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New hockey player needing fitness / skills development / food advice

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Old
01-09-2013, 07:36 PM
  #1
Portable Mink
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New hockey player needing fitness / skills development / food advice

hey all,

So ive started playing ice hockey and ive been thinking about how i can best give myself to become at least an average player. i see 3 obstacles in my way:
- General Fitness
- Skills development
- Nutrition

- General Fitness
my biggest factor to improving is my general fitness.

This is by far the hardest sport from a fitness perspective that i have ever played. Jumping over the boards, i have about 40 seconds of hard skating in me for my first shift, 30 in my second, then about 15-20 for each shift after that for the rest of the night. After which i get to the bench each time absolutely blowing up from the effort. It really is the hardest thing ive encountered from a physical perspective.

I want to get to a stage where i can skate hard for the whole game. This will obviously come through doing a lot more skating, potentially going just for public skate sessions in addition to my drop in hockey games that ive started playing, just to get my technique and legs stronger.

But what i want help with is how to compliment the on-ice playing/skating, with what i can do outside to assist. Ill be honest, im pretty lazy and if i was to try and 'over-commit' to a healthy plan, it would backfire and i would splurge and ruin any hard work done.

Im going to have my weekends where i eat a lot of takeaway and drink a lot of beer, and im not SO worried about that, its more about giving myself a bit of a plan to try and stick to, knowing that its generally helping my hockey and hopefully helping me lose a few KG around the waist.

Im trying to play 1 hockey game a week. If i can suppliment that with another skating session, fantastic, but its 20 bux a pop and sometimes i just dont have time. What i have done though, is buy some runners and have started doing the occasional 3km 'jog' which takes me about 18-19 minutes. I did one 2 days ago and for the first time, tried to do it more interval like, rather than just a slow steady 3km jog. I ran reasonably hard for the first 2 minutes, then walked for 2, then jogged hard again for a minute, then rested for 2, then hard for 1, rest for 3 and pretty much kept that up over the 3km and came in about the same time as i do for the slow jog way.

Hockey as you all know is a lot about 40-50 seconds bursts of high effort, followed by sitting on the bench for a couple minutes getting your wind back. I am hoping someone would be able to give me some tips how to perhaps shape my week so that im actively IMPROVING my fitness for what is required for hockey, but not so much that i cringe at it and just dismiss it and dont do anything.

Im thinking if i can do the following each week, it will gradually improve my fitness level without being so much that i baulk at it and fail too often:
- 1 game per week
- 1 jog or internal running? (would like some help describing the best way to do this)
- 1 more jog/interval run OR skate session depending on what i can fit in.

How does that look? can someone give some assistance in describing what kind of running would best help me gain a bit of endurance with my lungs/breathing whilst still helping me for hockey fitness?

- Nutrition
the second part is obviously diet, of which now is the New Year and i want to make a conscious effort to 'improve' my thought processes around food to help me lose a bit of weight in the mid section but not leave me HUNGRY ALL DAY. seriously, im hungry like 99% of the time im awake....i dont know how to address this problem....

- Skills Development
i live in Melbourne, Australia and we have 1 quality rink here and its not the easiest to get ice-time for skills development. we have drop in games which ive started doing, and there are 'stick n puck' sessions where you can just go with your stick and puck and do whatever you want on the ice.
Im looking for some direction in how i can work on my skills by myself or with my friend. Some websites perhaps, some good little skills to do, anything that will help me as i move towards joining a team in the future. Im starting very late at 29 but who cares, i love hockey and always have and now im excited that ive started playing it and i just want to get better in a fun way but with a bit of direction and assistance so i know im on the right track.

THANKYOU SO MUCH if anyone can help me!

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01-09-2013, 08:14 PM
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JoeCool16
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http://www.youtube.com/user/niketraining

Check through their videos, there are some good ones in there for off-ice training, which is good if you're only on the ice once a week and it's during a game (not a good time to practice skating!)

