In my experience working with amateur hockey players, there tends to be a significant difference in on/off season cardio and weight training habits. Those who want to move into a higher level of hockey or get picked up for a Jr. team, take their fitness level seriously. Players need to have the skill but also the stamina and strength to play at an elite level. I try to remind my players that the off season is not just for improving your golf swing or playing video games, it’s for building muscle and improving your cardiovascular endurance. To enable my players to work out on their own I offer a summer training package at the end of their regular hockey season. This mean there a less excuses and at the very least they can maintain their fitness level until next season. I am also involved with pre season conditioning camps. Conditioning camps are beneficial for those who took the summer “off” and need to get back up to speed prior to tryouts. I find there is an increase in injuries during the first month of hockey and at the end of a season. At the beginning of season it is usually players who have not been training on their own time that get hurt or are not able to keep up. The increase at the end of the season can be due to over training or exhaustion from playoffs or end of season tournaments. The trainers as well as the coaches need to ensure there is sufficient recovery time between games or practice to allow for proper rest. Promoting time for rest and rejuvenation sounds simple but at the Midget AAA level there is rarely a full day off from hockey each week!
Emma Van Ulden, BPE