Girls hockey players who aspire to play at the highest level either “get it” or they don’t. You have to put in the hard work off the ice in the off-season or else you will be left behind. While more girls hockey players are training than ever before, many of them will not get the pay-off they deserve when they hit the ice in the fall because of self-sabotage. So here are the 9 most common ways players sabotage their summer training. Make sure to avoid these if you want to be at your best in September and all season long.
9 Ways To Sabotage Your Summer Training:
1. Not Setting Goals:
The majority of players do not set specific goals when it comes to their off-ice training. Saying that you are going to “work hard” and “push yourself” is fine, but what exactly do you want to achieve between now and training camp? Do you want your shot to be harder in the fall? Then you had better be working on your upper body and core strength, in addition to practicing your shot. What are you going to do today, this week and in the next 8 weeks to move you closer to your hockey dreams?
2. Missing Workouts:
You do not need to be working out every single day this summer in order to get faster, stronger and fitter. But many players make the mistake of thinking that playing another sport in the summer, such as soccer or lacrosse, is a substitute for proper off-ice training. It is not. Playing another sport is cross-training and will help to increase your overall athleticism, but it won’t address your specific strength, speed, quickness and fitness needs as a hockey player. Great athletes are made away from the playing field or rink – they are made while training. You may be playing another sport 4 or 5 days a week this summer, which is great, but you still need to fit in at least 2 or 3 off-ice training workouts if you really want to dominate on the ice in the fall.
3. Not Eating Well:
A good friend of mine always says, “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” And he is 100% right. If you are doing all the right things in your off-ice training, but eating all of the wrong things the rest of the time, you will not be rewarded for all your hard work. This is not about losing weight or packing on muscle, this is about fueling your body so that you can perform your best. We all know that eating a whole pizza one hour before training is a bad idea, but eating that same pizza after a hard workout isn’t much better. The general rule of thumb is to eat for what you are doing next. If you have a hard workout in 3 hours, make sure to eat a balanced meal that will give you enough energy to excel. If it’s 9 o’clock at night and what you are doing next is going to sleep, you won’t be using up the energy you take in from that large pizza. Performance nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated, but you do need to have a plan.
4. Not Addressing Injuries:
Hopefully by this point in the off-season you have taken the time to get any nagging injuries checked out by a health-care professional and have put a plan in place to get back to 100%. If not, all of the hard work you do off the ice will only result in you building upon a shaky foundation. A weak knee or chronically sore low back will only taken so much intense training before they give out. You are much better off taking the time to rehab properly and get everything back to 100% instead of trying to fight against soreness, tightness and pain all summer.
5. Not Taking Time Off:
This might sound a little strange given the point about missing workouts, but at the other extreme from players who decide to slack-off are the ones who never take a day off. I was one of those players and I really felt as though I was gaining a huge mental and physical edge by training every single day. But nagging soreness turned into minor injuries which turned into chronic pain and an entire career filled with frustration. You get better when you rest – your body needs to recuperate and recover better workouts so that you can improve upon your past performances. I typically recommend at least two days off per week during summer training, but it really depends on the intensity. Some weeks we only train 3 days and others we train six days in a row. Listen to your body and if you feel like you got run over by the Zamboni when you get up in the morning, take the day off.
6. Not Stretching Enough:
Let’s be honest. Very few of athletes stretch enough – and girls hockey players are no exception. The last 10 minutes of every workout in the Complete Training System are for stretching – but I know from personal experience that the last part of the workout is always the part that gets short-changed. Even if you aren’t stretching immediately after each workout, you need to stretch for at least 10 minutes each night. It will make a massive difference in how you feel and perform even if you just stretch our 4 muscle groups: groin, glutes, quads and hip flexors. Add in your hamstrings and lower back and you’ll have done enough stretching to help prevent 95% of all injuries that plague girls hockey players.
7. Not Drinking Enough:
Most people, athletes, players are chronically dehydrated. We don’t drink enough water on a consistent basis and then we wonder why we get cramps when we chug an entire bottle right before training. You should carry a full water bottle with you at all times. Drink from it all day long. Don’t wait until you are thirsty – once you are thirsty, you are dehydrated and your performance will decrease by a minimum 5-10%. Making sure that you are hydrated is one of the simplest things you can do to ensure that you get the most out of your summer training. Make your goal to drink one more bottle of water every day this week and see how much better you feel.
8. Not Pushing Yourself:
When you train on your own, it’s easy to tell yourself that you are working hard because there is no one else there to judge your intensity. Some players have the motivation and work ethic to really push themselves when training on their own, while others need to have a workout partner or two there to really get the most out of the training session. Even if you prefer training on your own, bringing one of your more competitive teammates or friends out to train with you is a great way to increase motivation and intensity. Adding a little bit of healthy competition into the workout will make both of you better.
9. Engaging in Negative Self Talk:
This is by far the #1 way to sabotage your training and your performance on and off the ice. Telling yourself that, “I suck at running”, “I can’t do push-ups”, or “I’ll never be able to do a chin-up” are all examples of negative self-talk that my athletes tell me on a regular basis. Maybe you do “suck” at running right now, you’re not even close to doing a full chin-up and your push-up form is miserable. Telling yourself that you can’t do it is not going to make it any easier for you to get better. In fact, all you are doing is giving yourself a way out. If you truly believe that you suck at running, you won’t have the motivation to get better. You can practice proper push-ups and chin-ups until you are blue in the face, but if you don’t believe that you are going to improve, you will never achieve your full potential. Constantly striving to be your best and staying positive no matter what happens is the mark of a true champion.
So there you have it – the 9 most common ways players sabotage their summer training.
Are you guilty?
With 9 weeks left in the summer, there is still plenty of time to turn your training around and get in the best shape ever in time for September.
Click here to get started with the Total Female Hockey Complete Training System today – just make sure you don’t sabotage all of your hard work.
Work Hard. Dream BIG.
~ Coach Kim