Hockey Nutrition Tips

Helpful Nutrition Tips

Proper nutrition is an area often ignored when it comes to hockey players. However, by eating the right foods, you will have much more energy during games, have a much more positive mental attitude and be able to recover from injuries a lot faster. With all the fad diets out there, it can become confusing on knowing what to eat to fuel our bodies. Here are a few simple nutrition guidelines to follow that can help you be a lot healthier.

Focus on a diet containing healthy foods

Try to include as many as these wonderfully nutritious foods as possible; Fresh fruits and vegetables, Whole Grains (whole wheat pastas, whole wheat breads, brown rice, oatmeal, cereals), lean meats (chicken, fish, lean beef), nuts and seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, soy nuts), legumes (lentils, beans), eggs, milk or soy milk, yogurt, unsaturated fats (olive oil, salmon, peanut butter) and drink plenty of water (8 glasses / day).

Limit the following foods as much as possible

Sugar (candies, high fructose syrups, sodas, desserts, ice cream), caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas), white flower (white bread, pastries), saturated fats (french fries, red meat, butter, doughnuts). Remember that the key is to avoid as many as these foods as possible, and to replace them with healthier more nutritious foods (mentioned above).

Focus on eating a good combination of carbohydrates / proteins / fats

For each meal, try to have a combination of those three. They are all essential to help fuel your body for hockey and to help you function at your best. Carbohydrates (breads, pastas, sports drinks) will give you the energy you need, protein (leans meats, eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, legumes) will help rebuild your muscles and unsaturated fats (salmon, peanut butter, olive / peanut / sunflower oils) will help lower your bad cholesterol and promote better circulation. We recommend consulting a sports nutrition expert to customise an eating plan that best suits your type.

Eat more frequent smaller meals

Eating 3 large meals is not the ideal way to help our bodies function their best. Our digestive systems need just the right amount of foods to be able to function at full capacity. Try to focus on eating 4-6 smaller meals, and don’t eat large amounts between meals. Eating between meals is ok, but focus on smaller snacks (a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, a few nuts or seeds, a banana). You should also avoid eating too much before going to bed. Eating too much before going to bed will have your digestive system working too hard and will take a lot of energy out of you.

Typical Guideline to fuel your body before games or practices

Larger meals should be consumed 3-4 hours before games or practices to insure proper digestion has been done before you get on the ice. If you don’t have time to eat a meal, try having a large snack 1-2 hours before game time. Focus on snacks or meals that have lots of carbohydrates, as they will give you the fuel you need to perform at your best. The key is to make sure you have enough nutrients in your body to perform at your best without getting tired.

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  1. Offseason Nutrition
  2. Proper Nutrition
  3. Energy Drinks

Hockey Squat Workout, Basic Posture Exercises to Improve Your Skating

The Squat

Many youth players are starting to use dryland training exercises at the request of coaches and parents. Many hockey coaches are running these dryland training sessions themselves after looking up exercises on the internet or remembering what they did when they were kids.

One of the most basic but necessary positions for ice hockey players to learn correctly is the isometric squat. The definition of an isometric exercise is one to strengthen specific muscles by pitting one muscle or part of the body against another or against an immovable object in a strong but motionless action. The process of holding the squat position is an isometric exercise. The key for the off-ice training professional is to teach the athlete the correct posture for the isometric squat since it is a position that will be used frequently during the sport of ice hockey.

Hockey Perlvic Tilt

Many hockey players demonstrate less than ideal posture on the ice that leads to premature fatigue and a potential for higher injury susceptibility. Most coaches want their players to bend their knees and get lower to the ice in order to skate and be ready to shoot or pass. A typical mistake that many players make is to get low by flexing their low back instead of their hips, knees and ankles. The athlete should use a forward lean of the trunk but not an exaggerated bend at the waist. The lean should be from flexing the hips, knees and ankles while keeping the spine in a neutral position.

How to find your neutral spine position?

