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5 Tips for Maximum On-Ice Performance

By Mike Pickles on June 21, 2018


Every hockey parent wants their son or daughter to be successful on the ice and there are so many factors involved that will determine how their future will play out. I know there’s so much information out there now that  it can quite overwhelming, which can leave parents feeling like the only option is that more is better. And when I mean more is better, I mean more and more parents are keeping their kids on the ice all year long with no break. 

Let me tell you this, if you’re that parent just wait until your kid is burnt out, injury ridden or flat out starts to hate hockey, because it’s too much and quite frankly just isn’t fun anymore. Their chances of quitting are 1 in 5 and sadly I see it every single year. Don’t be that parent. Listen, I understand how parents feel, they just don’t know what the right path is for their kids so they think more is better because that’s what everyone else is doing. 

Is more ice time really making your kid better, really? How do you know? Think about this for a moment, how about quality? How about the quality of what your kid is doing be the focus for everything they do to improve every year? I’m talking about doing all the little important things off the ice that will greatly enhance a young hockey player’s physical and mental longevity. 

Here are my top 5 tips that will help increase your player’s hockey IQ, physical performance, mental focus, and allow them to enjoy the social benefits while learning life-skills and staying injury free.

  1. Get your player to start writing down their top 3 goals and have them make a step by step action plan to accomplish them. Not only will it help increase their awareness for what’s required of the game at an intellectual level, but it will dramatically increase their confidence by being competent, which as an end result will increase their overall performance.
  2. Take the skates off for three months and start a physical strength training program. I’m not even kidding. I had a player who increased their long jump by over 12 inches and their vertical jump by over 10 inches. So what does that mean? It means his strength and power development was off the charts. He went from playing house hockey at the age of 15 to making a Junior A team in only one year. Get off the ice and start strength training in the off-season, trust me.
  3. Parents buy the groceries and cook the food, so when they ask me to talk to their kid about eating properly the first person I look at is the THEM. When I ask players what they had for lunch and they say my mom gave me twenty bucks for lunch because there’s no food in the house, that’s a problem. Parents need to take the time to prepare proper nutrition for their players or they risk not recovering properly and underperforming because they don’t have the required energy and are mentally and physically exhausted.
  4. I can’t tell parents and players enough how important it is to adopt a daily flexibility and mobility routine to help increase the integrity of their joints. Truth be told, I know players can’t stand stretching simply because it’s boring. Remember the ‘reasons’ I mentioned earlier? The reason players should stretch is so they can reduce the chance of injury and perform better on the ice, especially when it comes to increasing their first step quickness. 
  5. And last but not least, I can guarantee if you want to see your player inspired and motivated I’d suggest they watch YouTube highlight videos of some of the best hockey players who’ve ever played the game. I recommend anything about Bobby Orr. I am a bit biased since I was born and raised in the same home town, but let me tell you this… watching him skate left me awe!

Putting in the time matters, but never mistake quantity for quality. Focus on these tips to help ensure your young player has a great summer and and keeps improving next season.

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By Mike Pickles| June 21, 2018
Categories:  Performance
Keywords:  Skill Development

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