The right and wrong way to train this offseason
Posted by Dean Holden at March 17th, 2013
by Kim McCullough, M.Sc, YCS, 14 March 2013
Fifteen years ago, as an aspiring female hockey player, I thought I had found the secret when it came to off-ice training. No other player I knew was working as hard off the ice as I was and I knew that would give me a serious edge over the competition. I truly believe that my willingness to push myself to be the best player possible off the ice was what allowed me to take my game to the next level. But another consequence of my dedication off the ice was a career filled of injuries and frustration. Here’s what I did right and here’s what I did wrong…
What I know I did right: I was never out-worked.
I may have been over-trained and over-tired for most of my high school and college career, but my decision to never be out-worked really paid off on and off the ice. Whether it was in a drill or in the classroom, I would never compromise on giving my best effort. This is what allowed me to go from learning to skate at the age of 13 to playing college hockey five years later and what helped me go from being on the fourth line to being the leading scorer and team captain in college.
Having the mentality of always being the hardest worker will take you far in life – whether it’s on the ice, in the classroom or in the work force. There will be many many times where it would be easier to slack off and take the easy way out. Your friends and teammates may think you’re a little crazy for pushing the limits each and every day – but that’s what makes you better. Remember one important thing: “There is never any traffic on the extra mile.” That’s where you need to be if you want to be the best.
What I know I did wrong: I thought that “more was better.”
Playing through injuries, training when I was completely exhausted both physically and mentally, and always pushing myself to my absolute limit. This is what I did for 11 of my 15 years playing elite level hockey. I always had the warrior mentality that you had to play through pain no matter what. That you never stayed down on the ice unless there was no physical way that you could get up. And while my willingness to work harder took me pretty far, it ultimately cost me the ability to perform at the highest level due to all my injuries.
There are going to be times that you need to push through the pain and play through different challenges. But there is a limit to what the human body can withstand and still perform at a high level. If your injuries are causing you so much physical and mental pain that you feel like a shell of a player, you need time off. Now that the offseason is upon us, now is the time to take the time you need to heal your injuries and enjoy other sports and activities so that you can fit in a full offseason of training in order to be at your best in time for the fall.
Off-ice training is absolutely critical for any female hockey player who wants to take her game to the next level. But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Aspiring players need to work hard, but they also need to work smart.
For a complete offseason training program designed to meet the specific needs of aspiring female hockey players, check out The Total Female Hockey Elite Training System at www. totalfemalehockey.com/exclusive-offer. Coach Kim McCullough, MSc, YCS, is an expert in the development of aspiring female hockey players. She is a former NCAA Division I captain at Dartmouth and played in the National Women’s Hockey League for six years. She is currently the Girls Hockey Director at the PEAC School for Elite Athletes in Toronto and is the Founder of Total Female Hockey.