There’s a reason that the NHL doesn’t play all summer long. This is true for all leagues and players alike, regardless of ability. When the season is over, it’s time to get away from the rink for a while. Which is not to say that you want to turn into a couch potato over the summer! What seems to work best is to divide the summer into two stages: active rest, followed by conditioning & skills work. The first stage, “active rest”, involves doing enjoyable, low-to-moderate intensity activity three times per week. Active regeneration activities like swimming, cycling, volleyball, hiking, Frisbee, and similar kinds of activities are recommended.
The focus should be on play, cooperation, and fun. The goal is to keep lightly active while your body and mind rest and recover from the stresses of the season.
SUMMER ACTIVITIES: VARIETY IS GOOD!
After your period of active rest, it's time to get going again. The secret is to get involved in a wide variety of activities. In hockey, we tend to use certain muscle groups more than others. Over time, this can cause an imbalance that actually limits the player’s potential. Branching out into other activities during the summer can help rebalance a player’s body and benefit the player in the long run. Another reason to do a lot of non-hockey activities over the summer is to provide a different training stimulus. That’s why expert trainers will change the athlete’s weight workout periodically; they know that a new training stimulus is needed to keep the athlete’s development going.
So even if you’re doing a summer hockey camp like Total Package, summer is the time to go out and have fun with some cross-training. Sports that involve foot speed and have an aerobic element, like basketball and soccer, are ideal. In fact, you’ll get benefits from any sport that involves one or more of:
· cardiovascular challenge
· quick movements and changes of direction
Another thing to look at over the summer is hockey-specific conditioning and skills training. This doesn't mean game play! This means something like a power skating camp, where the major focus is on conditioning and skills, with maybe a scrimmage or two thrown in. This kind of skills work helps to fine tune the player's biomechanics for the upcoming season.
A CHANGE WILL BENEFIT YOUR MIND, TOO
It isn’t just your body that needs a change. Your mind needs a change too. After grinding out a tough winter schedule, you might not be as keen to get to the rink as you were at the start of the year. Spending the summer away from game play can help bring back that intensity. Do other activities, work on skills, stay fit. Then when fall rolls around, you’ll be keen to get back to the games.
To summarize, your summer should involve a variety of activities, with an emphasis on
fun, conditioning, and skills. Enjoy!