Thursday, 19 May 2011

Sport Specific Training Program - Hockey

Just like any sports specific training program, a hockey training program must meet the demands of the sport.  Hockey is a multi sprint sport and is very physically challenging.  A hockey player requires endurance, strength, power, skill, agility and speed to compete competitively.
As explained in my first blog ’’ENERGY DEMANDS of HOCKEY’’ – I explained that because of the nature of the game, it places a high demand on mostly the aerobic system.  It is thus evident that good aerobic endurance is required, BUT not only on aerobic.   Aerobic and Anaerobic endurance should be high in elite hockey players. 

From experience I can say that majority of the game is spent in low-level activity and repeated sprints, which speed and the tolerance of lactic acid a very important aspect for players and should be utilized in training programs.

Strength is also a central aspect to consider in hockey players - power is required for speed, quickness and agility.  Upper body strength will allow players to pass at a higher speed over longer distances and shoot with more power.  It is evident that strength endurance is just as crucial as explosive power in hockey.  Both should be effectively developed without causing fatigue and eventually over- training.  The synthetic astro turfs that the game is played on places extra strain on the body compared to natural grass and a good conditioning program plays a crucial role in the prevention of injuries.  Out of personal experience I can say that practicing on astro and doing conditioning on grass is a good combination, as it reduces the injury risk of playing only on astro turfs.

Training Articles for Hockey players (explanations of WHY? and HOW? to do specific training techniques):

Dynamic Stretching prior to training and games have become very popular as it helps to get the body ready for demands that are about to be placed on it, i.e. running, sprinting, change of direction etc.
Stretching after exercise or a game is very important in recovery and injury prevention.

Fartlek, Tempo Training and Interval Training.
More on each type of these endurance training and also examples of each.

The intermittent nature of hockey makes steady state running a poor form of endurance training as it does not replicate the sport.

Strength training must be sport specific or you will not reap the benefits thereof.

Step by Step directions to develop a sport specific training program.

Yes power is needed in hockey…as mentioned above it will have specific benefits to the sport.

Plyometrics will increase both speed and power in hockey players.

Hockey requires a combination of strength, power and muscular endurance for optimal performance.

Speed, Agility and Quickness plays an integrated part in performance of all hockey players.

Increased Flexibility will decrease chances of injury occurrence.

A Sample Off Season Strength Training Program
OFF Season does not mean doing nothing and is just as vital as IN season training as it helps to maintain previous fitness, strength, speed, agility, quickness - levels obtained

Hope this gives you an idea of the combination of various training techniques that is needed for optimal performance in Hockey.  In due time each of the above can be covered more in depth depending on what YOU are interested in…



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Spencer M, Lawrence S, Rechichi C, Bishop D, Dawson B, Goodman C. Time-motion analysis of elite field hockey, with special reference to repeated-sprint activity. J Sports Sci. 2004 Sep;22(9):843-50.

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