The most common issue I see in peoples training, even athletes that is. They lack the intention, the why to their training. A lot of young kids just follow their friends or stuff they see online and honestly I see a lot of older adults doing the same thing. Still, adults typically have a trainer that they follow and if you are at a commercial gym you will not find a ton of great trainers. Anyways, speaking to the athletic population more so. If you are an athlete you must have a why to your training. Every single time you step into the gym, on the field, etc you must have some direction and intention in your workouts. I never understood how some people go into the gym with no plan and just workout bouncing around from machine to machine or exercise to exercise aimlessly.
A major reason many individuals lack direction in their training is because they do not know what to do or how to do certain things. The simplest thing for athletes though is breakdown your sport, your movement on the ice and try to replicate it the best you can.
For example, since I am way more experienced in hockey than any other sport. Hockey is a very big lower body dominant sport, you need to be able to generate the most of amount of force and speed in a short period of time to be effective on the ice. The stronger and more explosive player always stands out on the ice. Typically the average shift for a hockey player is 30 to 80 seconds, at the higher levels and older levels that is. For 10-14 year olds you can be out there for 100 seconds plus. Either way based on the position, where the puck is (offensive/defensive zone) and the effort the player puts into the shift depends on what the player will need to use. I.e. the average hockey players heart rate exceeds 80-90% their maximal heart rate during a shift and anaerobic endurance and the aerobic system is used heavily. The aerobic system relies on the ATP stores for energy and the anaerobic endurance refers to the ability to sustain intense, short duration of exercise/movement. Anaerobic means without oxygen, therefore the aerobic capacity of a player relies heavily on how their anaerobic endurance will perform. In summary, the hockey player must one build aerobic capacity and anaerobic endurance, along with the ability to exert the most force and power they can during their shift.
Breaking it down now, what is the most common thing hockey players do? Stride (i.e. push with their hips, knees, ankles, lower body). Which means how does one work on a stride? Well, one can just go on the ice and skate all they want, but replicating movements in the gym (off the ice) to help strengthen the hips, knees, ankles and quads is more advantageous. Hockey players should first and foremost try and look for movements to help build power, force and speed in their lower body. What else do hockey players do a lot? Transition (i.e change speed quickly, change direction). How does one improve that area of their game? Sprints perhaps. Core exercises, rotational trunk exercises, hand-eye coordination exercises. When one transitions, they change speeds. A situation could be a forward is on the half wall going about 30% their max speed and quickly receive a break out pass and have to get moving up ice, out of the zone going from 30 to 100% in 1-2 seconds. In that scenario described below the player is using a lot of his lower body as well as rotational movement. What else do hockey players do a lot? On the ice for 30-80 seconds at 80-90% maximal heart rate, change and have to do it again in 2-3 minutes or even less sometimes. Therefore what does one do to replicate that? FIRST off, DO NOT DO CROSS FIT to get your heart rate to 80-90% max HR (heart rate) thinking it replicates a hockey shift. I would suggest doing sprints to replicate this, agility drills to replicate this, sprinting the straight away of a track and jogging the turns. One can do what some call a "super set" of exercises to replicate this but it is not advantageous due to fatigue leading to possible poor form.
All in all, speaking more so to hockey players it is no secret what you are doing on the ice. Forwards, defenseman and goalies do things differently on the ice and each can be trained differently probably, but to get to started. Break down your position, recall a game, some of your shifts, the season, whatever it may be. From there jot down some things you do a lot of, some things you find yourself struggling in and what you need to improve on. For example for me as a defenseman I always tried to work a lot on opening my hips (when a forward is coming down the wing and the D opens his hips to cut him off before the net or poke). I am just rambling at this point but for forwards as the thought popped in my head just now. A great movement can be 10-yard sprints, stopping at the 10-yard marker transitioning and going back to the original starting line (like a suicide). Hockey players must have great anaerobic endurance, which comes with aerobic capacity, a strong lower body (quads, hips, ankles, knees) and strong core (mid section). Most high-level hockey players are not all that muscular up top but have the legs of a tree trunk. Mat Barzal for example, look up Mat Barzal legs and you'll see the kid is strong down low with an averaged sized upper body and he is one of the fastest, most explosive, smooth skating forwards in the NHL. I am not saying do not work the upper body but what I am trying to push across to young players is that the beach muscles do not matter in hockey honestly, while yes you want to be strong up top, you don't and should not be doing chest, biceps, shoulders three times a week. A lot of exercises like a push press, bench, one-arm shoulder press, farmer carry, suitcase carry, hex bar dead lift provide carry over to those muscles. Don't make the same mistake as me and train the beach muscles over the lower body at a young age.
For those that are a little confused on where to start this article will be perfect for you along with the document I just uploaded breaking down body parts and certain movements one can do for those body parts. Click on this link to receive the document. Any other questions, do not hesitate to email me email@example.com or direct message me on social media (Twitter/Instagram @santageetee). Thanks for reading!