Preparing to Compete

Posted: February 16, 2018

As we head into playoff season, it is important to remember that proper preparation, on a daily basis is a major factor to your success. Preparing for a game doesn’t start when you step on the ice. Preparation is really a daily process of repeating certain things that make you the player you are. Preparation starts with how you eat and sleep at home or on the road. I try to engrain in all of the players we work with that preparation begins when you walk in the door of the rink. At this time, the game and what you need to do to win need to be the only thing on your mind.

In working with professional hockey players at the highest level, I must say the there is no one process that works for everyone. Each player may have a slightly different approach, but they all do what’s needed to prepare both physically and mentally to perform at their best. No matter the process, it must be repeated in the same fashion every time. This process may be altered throughout your career in order to meet the changing demands, but should remain fairly stable.

Preparing mentally, may include visualizing yourself on the ice and seeing different situations that may occur and how you will react. Some athletes will review video with coaches or teammates to either see what to expect from the opposing team or what has worked or failed from your own team. Others will simply go over the stats of the other team to better understand what they will be playing against and discuss with teammates what they will do to put themselves in the best spot to succeed. Preparing physically, gets the body ready to compete as soon as you step on the ice. Physical preparation could include a dynamic warm up, jog, bike, stretch, foam rolling, etc and should finish right before putting your gear on. During both on and off ice warm ups you should include exercises and drills that require a high intensity so that your body is prepared to go at full speed when the puck drops. There are many keys to preparation that will evolve over time, but start today and get ready for competition.

Chris Phillips is a certified Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist with over 17 years experience in professional hockey and owner of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest, California.