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Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

So with the Rangers-Devils series the media keeps brining up the question about fatigue.

And John Tortorella keeps dismissing this as an issue.

Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Tortorella is answering the question the only way possible. By denying that fatigue is an issue for his players.

But the fact remains that players on both sides are feeling the cummulative effects of playing nine months already. Well everyone except Ranger call-up Chris Kreider.

So what goes on in between games to off-set the effects of fatigue? What are players on both sides, as well as the Western Conference, doing to enhance their recovery?

Below are 8 examples going on behind the scenes to get ready for the next game.

And the cool thing is these are all things you can apply to your training to feel better, move better and achieve better results.

Recovery Tip #1Nutrition

The key to applying this tip to its full potential is timing. Post workout you need to be drinking back a recovery shake with a 3-4 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein. The protein source could be 20 grams of whey, 6 grams of branch chain amino acids or 2 grams of leucine. All will get the job done.

But keep in mind that this needs to happen right away. As soon as you step off the ice. Not 30 or 45 minutes later. The sooner the better.

A few years I stopped in to check in with the Avs in Denver. After their game the strength & conditioning coach had their shakes on a ledge in the dressing room with their names written on tape. He started preparing these in the 3rd period so they were all ready immediately after the game.

Recovery Tip #2- Hydration

After training or playing you will lose water. As little as 2% dehydration will lead to a decrement in performance. And it prolong and minize your recovery.

It is important that you weigh yourself pre and post to track your water loss. Just make sure this is done with only a towel on so wet clothing is not factored into post-training weighing. You will  need to drink 2 glasses of water for every pound you’ve lost.

Recovery Tip #3Myofascial Release

Whether you are playing pro and make access to a massage therapist or use a roller of some type you can facilitate your recovery with myofascial release. Myo simply leans muscle and fascia is the tissue that links all of the muscles in the body.

Foam rolling is one way to increase blood flow and extensibility of the tissue. This helps speed up the recovery process and allows for your best performance next time on the ice.

Recovery Tip #4Sleep

Too often players consider sleep only the night before a game. However regular, quality sleep is similar to your nutrition. You can’t wake up Saturday morning for an evening game and simply try and eat the best food possible.

These are habits that need to be established months and years ahead of time. The more regular your sleep is and the better quality it is the more benefit you’ll get from your sleep.

And the extra benefit is you’ll have more of a reserve to draw on for games that run into overtime. Or for travel that goes through the night. You will feel the effects of these types of scenarios less when you have your sleep already in order.

Recovery Tip #5Parasympathetic Activities

Are you familiar with the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems?

If not there’s an easy way to remember which is which. The sympathetic has to do with ‘flight or fight’. And the parasympathetic has to do with ‘rest and digest’.

Coming off the ice after a game the sympathetic system is ramped up. Cortisol, lactic acid, lactate and other waste products are all flowing through the vascular system. And these put the brakes on recovery and feel loose, fresh and ready to go.

On way to reverse this is to ramp up the parasympathetic nervous system. This is done by doing what you enjoy. If I played in the NHL I’d be watching Dumb & Dumber and going to comedy clubs. I love to laugh and it’s my favourite way to blow off steam.

For everyone it’s going to be different. Figure out what you enjoy doing then do this to take your mind off the competition, to relax and enhance your recovery.

Recovery Tips #6, 7, 8 – ???

I mentioned there are 8 tips to enhance your recovery.

Want the next three tips?

And want more specifics on the above 5 tips? More specifics on the nutritional and hydration guidelines?

Pick up a copy of www.premierhockeytraining.com and you’ll get these plus everything else you need for your off-season training.

If you have any questions post them in the comments section below.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 onsidehockeytraining.com

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?
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sleeping athlete

As the first round of the playoffs wraps up the match-ups for round two are being set. Having eliminated the Kings in 6 the Canucks now look forward to a rematch of last year’s playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks. But rather than look ahead to the next round I want to take a step back and look at something from the previous series.

After game 4 in LA, which the Canucks won 6-4, Vancouver took the unusual decision of over-nighting in LA after the game. This might seem as unusual for some as game 5 would be back in Vancouver. Wouldn’t the Canucks want to get home as soon as possible for their next game? Wouldn’t they feel more comfortable in their own beds? Don’t teams normally fly out right after away games? The answer to all of the these is probably yes. Or at least it used to be.

For the past couple of years the Canucks have been consulting a sleep doctor and they base their travel and accomodation schedule on his recommendations.  So as  a result, the Canucks opted to stay Wednesday in LA and fly back to Vancouver Thursday. Here are some of the possible reasons why.

A typical west coast game starts at 7 pm PST and goes at least until 930 pm PST unless there’s overtime. Once obligatory post-game media interviews, showers and post-game business are completed it’s probably closer to 11 PM. Even flying from a private terminal without the same security, line-ups and delays of commercial air travel probably means an arrival into Vancouver no earlier than 2 am and bed time closer to 3 am. Once there is disrupted and incomplete sleep we start to see the following repercussions.

When we are sleep deprived we will have delayed response times. Quick reflexes and responses is such a key to winning face-offs, to beating an opponent to the puck and for Luongo to make an opportune save. Take away somebody’s sleep and they don’t make the same, quick plays as they would if well rested.

Sleep is when we recover. And the playoffs can be a very taxing time of year, both physically and mentally. If the demands are that high and the need for recovery is that great than you wouldn’t want to minimize your team’s ability to be fully recovered for the next game by restricting their sleep.

There is also a strong correlation between various hormones in the body and the amount of sleep we get. When we are sleep deprived we notice that the messages that tell us when we are hungry and full are out of whack. So we feel hungry sooner than we should and we feel full later than we should causing us to over eat. Add to this that the stress hormone cortisol is elevated with sleep deprivation whereas testosterone and growth hormone are lowered and we can quickly see how important missing a few hours of sleep can be on our hormonal status.

Lastly, if there’s one thing hockey players like it’s consistency. It’s beyond ritualistic and to the point of superstitious. They have a particular pre-game meal. The get dressed the same way with the same lucky socks. They are lead out for warm-up by the same player every game. The list goes on. In keep with these traditions and rituals it make sense for teams to want to establish the same consistency with respect to the rest and recovery schedules of their players.

Obviously there is huge merit to ensuring a hockey player is well rested and fully recovered prior to each game. The same applies to your off-season hockey training as well. Ensure that you get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every night and strive for the consistency of going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. While you may not be competing for Lord Stanley’s Cup you can steal a page out of the Canucks program and apply it to your own hockey training.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                                        onsidehockeytraining.com