The importance of healthy habits can’t be stressed enough for Anaheim Ducks strength and conditioning coach Mark Fitzgerald. His role requires an incredible amount of contact time with players, much more than the coaches, so he sees them at their best, worst, and everywhere in between.
“The way you do anything is the way you do everything,” says Fitzgerald. “If they don’t know what’s going on, 95% of athletes will lose interest pretty quick.”
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A crucial component of achieving buy-in from your players on and off the ice is clear communication. If the players know what they’re working on and why, then their attention will focused and their efforts concentrated. Mark spoke at our 2018 Coaches Conference in Toronto about the value of building a plan or a playbook that guides your program through the ups and downs of the hockey season based on his summer conditioning programs and his time with the Anaheim Ducks.
“Athletes crave structure,” he adds. “Give it to them. Last season we played 17 games in 30 days with the Anaheim Ducks, 24 hours in the air, flights are 3-5 hours, all their hydration and nutrition was my responsibility. The schedule is a tough hurdle in the NHL just like everywhere else.”
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