Friday, May 18, 2012

The Importance of Off-Season Training

It's been over a month since my last post and well, it was a busy month. I was finishing up finals in school and starting a new job, but am back and will be trying to post about once a week until the fall when I will post more frequently. Today I want to discuss the importance of off-season training in hockey. Unlike all other sports, hockey has the prerequisite of needing the ability to skate skillfully before playing competitive hockey. Once the art of skating is mastered, much like riding a bike, you don't forget how to do it. However, those who don't skate year round often get left behind. Playing other sports can help with this too. There are kids who could play hockey all day every day and never get bored, while others do the same and get burnt out. Playing spring, summer, and fall sports can help for a better balance, even if hockey is the child's sport of choice. I know I myself played baseball and football until high school before focusing on hockey. Not only will other sports help create a better balance of sports, it can also help in different aspects of the game. Football can help with learning how to take as well as give a check with a shoulder, just as baseball can help an athlete's hand-eye coordination. These can be used as great tools to improve a child's athleticism, but skating in the off-season is still necessary to keep up with the other kids. Summer camps or an association's STP (Summer Training Program) are a great way to keep your hockey legs and improve on areas of your game. AAA hockey is a great way to play very competitive games over the summer and gives young players the opportunity at a young age to learn how to play with unfamiliar players and make a few friends in the process. We play hockey for fun, but the ultimate goal is to play for a certain team, achieve a certain goal, and the best way this is done is to keep training in the off-season to grow as a hockey player. One more thing I'd like to add, is a big difference can be made for those who put in the extra effort. I'm not saying to give your childhood away for hockey, but coming home from a game or practice and spending thirty minutes to an hour shooting pucks or stickhandling could really improve your game. There are plenty of talented players that are not willing to put in such an effort, and players who put in the work could improve tremendously and pass other players up. That's all for today, be back later this week with a post on stickhandling.

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