Hockey Training Starts, Before You Play the Game
Players that love the sport know that it took patience, training and effort to not only learn how to play the sport, but to play it well. Seasoned athletes will tell you that you must put in your best effort, and have a love for the sport, because it will take a lot out of you. Some of these players have been playing the sport all of their lives, while others may have only gotten into it through school or through friends. Professional players always have training and training camps that they go to before the season starts. This gets them warmed up, back in shape and ready to play their best. Overall training is like that, but there are specific times that players want to get into their training before the matches actually begin.
Each category below is different and will not only share with you specifics about training, but they work for all categories. If you are a parent encouraging your child to play the sport, all of these categories will apply. However, if they are part of an organized league or team, there will be limits on when they should and should not train. This is to prevent injury mostly, but it is also there to prevent the player from repeatedly making the same mistake, and making it into a habit. Training camps that professionals go to are there with guides and coaches to ensure that players are working on the right skills and not doing things wrong.
Age Specific Training
At what age should my child play Hockey? I’ve had parents ask me that, and I respond back with three questions of my own. Does your child like Hockey? Can your child skate? Is he/she coordinated enough to hold a stick and skate at the same time? If they can answer yes to all three questions than I tell them right now. Coaching children can be fun, but if the child shows no interest in the sport after a few sessions, then they are never going to enjoy it.
I’ve coached eight-year old’s that can outskate kids twice their age and twice their size. Some people have what it takes, and others just play for fun. Even a grown man can learn to play the sport if they practice and show enough interest in it.
Once you are sure they have the drive, find a league for them to play in. There they will get training that is better suited for their age group, placing them with their peers so that they are all roughly the same size. Depending on the size of the team, a younger team might have more coaches, generally volunteer parents in the community. As the child grows up and reaches junior high and high school, the coaches will become fewer and the practice sessions more intense.
Time of the Year
Depending on where you live will determine how often you play the game, and where. Some places only play ice Hockey and they must wait for a body of water to freeze over so they can play. Not every place has ice skating rinks that convert to the sport on the weekends. (We do in California though!) Some places have warmer climates and will never see anything freeze over. They have three options for playing and training for the sport. Drive farther away. Go to an inside skating rink. Or go play inline hockey instead. Also, known as street hockey, this version uses lighter pads, and roller blades instead of ice skates.
A player who has only played street hockey and tries ice hockey will notice the difference right away. The opposite is also true; however, the difference is in reverse. Primarily the amount of padding needed is different, since the ice is cold and the padding helps keep the players warm. With street hockey that extra weight and padding is not needed to keep a player warm. It is a lot slower than ice hockey and there are more obstacles that can trip you with inline skates versus ice skates. The point is, that a street hockey player can play all year except for when it rains. (You can play in the rain, with special wheels!)
This allows players to participate in both ice and street hockey all year round if they want to.
Daily, Weekly, Monthly
Some people like to train every day, while others will only train several times a week. Still others will train for a month and then participate in matches or league games. In between those games will be practices so the team can work together. So, which is the best? It depends on your preferences really.
A daily trainer might work on different skill set each day, being sure to practice that same skill set throughout the day until they reach the goal they are looking for. The next day they might work on a different skill set. A daily trainer might not work every day, but rather every other day so that their body has the time to rest that they need.
A weekly trainer will work hard throughout the week, for at least five days and take the weekend off. Some hardcore trainers will work each day doing different exercises to get to where they want to be. They may only train like this until the games start, and sometimes only for a couple of weeks before hand.
The monthly trainers are the professionals. These are the players you watch on T.V. that go to training camp a month to two months before the season starts. There they are met with personal trainers, coaches and teams of people that will push them to their limits. It is a lot of hard work that pays off in the end.