Let’s face it: as hockey players age, even if you’re relatively fit, it takes a little more effort to get the batteries recharged and shake off the rust after a lengthy time away from the rink.
Whether you’ve been out of action for a few months over the summer, or even longer, getting back into “hockey shape” can be easier said than done. Practicing basic hockey skills is just one part of the equation. For adult skaters, doing some preseason training to ramp up physically before jumping into game mode is extremely important. It could be the difference between a fun, successful return to the ice, or spending time on the bench out of breath, or worse, injured.
Brian Galivan has worked with players of all ages and is currently director of performance and sport science for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in Plymouth, Michigan.
“You need to get back in shape before playing hockey,” he said. “If you sit at a desk every day then go play hockey once a week, you’ll probably get hurt if you don’t do anything else. You don’t want to go to work the next day with a limp.”
Galivan urges players to check out USA Hockey’s Training at Home resource, and he offers the following tips for adult players getting back into game shape:
Galivan recommends sticking to a sensible workout progression and going slow, especially when you’re just returning to more intense physical activity.
“Hockey is a challenging sport to train for because you need to be anaerobically and aerobically in shape,” Galivan said. “And you get out what you put in. One proven thing that works is to move. Move, walk, run. Just remember, you’re trying to play to have fun, so train to be healthy.”