doing nutritionally to improve the fuel they put into their bodies.

Because the reality is even the absolute best in the game will take a number of years to earn a chance to sip from the cup. And many will be great enough but never get that chance based on how difficult it really is.

So the key then becomes to have as much longevity as possible to increase the chances of claiming the ultimate prize. For if you start early and put in consistent hard work you will develop the character that pays off this time off year. Or at least you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you put it all out there and have no regrets.

In the next post I’ll share some of the goals we have identified for this off-season and how they will pay dividends next year.