Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Off Ice Pre Game Preparation - What To Do?

By Lorne Goldenberg BPE, CSCS, CEP – Athletic Conditioning Center
This article is the complete article with warm-up prescriptions as outlined in November 2011 issue of Center Ice Magazine......

Have you ever stepped on the ice in the first period and found you had a hard time finding your legs until your 3rd or 4th shift?  At the NHL level, there is no excuse for not being prepared the moment you step on the ice.  The difference between minor hockey and the NHL is that the pros don’t have to worry about homework, getting the right nutrition, or having the appropriate equipment to get themselves ready before the big game.  Although stress from school can be a factor, and not eating right can be a huge factor, this article is going to focus on the physical part of pre game preparation.

The routine that many kids follow is to arrive at the rink 20-30 minutes before the game, stretch for a few minutes, dress, and hop on the ice for what may only be 2-3 minute skate before the drop of the puck.  From a physiological viewpoint this is not nearly enough to properly prepare the body for the quick starts, stops, acceleration, body contact, and skating at maximum speed.  These movements that are so important to success on the ice MUST be worked on off the ice if you want to be really ready to play.

The first mistake that most players make is static stretching before they put their gear on.  Now most people think that stretching and holding the stretch for a period of time will loosen you up and get your muscles ready to play.  It actually does the opposite.  Most of the recent research on pre competition stretching demonstrates that there is a loss of anywhere from 4-12% of your power and strength.  Yes that is a correct, stretching will cause a decrease in your power and strength.  In simple terms what the stretching does is kind of like putting your brain to sleep, and dampening the ability of the brain to communicate with the muscle.  So the question is “why would you do something right before a game that might slow you down?”  For most players they just don’t know or were given poor advice by an uninformed trainer.

So what can you do to prepare for a game, when you don’t have a training facility available at every rink you go into?  LOTS!!  You can actually get an NHL style pre-game warmup with little or no equipment that you can do anywhere.  This warmup will take approximately 15-20 minutes to perform, so make sure you get to the rink on time to complete this.

  1. Jog or skip rope for 5 minutes – this provides the body with a good overall warmup raising core temperature.
  2. Walking lunges – 2 lengths down the dressing room corridor- provides dynamic stretch to the hips and knees
  3. Lateral Crossover lunges – 2 lengths down the corridor – provides dynamic stretch to the rotators in the hip
  4. Reverse Hip Extension with Toe Touch Walk – 2 length down corridor – provides dynamic stretch to the hamstrings, glutes and lower back
  5. Power Skipping – 4 lengths down the corridor – provides explosive challenge to the hips and glutes
  6. Short Sprints – 5, 10 yard sprints – provides a speed stimulus to the brain.
  7. Lateral line hops – 2 sets of 20 – place tape on the floor or jump over a hockey bag. Provides explosive stimulus to the body
  8. Tuck Jump – 2 sets of 10- Jump straight up in the air, bring your knees to the chest, explode back off the ground as quick as you can.
  9. Lateral Bounds – 2 sets of 16 foot contacts – This is like skating in place, moving laterally, back and forth as fast as you can.

Number 1-4 should be done consecutively with no rest.  Number 5-9 should have 20-30 seconds rest between each set.

Try this routine before your next game, and you will feel the power when you step on the ice for your first shift.   Play hard from start to finish!!

Line or small box jump

Walking Lunge


Lateral Crossover Lunge 
Tuck Jump