There's lots there for both general fitness and skills development that you can do off-ice. I'd recommend going through their playlists.

There is a video or two in their (I think in the off-season one) that talks about nutrition, but I'm no expert there.


My simplest advice is to definitely go to the stick n puck sessions when you can, and set goals to achieve! Go with the idea that you're going to work on stopping, or on your edges, and then work away at it. I hope the Nike videos help, too.

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01-09-2013, 08:42 PM
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Yes.. I'd try to skate as much as possible. Easy here for me in Winnipeg where free outdoor ice is everywhere! I try to skate with a purpose, work on edges, and push and concentrate on weak side turns, transitions etc...

fitness wise, I'm going to try to concentrate on core strength and flexibility. Am relatively fit to handle a 60 second shift, but as a fairly novice skater / player feel balance, flexibility, and core strength will help me improve / develop my skating.

As for nutrition... moderation / portion size. Beer, scotch, red meat, pasta, bread and the odd fast food burger combo are too enjoyable to cut out of my diet!

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01-09-2013, 09:08 PM
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Cardio is obviously important, but it's also probably the easiest and most straightforward aspect of your conditioning to improve. Run a few times a week and you'll be an "average player" in no time.

If you want to get better/keep up with better competition, it's core, core, core. And lower body. But a lot of core. Buy an exercise ball and work out on that, work on your abs and obliques. That's going to make you really tough on the puck and hard to knock over. You'll be powering through guys like nothing.

As far as skating, just do it all the time. Go out and skate once a day if you can. Work on keeping your edges and shifting your weight -- that's a huge part of playing well. I don't know if you're planning on playing offense or defense, but you'll obviously have to focus on your backwards skating a lot if you plan on being a D. I always tell people to start by making a ^ with their skates (toes together), getting on your inside edge, and shifting your weight and letting your edges carry you backwards as you make an elipse. Gives you the feel and also helps your edges.

For finesse, you can do dryland. I'm in the same boat as you -- sticktime is hard to come by at rinks, so I used to just practice in my driveway before I started playing really competitively and getting regular practices. I like working with weighted hockey balls -- gives you a feel for the weight of an actual puck. But really the only way to really develop your skills is to play pick up with guys, so just keep doing that.

Other than that, just remember to think actively. I was a late bloomer myself because I used to just go through the motions out there and make the easy play. Never just throw the puck away -- there's always a play, you just have to find it. And never be standing still -- if you're standing still, you're out of position

Just go out there and enjoy the best game on earth

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01-09-2013, 09:19 PM
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Core is spot on. I'm a big fan of this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Core-Performan.../dp/1594861684

There are a lot of parallels to what you'll find in the Nike "Program" but it explains things really clearly. Both are excellent and led me towards workouts I would never think of doing on my own.

I've mentioned this in other posts, but I had a recurring groin injury diagnosed as weak glute muscles and once I strengthened them, my pain went away and my skating improved dramatically. It might be fair to say that the glute muscle is the most important leg muscle for skating, strong glutes are what enables you to have a low skating style and provides the base for transferring power into your stride.

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01-09-2013, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeCool16 View Post
http://www.youtube.com/user/niketraining

Check through their videos, there are some good ones in there for off-ice training, which is good if you're only on the ice once a week and it's during a game (not a good time to practice skating!)

There's lots there for both general fitness and skills development that you can do off-ice. I'd recommend going through their playlists.

There is a video or two in their (I think in the off-season one) that talks about nutrition, but I'm no expert there.


My simplest advice is to definitely go to the stick n puck sessions when you can, and set goals to achieve! Go with the idea that you're going to work on stopping, or on your edges, and then work away at it. I hope the Nike videos help, too.
thankyou very much! will have a look at all the videos to try and learn as much as possible. definitely need to play goals for my sessions instead of just going and shooting the whole time.

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01-09-2013, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7even View Post
Cardio is obviously important, but it's also probably the easiest and most straightforward aspect of your conditioning to improve. Run a few times a week and you'll be an "average player" in no time.

