Monday, 1 November 2010

Off Ice Training for Early Teenage Hockey Players

By Harry S Grove

My sessions with the junior teams (I am head strength and conditioning coach for an under 14's (ages 12-13) and under 16's (ages 14-15)) are broken down into different areas, covering different aspects of improving the players on ice ability. I have a one hour session with each team, every week. I will split these sessions up and will also split the players into groups for some of the exercises.

I always start of with a gentle heart rate raiser, with about 3-5 minutes of cardiovascular work like jogging. I will then go into specific warm up drills. I would start off with dynamic stretches like leg swings from side to side and front to back, helping increase hip mobility as well as hip flexor mobility drills. I would then move onto glute activation drills such as quadruped hip and knee extension, hip extension (keep knee bent) and hip abduction. I also add in side planks and supine planks for torso activation. This whole warm up will last 10 minutes.

I then move onto movement technique work. This will cover toe bounds with high knees, wall sprint drills and sprint drills, deceleration work, hops, jumps, lateral shuffles etc. This will then lead into the movement drills. Here we would up the tempo and do drills like lateral shuffles into sprints and agility drills like the 4 cone drill and various t-test drills. This section will last a maximum of 15 minutes.

I then go into more strength based exercises. Each session we choose 3-4 exercises like lunge variations, squats etc and will go over each exercise in the strength technique section. This is to help reinforce previous sessions. I break this down by getting them to do it individually first so I can correct technique. I will then split them into 2 groups and do the same while having them listen to teaching cues. After the technique work is done, I will move onto the strength drills and get them to perform in a circuit going from upper to lower body e.g. reverse lunge, press up, squat etc. This part of the session will last 20 minutes.

The last part of the main session will go through energy system training. Depending on the depth of the team, most on ice shifts last about 45 seconds with rest periods anywhere from 45 seconds to 90 seconds. The body mainly depends on the anaerobic glycolysis system. The body doesn't require oxygen, but it does produce lactic acid. This energy system last for around 1 minute, which is why we want to train this system off ice.

In the off ice sessions, we target the drill to be between 30 and 60 seconds. We might do 300 yard shuttle runs, body weight drills to sprints and various shuttle drills. I will split the players into 2-3 groups and go through the drills 1 group at a time, while the other rest and recover. This part of the session will last for 10 minutes.

I will spend the last 5-10 minutes (usually overrun), cooling down and going through stretches, especially for the hip and ankle region.

I also personal train some of the players on a one to one basis and I will incorporate soft tissue work during their warm up using foam rollers and various balls e.g. tennis.

Harry Grove BSc CSCS DipPT is a strength and conditioning coach and has help train athletes and individuals from a variety of backgrounds and ages for more than a decade. He is the co-founder of PT On-Demand Ltd! - an online training and exercise resource.

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