I’ll start by saying I hope everyone and their families are healthy and keeping busy during this global pandemic.
As hockey players, we are in unchartered territory, and the unknown can be tough. Some questions you might have asked yourself include:
- When is the start date for my next season?
- How does the pandemic affect contract negotiations?
- Is my team financially stable?
- When will the fitness facilities open?
- When will I be able to get back on the ice?
I don’t have the answers for you, but my response would be to focus on what you can control. Hockey will return. I’m not sure when and under what circumstance, but at some point, we will return to the rink.
Right now, all hockey players are in “off-season” mode. This will not be your typical offseason. It seems likely that you won’t be heading to your gym at your regular time nor will you have your spring ice-time to develop your skills further. But this is a chance for you to get creative on how to find ways to improve yourself.
The fact of the matter is 95% of hockey players are in the same position as you are. Unless you’re the fortunate one who has access to a high-end home gym, you are left to find alternative ways to maximize your preparation for the next hockey season.
Once the hockey season returns, coaches, general managers and player evaluators are going to expect you to show up to training camp or evaluations in shape. They are going to assume you’ve put in the time to find a way to improve yourself from last season. You won’t be able to use Covid-19 as an excuse.
Here are ways to create a routine to help keep you productive and accountable.
Make it easy on yourself and allow your body to get into a routine.
One way you can get into a routine is to set your alarm and wake up at the same time each day. This means you can’t stay up until 2:00 am playing video games or binge-watching your current tv series.
Consistency should also appear in the form of your diet. You’ll want to watch what you eat. Try avoid reaching for that bag of potato chips or box of cookies. If you’re having difficulties eating healthy, lock the junk food away for the week and allow yourself one cheat day.
It’s essential to wake up with a plan. Before you go to sleep, write down what you want to accomplish the next day.
Those who make lists of their tasks and plan them out can increase their productivity by 25%, simply by working from a list.
As you complete your tasks, check them off your list for a sense of accomplishment and to hold yourself accountable.
Now, if you have trouble keeping yourself accountable, there are a few different things you can try to make sure you’re accomplishing your tasks.
- Set alarms: Simply have reminders throughout the day to remind you of your daily tasks
- Ask for help: Have your family remind you
- Buy a planner: Write things down on paper so you can see your tasks
- Use your phone: Use your notepad App to jot down your daily goals
- Buy an app: Check out the App store to find a planner (these usually come with a monthly charge, such as Daily+ or Productive)
Start Your Day Right
Nutrition is highly important for elite athletes and you should fuel your body with the right nutrients.
Fruit Loops and Cocoa Puffs don’t cut it.
Stack suggests your breakfast should contain 500-750 calories divided up as so: 50% carbohydrates, 25% fats and 25% protein.
Make Training a Priority
To make sure training is always a priority in your life, you should try to find what time of day you are most productive. For example, if you’re not a morning person, don’t force yourself out of bed at 5 am for an early morning workout. Carve out time when it works best for you.
And don’t fall into the trap of “I’ll just do it tomorrow.” Remember: this isn’t a traditional off-season for hockey players. Try to do something each day that helps you become better prepared for next season.
Change it Up
We are in unprecedented times, and staying isolated at home can get real old quick. You must keep things fresh. Come up with workouts that challenge you and excite you.
Below are a few different ways you can stay in shape while changing it up.
Shooting pucks is an activity you should work into your off-season routine regardless of the situation.
If you listen to all the great NHL players, many of them say when they were growing up, they would shoot pucks in their basement or backyard.
Make this a habit.
Become creative in the shots you are making. Wrist shots, quick snapshots, shots off your left leg, shots off your right leg or transfer the puck from your backhand to forehand.
Find a field or a track near your house and do some sprints and work on your explosiveness. If your looking for a bigger challenge, find a hill and race up it.
You have an excellent opportunity to improve this skill. Grab a stick and a ball, and go through different progressions to strengthen your hands. Use what you have available to create an obstacle to stickhandle around. Repetition is key.
Agility ladders work wonders to improve your footwork and coordination. If you don’t have an agility ladder, you can easily make one by using chalk on the pavement.
Lace up your rollerblades and go wheeling around your neighborhood. Try to remain in hockey position as you will work the muscles associated with skating. If you want a challenge, grab a stick and a ball and work on your stickhandling while rollerblading.
Include your family
Spice things up. You don’t need to do these activies alone.
Ask your dad if he wants to have an accuracy competition. Ask your sister if she wants to do sprints with you. Ask your mom to go for a run. Ask your brother to go on a bike ride.
Having someone by your side can help keep you motivated and accountable.
Working out is always easier with some good beats. Take the time to create a few playlists that make you excited and motivated.
The National Center for Health Research shows music improves your workout by increasing stamina and enhancing your mood. Music can inspire you to work out harder and longer.
There are plenty of ways to maintain and improve your skill and fitness level even while you are stuck at home.
What are some things you have done during this time to work on your hockey? Let me know in the comments below.
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