If you want to get better/keep up with better competition, it's core, core, core. And lower body. But a lot of core. Buy an exercise ball and work out on that, work on your abs and obliques. That's going to make you really tough on the puck and hard to knock over. You'll be powering through guys like nothing.

As far as skating, just do it all the time. Go out and skate once a day if you can. Work on keeping your edges and shifting your weight -- that's a huge part of playing well. I don't know if you're planning on playing offense or defense, but you'll obviously have to focus on your backwards skating a lot if you plan on being a D. I always tell people to start by making a ^ with their skates (toes together), getting on your inside edge, and shifting your weight and letting your edges carry you backwards as you make an elipse. Gives you the feel and also helps your edges.

For finesse, you can do dryland. I'm in the same boat as you -- sticktime is hard to come by at rinks, so I used to just practice in my driveway before I started playing really competitively and getting regular practices. I like working with weighted hockey balls -- gives you a feel for the weight of an actual puck. But really the only way to really develop your skills is to play pick up with guys, so just keep doing that.

Other than that, just remember to think actively. I was a late bloomer myself because I used to just go through the motions out there and make the easy play. Never just throw the puck away -- there's always a play, you just have to find it. And never be standing still -- if you're standing still, you're out of position

Just go out there and enjoy the best game on earth
great great stuff. thanks heaps for that!

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01-10-2013, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Stickchecked View Post
It might be fair to say that the glute muscle is the most important leg muscle for skating, strong glutes are what enables you to have a low skating style and provides the base for transferring power into your stride.
Having strong glutes is necessary, but to be specific, it's the glute med. and various other hip muscles that are usually in need of the most work for skaters. Focus on core and hip exercises first, legs (knees and ankles) and explosion second, and then upper body third.

In terms of diet, if you're working out, you're going to need some extra protein. The good news is a post-workout mix of Chocolate Milk and Whey Protein makes for a decent dinner replacement. If you're looking for a "full" feeling, I also take Casein protein at night to help with hunger and give me a protein kick while I sleep.

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01-10-2013, 09:50 AM
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Jarick
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Welcome! My thoughts...

You sound exactly like me in terms of laziness and diet

ATTITUDE

I think this is the big one. To have an impact, you have to change your habits. You have to do things differently all week long, not just once or twice a week.

There's got to be commitment to change, otherwise you're not giving a full effort and setting yourself up for failure. When I've made a promise to myself to do something, it's easier to stay on track. That's important to me at least.

I've been making one change at a time. A couple months ago, before the holidays, I told myself I'd not drink beer during the week and work out for just five minutes three times a week. Start small. It was hard the first couple weeks then it was easy.

But it started with that real commitment, and I got myself excited for it. Like a challenge. I think that's important at least for me.

NUTRITION

I'm not sure there's a one-size-fits-all approach for everyone. Some people do well to eat a low fat diet with less meat. Others do well with a low carb paleo type diet where they drop bread and eat meat and veggies.

I think I'm in the latter group. The last 4-6 weeks I've been watching calories and eating low fat while working out several times per week but no change in my weight or waist. Of course the holidays might have played a part.

This past week I've swapped out most bread and pasta for lots of veggies and ate more fat and I'm spontaneously eating fewer calories and have dropped a few pounds off the bat. Ask me in a few weeks if it's water weight or not.

One thing I'm pretty sure of is that unless you're super strict six days a week, even one night of debauchery will undo your work. I ate pretty well five days a week but a couple nights of beer and pizza and snacks kept me at the same weight.

Like I said, it sounds like you're a lot like me, and I really struggled at first with really keeping snacks and drinks to the weekend, but after a couple weeks it was not hard. So maybe just focus on that at first and build from there?

Twice in my life I've dropped 30+ pounds over a period of months, so I know it's possible...it just gets harder with a desk job and kids and what not. Less room for error.

GENERAL FITNESS

Okay, here's something that's actually made a difference for me.

