How are you feeling today?
This is a question that comes up often in hockey dressing rooms all over the world. Every day, probably. Why? Because coaches know the best performances come from hockey players who are feelin’ it. The energy of a team that’s buzzing is a huge contrast to the output of a team that’s flat. You can usually tell in the first few minutes of practice whether your team has it or doesn’t. There’s a huge range of reasons why your team might not have the energy it needs, not the least of which is how they recovered from the previous ice session. Sure, we’d all like to blame low energy on bad habits – poor nutrition, lack of sleep, or distraction, but the reality is that hockey is a physically demanding game and it’s important to come down from competition just like it’s important to get up for a game.
But the recovery is usually the first thing to go. Often recovery is the last thing athletes want to do after a performance. Once the emotion of a game is finished, the muscles start to relax and we just want to sit still and chill in our gear for hours.
But for Oliver Finlay, the advantages of a proper recovery for hockey players are well worth the added exertion.
“So how do you individualize recovery strategies?”
That’s Oli Finlay from our 2017 coaches’ conference in the snippet below. According to Finlay, not all recovery strategies are born equal – what works for one athlete might not work for another. Think about it; hockey players need different recovery techniques than tennis players, soccer players, and so on. And Oli Finlay is here to tell us that it doesn’t stop there. Hockey players sitting beside each other in the dressing room might differ in their recovery needs once they step off the ice, and this fact is true whether they’re 8 years old or 28.
And for Finlay, the best way to get your players recovered and ready for the next game? Appeal to their natural competitive instincts.
That’s right – keep score.
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