Pickles: 5 Tips to Maximize On Ice Performance

on ice performance Mike Pickles Ice Hockey Coach Tips and Drills

Featured Image credit: Bob Frid, UBC Men’s Hockey

Every hockey parent wants their son or daughter to be successful on the ice and there are so many factors involved that will determine how their future will play out. I know there’s so much information out there now that it can quite overwhelming, which can leave parents feeling like the only option is more is better. And when I mean more is better, I mean more and more parents are keeping their kids on the ice all year long with no break.

Let me tell you this, if you’re that parent just wait until your kid is burnt out, injury ridden, or flat out starts to hate hockey because it’s too much and quite frankly just isn’t fun anymore. Their chances of quitting are 1 in 5 and sadly I see it every single year. Don’t be that parent. Listen, I understand how parents feel – they just don’t know what the right path is for their kids so they think more is better because that’s what everyone else is doing.

Is more ice time really making your kid better, really? How do you know? How about focusing on the quality of what your kid is doing to improve every year? I’m talking about doing all the little important things off the ice that will greatly enhance a young hockey player’s physical and mental longevity.

Here are my top 5 tips that will help increase your player’s hockey IQ, physical performance, mental focus, and allow them to enjoy the social benefits of sport while learning life-skills and staying injury free.

  1. Get your player to start writing down their top 3 goals and have them make a step by step action plan to accomplish them. Not only will it help increase their awareness for what’s required of the game at an intellectual level, but it will dramatically increase their confidence. This creates an end result that will increase their overall performance.
  2. Take the skates off for 3 months and start a physical strength training program. I’m not even kidding. I had a player who increased their long jump by over 12 inches and their vertical jump by over 10 inches. So what does that mean? It means his strength and power development was off the charts. He went from playing house hockey at the age of 15 to making a Junior A team in only one year. Get off the ice and start strength training in the off-season, trust me.
  3. Parents buy the groceries and cook the food, so when they ask me to talk to their kid about eating properly the first person I look at is THEM. When I ask players what they had for lunch and they say my mom gave me twenty bucks for lunch because there’s no food in the house, that’s a problem. Parents need to take the time to prepare proper nutrition for their players or they risk not recovering properly and underperforming because they don’t have the required energy and are mentally and physically exhausted.
  4. I can’t tell parents and players enough how important it is to adopt a daily flexibility and mobility routine to help increase the integrity of their joints. Truth be told, I know players can’t stand stretching simply because it’s boring. Remember the ‘reasons’ I mentioned earlier? The reason players should stretch is so they can reduce the chance of injury and perform better on the ice, especially when it comes to increasing their first step quickness.
  5. And last but not least, I can guarantee if you want to see your player inspired and motivated I’d suggest they watch YouTube highlight videos of some of the best hockey players who’ve ever played the game. I recommend anything about Bobby Orr. I am a bit biased since I was born and raised in the same home town, but let me tell you this – watching him skate left me in complete awe every time!

If you want more specific information on any of this stuff and free downloads and resources simply go to my website where you can find information on anything from training to nutrition to setting goals and building confidence. Just go to www.mikepickles-hockey.com and I’ll see you there. Thanks so much for reading and I wish you and your player the absolute best offseason ever!

Mike Pickles, D.FHP
Hockey Strength Training Specialist

Mike is the Founder of DrylandHockeyTraining.com and Creator of Explosive Hockey Speed. He's the #1 Provider in the South Surrey area of British Columbia for specializing in off-ice hockey development year round. Mike trains elite players at the Major Midget and Junior level preparing them for the WHL and NCAA. Mike has also presented for BC Hockey's Elite prospects on High Performance Training and Nutrition, and helps with the WHL Combine testing for the Okanagan Hockey Group

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