I think for general fitness, jogging (if your joints can handle it) and biking are good. For hockey, not so sure. We don't glide around the ice for 45 minutes straight, we skate really hard for 45 seconds and then we go to the bench and breathe really hard to recover for a couple minutes.

My personal experience was jogging did nothing for me other than kill my knees and give me shin splints. So last year I started lifting weights and within a few weeks I was a LOT faster on the ice and able to skate harder and recover better. But then the weights got too heavy and I hurt my back, plus all the food to recover from the lifts packed on pounds I didn't want.

So a couple months ago I started doing some interval workouts at home with kettlebells and dumbbells. I started with maybe 5-7 minutes, but after a few weeks I wanted to do more so I can burn off more calories and got up to about 15 minutes. Key words: I WANTED to do more. I started to enjoy the workouts!

It took about a month, but then my conditioning started to improve and I was again picking up speed and recovering better on the bench. And with the light weights, I'm not getting injured or tweaking my back or anything. It actually feels a little better than before.

Looking at your schedule...I would maybe try to do 3 days per week of exercise in addition to hockey. One or two days try interval sprints (not necessarily balls to the wall at first, it can just be run across a field and walk back a few times). One or two days do some body circuit exercises, like pushups, bodyweight squats, pullups, or if you have some dumbbells, rows, shoulder press, bench press, squats holding dumbbells, etc.

SKILLS

It's easy and fun to improve your hands and shot, but it will take some money.

First, get yourself a golf ball and a Smart Hockey ball. Then Google "USA hockey stickhandling drills" and work on them. Do it on the carpet, concrete, wherever. Do it on commercial breaks. The golf ball helps you develop "soft hands" where you can make smooth moovements, not choppy ones. The Smart ball builds your strength like a puck would. I had an instructor that made us stickhandle for five minutes straight, back and forth. That BURNED. Do that with the Smart ball.

Second, try and find a place to shoot off ice. If you can get a net and a shooting board, that is ideal. Or a thick tarp that you can draw a net on and a shooting board. Or a rink with a shooting range. Something to work on your shot. Unfortunately, shooting a tennis ball is nowhere near the same as a puck, so you just have to find a way to shoot pucks off a smooth/slick surface.

Nice thing with skills is they stay in your muscle memory so anything you can do will build on top of what you've done before.

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01-10-2013, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
First, get yourself a golf ball and a Smart Hockey ball. Then Google "USA hockey stickhandling drills" and work on them. Do it on the carpet, concrete, wherever. Do it on commercial breaks. The golf ball helps you develop "soft hands" where you can make smooth moovements, not choppy ones. The Smart ball builds your strength like a puck would. I had an instructor that made us stickhandle for five minutes straight, back and forth. That BURNED. Do that with the Smart ball.
So you're saying there's a benefit in using a golf ball in addition to a smart ball?

What's your view of Green Biscuit vs Smart Ball vs golf ball?

Lastly, how often do you practice stickhandling and for how long?

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01-10-2013, 10:28 AM
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- Nutrition
the second part is obviously diet, of which now is the New Year and i want to make a conscious effort to 'improve' my thought processes around food to help me lose a bit of weight in the mid section but not leave me HUNGRY ALL DAY. seriously, im hungry like 99% of the time im awake....i dont know how to address this problem....
you're always hungry likely because you're eating too much food with a high glycemic index like wheat and other sugars

i went wheat free about july after reading the book wheat belly and lost about 30 pounds (of mostly fat i think lol) and feel great

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01-10-2013, 10:43 AM
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you're always hungry likely because you're eating too much food with a high glycemic index like wheat and other sugars

i went wheat free about july after reading the book wheat belly and lost about 30 pounds (of mostly fat i think lol) and feel great
Another thing to help with being hungry all day is just start off with a massive high protein breakfast. It makes a big difference. Think bacon, eggs, protein smoothie.

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01-10-2013, 11:30 AM
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For energy/fitness, a couple redbulls each intermission is fine. people overthink stuff.

