Hockey shifts can be 20 seconds to a minute long. During that brief time on the ice, you exert maximum effort, which loads your muscles with lactic acid, making you fatigue quickly.
Off-season conditioning for the 2009 Frozen Four participant Vermont Catamounts includes drills to prevent fatigue. "If you're not conditioned, you won't be able to deal with the accumulation of lactic acid and your body won't perform at its highest capacity," says Justin Goulet, the team's head S+C coach. "Our goal is to be fit to a point where our bodies can deal with that build-up and buffer it out quickly."
Goulet recommends the following Slideboard Drill once a week in the off-season to build your lactic acid threshold.
Set backstops eight feet apart
Assume athletic stance on right side of Slideboard
Push off backstop with right foot, sliding across until left foot contacts opposite backstop
Push off backstop with left foot to start position; repeat
Sets/Duration/Rest: 8 one-minute bouts; rest 60 seconds between each
Coaching Points: Slide as quickly and explosively as possible // Maintain low athletic body position // Fully extend stride leg and maintain slight bend in sliding knee // Keep back straight and head and chest up // Use opposite arm/leg action // Aim for 65-70 strides per minute
Goulet: We are building their anaerobic energy system and working their groin and outer hip, which is very hockey-specific. Our guys tell me that the lactic acid burn they feel at the end of the minute is the most similar feeling to skating that they have when training.
1. Perform with your hockey stick.
2. Perform with your hockey stick and a partner standing five feet in front rolling a ball to you as you slide. Handle it with your stick and pass it back to your partner for the duration of the drill.
3. Perform with your hands behind your back. This forces you to really fire your lower body, which is important while skating.
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