Who SHOULD train like a pro.
I have gotten a lot of questions about kids and off ice training, and I always like to direct parents to one of the best hockey training professionals that I know, Maria Mountain. Please read one of her latest articles where she talks about kids training and what parents should be doing to help their child train the 'right' way!
Last year I wrote about whether kids need to ‘train like the pros’. That seems to be a pretty big marketing ‘thing’ these days. Send your 8 year old here to train like a pro.
I think most of us read that and think – wow, that is probably not really what they need. But I see some other athletes making the same mistake so I am going to help you decide whether you really need to train like a pro OR if you just need a really good fitness program that will help you play better hockey.
Just because the pros do it, doesn’t mean it’s right thing for you. Think of what some pro players look like after their careers. Their knees are shot, their back aches and don’t even get started on their shoulder pain.
Their bodies get a lot of wear and tear. Competing at and training to play at the highest level in sport comes at a cost. It is up to you to decide if it is worth it.
You need to train like a pro…
If you are one who aspires to compete at the very best of your potential, whatever that is for you then you probably should be training like a pro, following a pro-style program to get you where you need to be.
Pretty much every pro works with a good strength and conditioning coach who designs or modifies a team program to suit their specific need. You can hire one to design the program that suits your needs.
You need a fitness program for hockey…
If you enjoy hockey in addition to other recreational pursuits as a way to stay active and healthy then you are better off with a fitness program that will also help you play better hockey.
What’s the difference?
A pro-style program is more time consuming with workouts lasting from 60-120 minutes on most days of the week. It will include complex resistance exercises that require practice to perfect and will progress to lifting very heavy loads.
The energy system training will be more grueling and include more dynamic drills, which will put more load on the muscles, but also more wear and tear on the joints over time.
[Time to Workout] A fitness program for hockey players is more manageable for those with a busy schedule – remember the key to success with any program is consistency – so it will be easier to get in the 30-60 minute workouts.
There should still be agility training, you need that, but the volume will be lower and there will be more recovery between drills. Your resistance training will give you a good overall base (that will help with your other pursuits) and include some of the essential exercises that will make the biggest impact on the ice.
I hope this helps you understand that the hardest program is not always the best program. If the exercises are too hard or there is too much intensity or too much volume in the program you are using, you can actually see your performance on the ice get worse.
It is just like having the right car for your lifestyle – if you have a family of four and the kids play hockey, then a Porsche 911 is going to be the wrong car for you. Not to say that is isn’t an AWESOME car and that you really want one, the kids are going to be more than a little sour when they have to ride in the trunk to school. What you need is a SUV that gives you exactly what you need.
So get a custom program designed by a certified strength and conditioning specialist – it is well worth the investment at $100-180 for one phase of training or you can check out the ready-to-go programs for both pro’s and joe’s HERE.