Hockey Summer Training
Updated: Jul 23, 2019
There comes an age where summers transition for every young hockey player. Before, they spent their summers playing other sports, playing street hockey with friends, or just being kids. I would spend my summer swimming in our pool or playing street hockey where I would line up between an imaginary Steve Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov. But at some point, the level of competition becomes high enough that hockey players are expected to do summer training.
This is where hockey players are introduced to trainers and skating instructors. It comes at all different ages for hockey players, usually depending on the amount of time and money parents can afford to spend on their child's hockey career. I started working with a personal trainer at 13; My dad used to drive me to workouts with a personal trainer every tuesday and thursday. I would work out more to learn how to lift properly, and to get hockey specific training. This proved tremendously valuable not only in my hockey career, but in my football, baseball and wrestling careers. Learning how to lift, stretch, and warm-up properly I believed helped me stay healthy whilst playing those sports.
At a certain level of competition teams start to provide players with summer workouts they design. I have experienced this in college and with some junior teams, but not all. These workouts are usually the same for the entire team, and are closely associated with the exercises the teams will test you on during training camp at the beginning of the year. These tests are created so coaches can determine if you worked out enough during the summer or if you are in good enough shape for the season. Some players can set themselves apart during these trainings by how they test. They can set themselves apart by testing great or they can make the coach's decision easier by testing bad.
In my experience during these summer workouts you get different types of players. You get the players that have been working out with the same trainer for 10 years, and they are jacked. These players usually opt out of doing the team summer workouts and they continue to workout with their trainers.
Then there is another type of player, that is the gym nut. He works out all the time and loves to bench and squat. This guy is also usually jacked, will continue to do his own thing during the summer and will opt of the summer training. These guys usually test well but aren't always the best players. It really depends on the player's skills, their athleticism is never questioned but their hockey skills sometime don't match their biceps.
The rest of the hockey guys are split into two groups; you have the guys who just don't train during the summer. They only want to be on the ice, and do not want to be in the gym. These guys usually have really good skills, but really bad bods. The saying "body like a bag of milk" is used to describe these guys. They don't test great, but are sometimes skilled enough the coach turns a blind eye towards their scores.
The other group are guys that for some reason or another are in the middle. They don't have a personal trainer because they can't afford it or they don't have the time to. They don't not work out, but split their time doing many things. These guys usually do the summer team workouts, maybe half ass, but they still do them. They don't know any better workout and want to make sure to impress the coaches when testing time comes around. They skate and spend some time with skating instructors, but can't commit their summers to fully training. Their test score usually do vary, as well as their skill levels; it really depends on the player.
The point of all this is to raise the question what is the best path for summer training. Every guy described in this article wants to be prepared for the season as best as they can be. They want to compete at their highest level possible. Do the team workouts really prepare you for the season, or are they just training you for the physical fitness tests in training camp?
Message me about your summer training sessions. What works best for you, what works best for your teammates? What are some of the crazy summer workout routines you have seen? I would suggest if you are a hockey player reading this, get a group of buddies together and organize group training sessions. This is a great way to make working out fun, and affordable.
A special thanks to my friend Matt Grecky who is training to become a physical trainer. He gave me some valuable advice on my current team training program, and also encouraged me to write this article. He has experienced similar things playing collegiate and now professional Rugby.