Off Season Ice Hockey Training Guidelines Coach Tips and Drills Mike Pickles

Off-Season Ice Hockey Training Guidelines

In Leadership, Skills by Mike Pickles

Summer is here and as much as young athletes are excited for family vacations they can’t forget about getting into game shape for the fall. Strength, power and speed are key components for young hockey players and it’s much easier than you may think to see major improvements without the use of any equipment at all.

I’ve designed numerous programs for young hockey players to perform on their own during the summer and still enjoy spending time with friends and family at the cabin or hanging out at the beach. All based on the same principles we follow during my off-season programs that have shown considerable results. Below are a few tips you should know before starting any kind of off-season program:

How many days a week should I train?

It’s good to be eager and want serious results but training 5-6 days a week is simply too much and risks over-training. In order to recover properly and see continual improvements it is recommend to workout 3-4 times per week maximum.

What should I work on each day?

2-3 strength training sessions is more than plenty to see considerable improvements and should consist of full-body exercises. Speed training and conditioning can be done on those strength days or on a separate day. Older players should be splitting their workouts into upper and lower body days while focusing on separate speed session days.

How much is too much?

This is where volume plays a critical role in knowing what is too much and what is not enough when it comes to sets and repetitions per exercise. This all depends on training experience, age maturity and goals. A good rule of thumb to follow is 1-2 exercises per body part maximum with no more than 2-3 sets performing 10-15 repetitions maximum. More is NOT better.

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How do I train for hockey specific conditioning?

Great question! Players should have a strong aerobic conditioning base to begin with and if they are quite active throughout the year chances are they already do. But the intensity needs to be higher in shorter bursts to really increase the conditioning the heart and lungs. This doesn’t have to be complicated. I’ve outlined below a few types of speed and conditioning programs we use in my off-season summer programs.


Sprint forward 15 yards, sprint back 5 yards, sprint forward 15 yards

Repeat that sequence 4 times in a row as one set, then rest 45-60 seconds

Perform a total of 4 sets


Sprint 30 yards full out for a total of 3 times with 20 seconds rest

Perform 3 total set of 3 sprints then rest 2 minutes

Repeat this sequence a total of 5 times


Sprint forward 5 yards, sprint back 5 yards, sprint forward 10 yards full out

Rest 20 seconds and repeat for a total of 5 sets

Feel free to use these examples but remember these are only examples and should be modified accordingly. Age maturity, and training experience needs to be taken into consideration. These guidelines are not for everyone. Don’t forget to rest and replenish with lots of fluids and proper nutrition. Have a fun summer and put the time in it takes to compete at the highest level. Set your goals high and hold yourself accountable because you only get what you put in.

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About the Author
Mike Pickles

Mike Pickles

Mike Pickles, D.FHP Hockey Strength Training Specialist Mike is the Founder of 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 Follow Mike on Social Media Twitter: @mikepickles Instagram: @mike_pickles_hockey Facebook: Mike Pickles Hockey Strength and Conditioning


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