young hockey players, college age or
younger, distance running is a waste of
time and energy. Gain endurance through
a well-planned program of intervals.
Training is specific, meaning that if
your training is slow paced, you will be
better able to perform at slow pace. If
you want speed, you have to train
mean that endurance should not be a part
of your training program? Not at
all. Endurance is certainly a major
factor in longer hockey games and
practices, but endurance can be acquired
in a way that also improves speed,
explosiveness, and other hockey
have known for years that hockey is a
game of intervals. Players
compete for about 40-50 seconds, then
rest on the bench two to three times
that long. High-speed film and
computer analysis have shown that
throughout a typical shift a player is
constantly accelerating and decelerating
for only about 2-3 seconds each.
Normally, the short bursts of
acceleration are accompanied by a quick
change of direction.
take rocket scientists to come up with
these conclusions. Seventy years
ago we didn't have rocket science,
high-speed film, or even computer
analysis. But, imagine if we had
asked a coach, "What does it mean to be
in shape for hockey?"
The wise old
coach might have said, "A hockey player
is in shape when he can skate, shoot,
pass, check, and compete for pucks at
high speed, shift after shift, for an
entire game. You're in shape if
fatigue doesn't diminish your play in a
No one would
have used the word "aerobic," or
suggested a hockey player needs to run 5
miles in a certain time. Hockey
doesn't require the ability to run,
skate, or bike at a jogging pace.
Hockey requires speed. In a game
or practice if a player skates around
the ice at slow speeds learned from
distance training, he'll lose his job in
important to understand that planning a
training program for hockey is not the
same as planning a conditioning program
for middle-aged Americans. In the
past fifty years, medical science has
learned that aerobic distance training
is part of a healthy lifestyle for
adults, but this has often been
extrapolated to include young athletes.
There is no question kids need to be
active, but for hockey, the activity
should not be of the same type as is
recommended for adults.
school and college coaches test the
conditioning level of their athletes by
having them run long distances.
Actually, the ones who need to run long
distances are the coaches holding the
athletes should focus on other
attributes like speed, power, agility,
coordination, strength, and hockey
skills. Endurance can be acquired
by training for these qualities.
In fact, scientific studies have shown
that intense interval training can lead
to greater endurance gains than long,
slow distance work. On the other
hand, long distance (aerobic) training
does nothing to improve speed, strength,
If a hockey
player is slow or lacks skill, he or she
can't play college hockey. Since
speed and skills are acquired at a young
age, it follows the top priorities in
your training should be skating,
sprinting, jumping, weight training, and
skills like shooting and stick-handling.
might even be counterproductive for an
athlete whose sport requires speed and
explosiveness. The neuromuscular
patterns (habits) of quick feet are
trainable, but so are the habits of
folks have taken up in-line roller
skating as an aerobic activity.
However, young hockey players should
never do this type of training over long
distances. Instead, in-line training
should be done with the same interval
guidelines as ice skating. Keep
the work intervals short enough to avoid
fatigue and the rest intervals long
enough to allow recovery.
Otherwise, without rest, after 30 or 40
seconds, the muscles are too fatigued to
skate with good technique, and you are
practicing slow feet, inadequate knee
bend, poor extension, and excessive use
of the arms and shoulders.
young enough to improve quickness and
skill, that's the time to do it.
Established, older professionals need
plenty of aerobic training in the
off-season, both for recovery from the
season, and to maintain fitness.
However, for athletes under 16 years
old, spend your time and energy on
quickness, agility and skill. At
high school age, when you start lifting
weights, make sure much of your effort
leads to speed and leg power designed
specifically for skating.
endurance through a well-planned program
of intervals. Training is
specific, meaning that if your training
is slow paced, you will be better able
to perform at slow pace. If you
want speed, you have to train