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01-10-2013, 12:38 PM
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I've got no problem with energy during games. Towards the end I can get wiped but it's not like I can actually think about my exhaustion so I just keep skating.

All I can say that hasn't been mentioned is get in the game more. Several times i've been nervous and then realize it's not a big deal. Once I pay attention to the game, it's impossible to be nervous and I don't consciously think about my endurance.

The only time it sucks is after a hard shift and someone forces you to jump over the boards back into the bench. Open the door and show some damn courtesy sometimes, fellas. If someone is exhausted, don't expect them to jump back into the bench.

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01-10-2013, 12:59 PM
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One other thing I didn't see mentioned here is hydration. I have found that if I drink bottles of water throughout the day before gametime at night and continue to do so throughout the game it helps with keeping up the energy. How much do you guys believe in this?

Marathon runners eat the night before and perform the next morning, but I haven't had much gain with foods rich in carbs (pasta/rice). It has been mostly hydration in my personal experience. I haven't narrowed it down entirely though - some nights I feel like I'm flying and others I just feel like I can't get into it at all.

Burning in the legs - this is from buildup of lactic acid. Sometimes if I go balls-out in the first shift, the whole night is a downward spiral for my legs. Is there a way to prevent this from happening as often or as quickly? Is this a warm-up issue? Of course I stretch a few mins beforehand.


Last edited by rh71: 01-10-2013 at 01:05 PM.
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01-10-2013, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stickchecked View Post
So you're saying there's a benefit in using a golf ball in addition to a smart ball?

What's your view of Green Biscuit vs Smart Ball vs golf ball?

Lastly, how often do you practice stickhandling and for how long?
Yes, the golf ball is made to be SUPER bouncy. If you don't have soft hands, you can't handle the golf ball. It will teach you fast movement with soft hands. If I only had one off-ice tool it would be a golf ball. It's also what I use to test composite sticks for feel...if I can handle the golf ball and it feels good, it will definitely feel good with a puck.

Smart ball is really only there to build strength IMO. The ball is too heavy to mimic a puck even though it might be the same weight, it travels different. I wish they made one in a little lighter weight, that would be perfect. But I like the heavier weight to build the forearm muscles.

I don't like the Green Biscuit. Can't say why really. Doesn't serve much purpose I guess. It's really noisy and doesn't feel like a puck.

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01-10-2013, 02:39 PM
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For energy/fitness, a couple redbulls each intermission is fine. people overthink stuff.
That's a good way to dehydrate yourself.

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01-10-2013, 04:10 PM
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thanks heaps everyone.


Jarick,
Ha! yes definitely sound like the same kinda laziness and diet. Im also a meat and veggies kinda person and have tried to cut out pastas and avoidable big breads lately so i think that will help get me going. Weekends im just gonna do what i gotta do, beers and watever. thats just how i roll but im definitely trying to change my midweek ways too.

I think you are right about attitude, the fact that i made this thread i think is big for me and its telling myself im ready to try and get a bit fitter after the holiday feasting. i went for like a 5 minute run trying a new technique for me where you run hard 20 seconds, then jog 10, then repeat as much as you can for 4 minutes. i made it like 2 minutes then felt like dying, but at least i got out there.

I think for me getting a starting fitness base is so key. i really really struggle dealing with my lungs blowing up and struggling to recover well from it. both running and on the ice. ive had a bunch of tests done for athsma and CT scans of my chest and done the exercise test on the bike to see if my volumes of oxygen were ok and everything seems fine, so maybe im just really unfit. im not a HUGE guy, 191cm (6'3") and about 93kg (205lbs), so not really overweight or anything, just severely unfit?

what are those interval training things you are doing?
my body seems to be handling the slow jogging and interval running that ive started for now, so if i can keep that going and suppliment it with other types of training, it might help me get SOME KIND of base going where i might one day in the future be able to jog 5km (3miles) without stopping. thats a bit of a goal for me to start with because i know hockey is very different to running, but you still need to be able to have some kind of fitness going!

the skills will come and im really not AS worried about them for now, because i just want to be able to skate shifts with ease and get into the flow of it all. that comes from fitness and i just hope i can get there because im a long way off for some reason.

thanks again.

