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Other Hockey Tips

Other Hockey Tips

Here are a few HockeyShot Tips to improve your hockey skills!

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1. Checking


Download USA Hockey Magazine Checking Article (150 kb)


2. 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.

  Download USA Hockey Magazine Nutrition Articles (150 kb each)

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

3. Hockey Recovery Tips

Hockey is an intense fast paced game that can leave you exhausted, tired and make your muscles feel soar the next day. Most players spend 3-5 days per week on the ice so knowing how to recover faster is very important if you want to avoid running out of energy or getting ill from exhaustion. By applying a few tips, you can recover your muscles a lot quicker and more efficiently. Here is a list of things you can do to help give your body what it needs to recover faster from strenuous hockey workouts.

Drink lots of water or sports drinks during practices or games

Not getting enough fluids in your body during games or practices will accelerate your overall fatigue and heat stress. As your body temperature increases, performance decreases, fatigue increases and you can become ill. Insufficient hydration can lead to these much faster. The best way to stay hydrated and fuelled for hockey workouts is to drink water or sports drinks during workouts (we recommend a high quality sports drink as it also contains carbohydrates, proteins and electrolytes, which will give you more energy than simply consuming water). You should consume 4 to 8 ounces of water or sports drinks every 10-15 minutes. (Avoid sports drink with too much sugar).

Assure to give you body the rest it needs

Nutrition and proper hydration alone are not enough to assure your body to fully recover from strenuous hockey workouts. Rest and sleep are also very important. To assure your body has the necessary rest it needs, you should aim at having at least 8-10 hours of quality sleep every night (especially the night before your hockey games or practices). If your body doesn’t get the sleep it needs, your body will become tired a lot quicker and your performance will suffer from it. You should also try to go to bed no later than 10 O’Clock, as the best sleep quality occurs between 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. Also, try to have a few days a week with very little or no exercise to give your body rest to recover faster.

Work on your endurance and stamina

If you lack endurance and stamina, your body will use a lot more energy and become exhausted a lot quicker. For this reason, it is very important that one of your main goals as a player be to become fit and in shape. There are a few ways to do this; 1- Work on conditioning during practices. 2- Undertake cardio-vascular exercises away from the ice (in-line skating, jogging, and biking). Remember however not to over do any exercise you undertake as too much exercise will deplete your body more than it will do you good.

Treat injuries and take time off from hockey if needed

Hockey is a fast paced game with fast intense movements and with contact involved, many injuries can occur. The most typical injuries suffered from hockey players are muscle strains, back ligament sprains, groin strains, hip injuries, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, wrist injuries, hand and finger injuries, head and neck injuries, concussions, contusions and dental injuries. If you suffer from one of those types of injuries, consult a medical professional and follow his recommendations to treat and heal your injury. Many players donÂ’t take the necessary time off to let the injury heal and they end up aggravating the injury. Give your body the time, rest and nutrition it needs to heal.

Here is a simple guideline to follow if you suffer a bruise or strain during a game.

Rest (For most injuries, rest the area until the pain decreases.

For simple sore muscles, however, gentle stretching will reduce stiffness more quickly. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds, then rest and repeat five to 10 times) – Ice (Ice is the most effective treatment for reducing inflammation, pain and swelling of injured muscles, joints and connective tissues—such as tendons, ligaments, and bruises. Apply ice for 20 minutes every two to three hours while awake. For best results, place crushed ice in a plastic bag and wrap with a moist towel) – Compression (Between icings, wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage to help control swelling and provide support. DonÂ’t wrap to tightly!) – Elevation (Raising the injured area above your heart will allow gravity to help reduce swelling by draining excess fluid).


4. Hockey Performance Tips

Hockey is not only demanding physically, but also mentally. Also the mental area of hockey is often ignored, it can make the difference between a good player, and a great one. Here is a list of mental characteristics associated with excellence and top performance. Apply them and you will greatly accelerate your development and performance level as a player.To be in top mental health, remember to eat as many nutritious foods as you can and try getting good quality sleep every night. You will not be in good mental health by eating a poor diet and getting little sleep.

Goal Setting

Setting goals will give you a sense of direction and purpose in what you are trying to attain. Are you trying to make the provincial team, get a hockey scholarship, develop a better shot? Once you have established your goals, work and focus your energy on trying to attain them. Make sure your goals are realistic and remember to not be to hard on yourself if you donÂ’t attain them right away.

Mental Rehearsal (visualisation)

Visualisation is the ability to create a mental model of an event or situation. It is a natural common behaviour and can greatly help you achieve your goals and perform better as a player. For example, if you are trying to develop a stronger slap shot and are having trouble, try visualising yourself executing a good one. By mentally rehearsing yourself achieving what you are striving for, you will increase your chances into developing the desired skill a lot faster. Visualisation will also make you perform a lot better in pressure situations.

Relaxation

To perform at your best, you must be able to relax, especially when your body becomes stressed. To increase your relaxation response, try meditation or deep breathing (deep breath from your abdomen). For simple meditation, find a comfortable quiet area in your house (your room, living room), and try focussing on your breath while letting your thoughts come and go. The key is to become in a very relaxed state without trying to control thoughts. Let go and try relaxing as much as you can. DonÂ’t get discourage if you have trouble attaining relaxation. Meditation takes time to develop. As you become better at it, increase your meditation sessions. You may also want to use relaxation music to help get you in the zone. You may also want to try yoga, tai chi, or other forms of relaxation exercises.

Concentration and Focus

Concentration can be defined as the ability to focus your attention on a selected target or purpose. In hockey, being able to concentrate if essential to becoming a great player. An example of concentration in hockey would be trying to find an area to shoot at to score a goal, or it might be looking for a teammate to pass while being scanned by opposing players. The key is to be able to concentrate on a desired area, without letting other distractions get to you. Improving concentration can be achieved by working on being able to zone your focus on the task at hand. Another trick to increase concentration is to not to overthink or let distractions get to you. During games, focus one shift at a time. Try to refocus your energy when you get distracted and frustrated during a game because you missed a scoring chance, or during a questionable call by an official.

Positive mental attitude and belief

Believing in yourself and being positive can be developed and trained over time. By continually giving yourself positive feedback, you will greatly increase self-confidence and self-esteem. Try replacing negative self-talk patterns by more positive ones (For example, instead of saying “I couldn’t score a goal on this goaltender if my life depended on it” say “I will find a way to score”. Try using positive confident goal oriented statements such as “I will, I can, I am going to”. Also, when visualising, try seeing yourself performing the way you want to (confident, energised, and fully focussed).

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