Next week I am doing fitness testing with over 90+ elite girls hockey players at a huge tournament in Toronto. The word ‘testing’ makes a lot of girls hockey players nervous. I remember how I used to feel before doing the fitness testing for our women’s college hockey team at the start of the season. It didn’t matter how many times I had done the tests before or how well I had prepared over the summer, I always had butterflies in my stomach. Fitness testing can be a confusing and controversial topic so today I am going to walk through the basics of testing for girls hockey players.
‘Why’ to Test: Establish your Starting Point
The primary reason for doing fitness testing for girls hockey players is to get an idea of where they are starting from so that you develop a plan that will allow them to improve. In order to paint a more complete picture of the total athlete, have them participate in fitness testing that assesses their skills and abilities on a more general level, away from their sport.
The primary purpose of fitness testing is NOT to get numbers that allow you to rank athletes from top to bottom. The primary reason for testing players is to get results that you can use to develop training programs properly. If all of your athletes have poor flexibility, you will want to address this on the team level and build it into your athlete development plan. If a particular player struggles on the agility test, you can start them on a program that will increase their strength and speed.
‘What’ to Test: Getting the Results you Want
All hockey players must possess speed, strength, stability and smarts. There are a great number of different fitness tests that you could use to assess these qualities. Some will give you very detailed numbers, but require sophisticated equipment and complicated statistical analysis. Others are easy to use, but aren’t specifically designed to evaluate the most important factors of on-ice success.
You need to use tests that:
– Can be easily understood by coaches, parents and players
– Can be performed anytime and anywhere without any sophisticated equipment or complicated post-test analysis
– Evaluate players on 4 athletic abilities that are critical to their success in hockey: upper body strength, lower body power, agility and anaerobic conditioning.
Fitness testing shouldn’t be scary. It should evaluate players on the critical components of athleticism they need to excel on and off the ice. Remember – to get where you want to go, you need to know where you are starting from.
Work Hard. Dream BIG.
~ Coach Kim
To get started with a fitness testing program that will allow you to know exactly how you stack up against some of the best women’s hockey players in the world, CLICK HERE.