Below is an adapted version of a newsletter I wrote for Endeavor Sports Performance. If you haven’t already, you might want to sign up for our Endeavor Newsletter here: Endeavor Sports Performance Newsletter as we regularly announce special deals on training packages, supplements, and training gear that may be of interest to you.
3 Tips for High Performance Hockey Players
Many of the greatest coaches of all time (in every sport) drill the importance of fundamentals. While this message is typically delivered regarding sport-specific technical and tactical abilities, it also has a ton of merit regarding more general preparation techniques. Below are three tips that are easy to implement, and will have a huge effect on an athlete’s performance.
1) Regulate Your Sleep Cycle
Sleep is a time for recovery and regeneration. It’s a time for your sympathetic nervous system, also known as your “fight or flight” system, to down-regulate, and for structures within your body to repair themselves from whatever physical or mental stresses they were exposed to throughout the day. Sleep is essential.
Most people are familiar with the idea that too little sleep can negatively impair performance. The same can be said for too much sleep (although I’d err on this side!). Many people, however, have never been taught how important it is to regulate your sleep cycle. In other words, you should attempt to go to bed and wake up at the same times every night/day. Because this isn’t always logistically possible, it’s okay to give yourself an hour window on either side. For example, if you typically go to bed at 11pm and wake up at 7am, it’d be okay for you to go to bed from 10pm-12am and wake up between 6am-8am, as long as you get the same total amount of sleep each night (8 hours in this example). A sporadic sleep schedule is interpreted by the body as a source of stress, meaning the very time that should serve to help you recover is actually pushing you in the opposite direction. Regulating your sleep cycle will help maximize your recovery and regeneration, and ensure that you’re continually making progress and not slowly breaking down.
2) Pack A Lunch
Athletes spend an average of around 8 hours per day at school. Within this time span, they’re provided roughly 45 minutes to eat, and offered a variety of fried and highly processed foods to fuel the students’ brains and bodies for the rest of the day. Frankly, these aren’t appropriate meal choices for a sedentary, goal-less sloth of a student, but they’re DEFINITELY not appropriate for serious athletes. Even choices like chicken caesar wraps, which are generally considered healthy choices by students” consist of a processed white tortilla, nutrient-less lettuce, caesar dressing which is full of fat (with no upside), and chicken of variable quality. In other words, it may be better than the chicken nuggets and tater tots your friends are eating, but not much.
The reality is that very few schools provide even reasonably healthy food options for their students because they’re more expensive, tougher to mass produce, and less likely to stay preserved for prolong periods of time. The system is less about optimally fueling students for mental and physical performance and more akin to mass-producing feedlot level nutrients to adequately stuff them until the next day. Pack a lunch with a couple pieces of fruit or vegetables, a water, bag of almonds or cashews, and a meat sandwich on sprouted grain bread. It takes about 5 minutes to throw something like that together, which you can do the night before. It’s a simple change, that will cause you to feel, perform, think, and look better.
1) Take This AMAZING Supplement Everyday!
A couple years ago I spoke at a group of youth lacrosse players at the Wells Fargo Center for an event hosted by the Philadelphia Wings. Addressing the athletes, their parents, and a portion of our staff at Endeavor, I mentioned that there was an amazing supplement that was scientifically proven to improve speed, agility, strength, power, conditioning, and mental processing. Does that sound appealing? You bet. More than appealing, it sounds like magic. Too good to be true. When I asked what people thought it was, I heart responses like “creatine” and “beta alanine”, which are actually well-educated guesses. At least, it’s better than the “Nitric Oxide” powders, and all the other crazy supplements who’s advertisements are borderline illegal and incredibly morally suspect. The truth is that all of these results can be expected simply from drinking water.
The world’s most effective supplement
Even minimal dehydration (1% of body weight) can have a profound influence on physical and mental performance, and the majority of youth athletes (and their parents for that matter) live their lives in some relative state of dehydration. Some do so out of a lack of awareness; others because they don’t like the taste of water. Keep in mind that the average water requirement for inactive individuals to avoid dehydration is 6-8 cups of water. I tell our athletes that that recommendation doesn’t apply to them. They’re HIGHLY active and are looking to do more than simply avoid dehydration. 12-16 cups is a bit safer. I encourage athletes not to think of “if” they can drink that much, but think of “how” they can get it in throughout the day. 16oz of ice water when you first wake up is a great way to start the day. Drinking 2 16oz bottles of water throughout the school day is a great way to stay awake. 16oz within an hour before practice, 8-16oz during, and 16 oz after will help ensure you’re properly hydrated to perform your best. 16oz bottles aren’t that big, and if you stick to that schedule, you’ll have consumed 11-12 cups of water. If you don’t like the taste, try adding some flavor like lemon or lime juice. Remember, it’s not candy, it’s water. You’re going to need to drink it in copious amounts for the rest of your life, so get used to it!
Simple tactics. Huge payoff. Start building positive habits to pursue athletic excellence today!
To your success,
P.S. Tip #4: Train using a PROVEN off-ice hockey training system!
P.S.2. If you’re local and not actively enrolled in a sports training program, you can start training with us for only $89! We’re currently offering an $89 30-day trial for all new athletes and personal training clients. Call us today at (856) 269-4148 to take advantage of this incredible offer!
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Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.