We all know the importance of setting goals and creating a plan for our off-season training. We know we need to stickhandle deliberately in the garage or shoot pucks at the local rink with our buddies. We know it! But summer came and went with little progress. Instead of stickhandling in the garage for just 15 minutes, the majority of us headed off to another weekend tourney. Did I mention the hockey at this tournament was essentially glorified pond-hockey?
Every hockey player knows the importance of speed. They see it on the ice every day. The fastest skaters are often the best players. Speed is necessary to play at the elite level. It is the best correlate to on-ice performance that we currently measure on a regular basis. Yet, how many of us ran sprints at the local track (just as Jack Blatherwick has advised time and time again in Let’s Play Hockey)? How many worked on increasing their vertical jump? How many focused on their edge work and stride mechanics? There were so many distractions. Most of us just didn’t have the time.
We have all heard about the benefits of being a multi-sport athlete and taking time AWAY from hockey to recover physically and mentally. The best hockey players, including professional hockey players, take time off so that they can improve. Year-round specialization increases the risk of injury! We all know this and when folks preach it, we all nod in agreement. But then our 13-year-old gets “invited” to be the practice player on an “elite” team in the spring. How does one pass up the opportunity!?
Now, distractions are plentiful and real. But you can say “no”. And in today’s world, if you want to become the best of which you are capable, you’ll have to at times just say “NO!”