To find the neutral spine position, stand with a slight forward leaning position and tilt your pelvis forward and backwards as far as you can (see picture). Now find the position between the 2 extremes of the pelvis that feels like the most comfortable position that you could hold for an extended period of time with little effort. That efficient position is your neutral spine position. The shoulders should be open and not rounded forward. The athlete should think about keeping the chest big during the squat position. Rounding the shoulders forward is a bad habit that puts the shoulder joint in a position that makes it more susceptible to injury. Body weight should be distributed over the entire foot.

Hockey OH Squate

A common error is to see the athlete driving the weight over the toes and lifting the heels. The athlete needs to have the flexibility and strength to keep the heels planted during the squat. A big disadvantage of having your weight shifted too far forward towards the toes is that it is very difficult to move sideways when your entire foot is not loaded. Being able to move sideways is crucial when cornering on the ice. Try to jump sideways when your weight is shifted forward over your toes and you will see why this is undesirable.

Start with isometric squat holds of 15-20 seconds maintaining ideal squat posture the entire time. Advance to squat repetitions of 10-20 repetitions. This repetition conditioning should form good quality habits that are then replicated on the ice. See the pictures below for a demonstration of ideal squat posture.

Plyometrics Exercises

Plyometrics

Now that you have completed the Warm up exercises it is time for some plyometrics.

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1. Spring Jumps

Stand with feet shoulder width apart with your knees bent. Explode and jump forward as far as you can while still maintaining control. Focus on maintaining proper balance when jumping and landing.


2. Side to Side Jumps

Place an object of 10 inches or so on the ground (you can also tape a line on the ground and pretend there is an object). With your knees bent and upper body looking forward, jump over the object from one side to the other at a fast pace. Focus on bending the knees to maintain balance throughout.


3. Short Sprints

Spread 4 cones (or object) approximately 5 feet from each other. Begin at the first cone. Sprint to the first cone and back to the first one. Repeat with other objects. Focus on quick accelerations in both directions. Great exercise to develop transitional accelerations.


4. 1 Foot Square Hop

Form a + sign on the floor. Standing on one leg, jump to the side, then backwards, back to the side, then forward, always in a square pattern. Focus on strong knee bends to maintain balance and quick jump explosions. Excellent exercise to help increase skating acceleration.


5. Leg Trainer – Skating Continuous

Extend leg at 45 degree angles, simulating skating strides. Swing arms and rotate shoulders. Bend knees to maintain proper balance. This exercise simulates the exact skating strides motion. Excellent exercise to help develop leg endurance and explosion.


6. Five Cone Drill

Form a square with 4 cones (cones spaced 10-20 feet) and add a cone in the middle. With side crossovers, go to one of the back cones and come back with side crossovers to the middle cone. Repeat on other back cone. Then, run to one of the front cones, and run backwards to the middle cone. Repeat on other cone. Make sure to touch every cone and to stay in balanced position.


7. Fast Crossover Shuffle

Start with your feet shoulder width apart, hips and shoulders square (head straight in front). Begin by stepping over and then reaching and stepping behind with the opposite leg. A controlled crossover motion helps build balance and dexterity for quick directional changes.


8. Backward Strides

Start in a balanced position. Drive the heels back 1 leg at a time while maintaining soft shoulders and a good range of motion. Swing arms as you would when skating backwards. Great exercise to increase backward skating speed and increase leg pushing power.


9. Squat Jumps Continuous

In a swinging horizontal motion, bring your left arm over your right shoulder, followed by your right arm over your left shoulder. Focus on keeping your upper body straight and on swinging arms in a synchronised motion.


10. Lateral Skating Jumps

Jump from side to side, while controlling your upper body as you would when skating. Focus on transferring your body weight from one leg to the other. Swing your arms from side to side as you would when skating. Great exercise to develop more powerful skating strides.


11. Side to Side Hop – 1 Foot

Mark a line on the floor. Standing on one leg, jump over the line from side to side as fast as you can. Stay low to maintain proper balance throughout exercise. Land and push off the front part of your foot


12. Step Over Shuffle

Start with legs shoulder width apart, knees bent and shoulders soft. Crossover while exploding with your legs, keeping your upper body straight and looking forward. Great exercise to help develop explosive crossovers and leg endurance.