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01-10-2013, 04:36 PM
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Squat, squat, squat, squat, squat...

If you need me to say it again, SQUATS.

Cardio is also good, and core strength...

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01-10-2013, 04:38 PM
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Hah, I had similar tests done since I cough so much while playing or exercising. I think it's a combination of asthma and being out of shape for me. At least when they gave me an asthma inhaler my coughing was better, until I got the flu last week and now I'm coughing because I'm sick.

My workouts are:

Mon, Thu: Intervals, 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest, alternating between kettlebell swings and bodyweight squats. This is hard.

Tue, Fri: Circuit through pushups, dumbbell rows, curl and press, and plank. Supposed to be upper body and core but I'm not thrilled with it. I got a jumprope to do between exercises to keep the cardio going and might mix up the exercises as well.

And then I usually have league game on Sat/Sun.

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01-10-2013, 04:46 PM
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If money isnt an issue, local training center. We have inclining treadmills that are synthetic and are so nice. Marc Staal use to train there

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01-10-2013, 04:52 PM
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yep! i cough all the time! and feel like throwing up a lot during exercise. dry retching cough. not fun.

im going to try and make up a bit of a weekly schedule instead of just doing what i want when i want, that way i eliminate the easy 'dont do anything' as ill see i have to do something on a particular day.

Monday - Short session of Squats, pushups, planks (thats where you hold a straight position yeah?) skipping perhaps too
Tuesday - Interval running - 3km
Wednesday - Break
Thursday - skate or run again
Friday - break

All of this might switch days a bit depending on when hockey sessions are, but do you think that gives me a good starting point?

Ill be VERY happy if i can do 3 days of exercise a week, like i said, i dont want to over do it and then stop doing everything all together, i know that sounds weak, but its reality.

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01-10-2013, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Yes, the golf ball is made to be SUPER bouncy. If you don't have soft hands, you can't handle the golf ball. It will teach you fast movement with soft hands. If I only had one off-ice tool it would be a golf ball. It's also what I use to test composite sticks for feel...if I can handle the golf ball and it feels good, it will definitely feel good with a puck.

Smart ball is really only there to build strength IMO. The ball is too heavy to mimic a puck even though it might be the same weight, it travels different. I wish they made one in a little lighter weight, that would be perfect. But I like the heavier weight to build the forearm muscles.

I don't like the Green Biscuit. Can't say why really. Doesn't serve much purpose I guess. It's really noisy and doesn't feel like a puck.
Looks like I have to get myself a golf ball.

One thing I like about the Green Biscuit is if I haven't done it in a while (or done mostly Smart Ball), I find I flip it over a lot. So I have to adjust to keep it flat and I assume that is beneficial to stickhandling on the ice.

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Old
01-10-2013, 05:12 PM
  #24
Stickchecked
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rh71 View Post
One other thing I didn't see mentioned here is hydration. I have found that if I drink bottles of water throughout the day before gametime at night and continue to do so throughout the game it helps with keeping up the energy. How much do you guys believe in this?
Hydration helps EVERYTHING. Performance, recovery, illness, digestion. Drink all day long, every day.

If you're thirsty, you've waited too long.

Speaking of which, where is my water bottle?

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Old
01-11-2013, 12:46 AM
  #25
rayuelo
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All great suggestions by the others, but as someone has already mentioned, I'd focus as much as possible on task-specific training as possible.

I know your resources are limited, but signing up for hockey/power skating school or just plain getting out there and skating/playing/practicing has helped me the most when I started. I was in pretty decent shape from running and cycling, but becoming efficient at hockey specific skills through repetition is probably your best bet.

Have fun and good luck!

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