Should Hockey Players Condition In-Season?

One of the major training goals I hear from hockey players and coaches is to improve conditioning.
After all, being better conditioned than your competition will give you the advantage coming down the home stretch of the game.

My coach at Delaware always said, “Men are judged by how they finish!”.

While I’ll make the argument that a quick, explosive, fast team can build a huge lead in the first period and not need to lean on conditioning at the end of the game, I don’t think it hurts to be explosive AND well-conditioned.

With that being said, I don’t really think in-season is the time to DEVELOP conditioning.

The off-season and pre-season is really the time to focus on building a solid foundation of conditioning.

While I think some conditioning is appropriate year-round, it really only takes about 6 weeks for people to get in great hockey shape (overweight athletes may require more conditioning in the pursuit of fat loss).

Once you’re in great shape, most of that can be maintained through on-ice practices if they’re structured the right way, and games.

Adding a significant amount of conditioning during the season, especially when you’re on the ice 4+ times a week, increases your risk of overtraining (and under recovering).

In-season training should focus on improving strength and explosiveness, while actively facilitating recovery (through soft-tissue work, stretching, proper nutrition and hydration, and getting adequate sleep).

Regardless of the time of year, it’s important that you  perform the RIGHT kind of conditioning.

Hockey training expert Michael Boyle just released a great video on conditioning that you should definitely watch.

Click here to hear Coach Boyle talk about how one change in the type of conditioning he did with his hockey players made a HUGE impact.

-Kevin Neeld

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