13. Squat Tuck Jumps

Begin in the squat position, knees bent and your upper body straight. Explode straight up jumping as high as you can with your legs tucked into your chest. Land in the squat position and repeat. Great exercise to help develop explosive leg pushes.


14. Skipping Bounds

Explode in a forward running motion. Try touching your knee to your chest. Hope as high as you can while coordinating your body as you would when skating. Extend your arms fully when jumping.


15. Split Jumps

Explode forward in a hoping lunge motion 1 leg at a time. When landing, slowly touch your knee on the ground. Keep your upper body straight throughout exercise.


16. Legs Conditionning Drill

Spread 5 Cones 10 feet from each other in a straight line. Run to the first cone, touch the ground, and return to starting position. Repeat this time touching the ground on the second cone. 1 rep equalls all 5 cones. Great exercise to help build endurance and stamina.


17. Stutter Steps

With knees bent and back straight, pound on floor as fast as you can while remaining balanced. Excellent exercise to work on hips and hamstrings, as well as calves. This is one of the best exercises to develop leg endurance.


18. 1 Leg Stick Handling Drill

Get into your hockey position. Lift one leg while balancing on the other. Stick handle for 30seconds in a controlled synchronized motion. To increase difficulty level, stick handle and close one eye. Great exercise to develop balance and coordination, while improving your feel for stick handling.

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Warm up exercises

Warm Up

13 Warm up exercises before gaining explosive power.

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1. Arm Swings

In a swinging horizontal motion, bring your left arm over your right shoulder, followed by your right arm over your left shoulder. Focus on keeping your upper body straight and on swinging arms in a synchronised motion.


2. Arm Circles

Begin with very small circles and gradually increase to bigger ones. Repeat in opposite direction (small to big fluid circles). Excellent warm up exercise to loosen up the shoulders.


3. Cross Crawls

Excellent total body workout before training. With your arms stretched up in the air, bring your elbow towards your knee (opposites) and return to starting position. Repeat on other side.


4. Trunk Rotations

Get your core mid section moving to warm up for more explosive movements to come. Swing both arms from side to side extending as far as you can.


5. Walking Lunges

Excellent way to warm up all the muscles in your legs to get ready for training). Step forward with your left leg while trying to touch the ground with your right knee. Repeat on other side.


6. Leg Swings

Standing on one leg, swing leg from front to back. Repeat with same leg from side to side. Lean against wall or partner for proper balance throughout exercise. Excellent hip mobility exercise to get the hips moving before starting resistance training and plyometrics.


7. Skip & Rope

Focus on skipping at a slow or medium pace. Alternate skipping on 2 legs and 1 leg. Stay light on your feet and try jumping off the front part of your foot. Take 30 second breaks between sets.


8. Medicine Ball Toss

Stand about 6 feet from your partner (sideways). Toss the medicine ball to your partner. When catching the ball, extend with the ball opposite side from partner. Great way to loosen up the arms and shoulders while activating the core area. Great exercise to prepare the body for strength training.


9. Trunk Twists

With your right hand, come down to your left leg and touch your foot. Repeat on other side. Maintain proper form without going to fast. Great exercise to loosen up your lower back.


10. Prisoner Squats

Take both hand and put them behind your head. Squat down with both legs keeping your back straight. Excellent way to warm up the quads before moving on to strength conditioning.


11. Jumping Knee Raises

Stand with legs shoulder width appart. Jump up while bringing 1 knee up. Repeat with other leg. Focus on pushing off the ground and keeping upper body straight throughout exercise.


12. Jumping Ankle Taps

Standing with feet together, jump one foot at a time and bring your ankle backwards towards your back. Extend your ankle as far back as you can. Push and land off the front part of your foot. Focus on going in a synchronised controlled motion.


13. Light Jog

Light jog at a medium pace (50-60 percent of maximum effort). If you don’t have an area to run, run in a stationary position. Focus on jogging off the front part of your feet. Good exercise to help with your cardio vascular endurance.

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